QUEEN’S PARK – In response to the Ford government’s statement on the Far North Act, Sol Mamakwa, the NDP’s Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation critic said that the Ford government must respect the provincial Crown’s duty to consult First Nations before any new development takes place on traditional territories. Mamakwa released the following statement:
“While consultations on repealing the Far North Act are welcome, Doug Ford has been using language like riding a 'bulldozer,' and 'cutting red tape,' when referring to developments in the Far North.
Doug Ford should know that if he is planning to attack the provincial government’s duty to consult First Nations, or dismantle environmental regulations when he refers to cutting red tape, New Democrats will fight this.
Ford must explain what his government amendment of the Public Lands Act will mean to community land use plans currently at different stages of development.
The identity and culture of First Nations people come from the land. That must be respected. The only way development will be possible is through meaningful involvement and inclusion of all affected communities in the decision making process.
Decisions on new developments must be made with the free, prior and informed consent of First Nations, and must include revenue sharing and economic opportunities for First Nations.
We can have a North with more jobs and more opportunities for northerners, and for First Nations, built through partnerships and respect. This is the essence of the duty to consult and reconciliation.”