Ring of Fire ‘pivitol moment’ to work with First Nations

To the Expositor:

The Ring of Fire is an historic economic development opportunity for First Nations, Northern communities and Ontario. We need everyone to be a part of the process in order to take advantage of the economic and social benefits that will be created in our Northern communities.

The mine project will offer over 1,100 jobs for First Nations and other Northern communities. In addition, the investment in a transportation corridor will connect many remote communities to new and existing infrastructure, including electricity transmission, all-season roads and broadband access.

There have been many conversations over the past few years, however a formal model for working with First Nations begins now. We are committed to working with First Nations as partners and consulting with them on environmental monitoring and decision-making that affects their traditional lands.

We want to create a forum for First Nations to bring their knowledge and expertise to the development of the Ring of Fire. That’s why Ontario is proposing to hold formal tripartite discussions to allow us to work together on reaching a cooperative framework.

It’s so important that we build on our strong relationships and work together to explore all the opportunities the Ring of Fire offers. We must maximize the potential the Ring of Fire has to bring jobs, training and skills development, and resource revenue sharing to First Nation communities.

In my own travels to First Nations communities, I have heard elders, youth and leaders express their desire for a stronger economy, better education, more jobs and greater opportunities for a better future. The Ring of Fire offers a tremendous opportunity to achieve those goals.

There will be challenges along the way. However, we all share the responsibility to work together to maximize the opportunities that lay before us. This is a pivotal moment where we can work together and define the possibilities of what can be accomplished. Our work has just begun.

Kathleen Wynne

Minister of Aboriginal Affairs