Matawa First Nations and Ontario sign Landmark Framework
On March 26, 2014, the Government of Ontario and the group of
nine Aboriginal communities known as the Matawa member First
Nations entered into a "Regional Framework Agreement"
for the development of the so-called "Ring of Fire" in
northern Ontario. This long-awaited agreement is expected to be a
crucial step forward in the development of the Ring of Fire, a
remote area of northern muskeg that is considered to have $60
billion worth of known mineral potential and includes North
America's largest chromite deposit.
While there has been considerable interest in the Ring of Fire
area, the pace of investment has been slow, due in part to a lack
of infrastructure in the north as well as uncertainty surrounding
the role that the region's First Nations will have in its
development. Steps have been taken to address both issues. Ontario
is leading the creation of a regional development corporation comprised of
mining companies, government and First Nations' partners to
address shortfalls in infrastructure. The Regional Framework
Agreement should also begin to address questions around the nature
of First Nations' involvement and opportunities to participate
in resource and economic development.
Details of the Regional Framework Agreement are not yet publicly
available, however the press release issued by the Government of
Ontario on April 24, 2014 provides some insight into the potential
opportunities available to First Nations:
"The agreement ensures that
First Nations and Ontario can work together on resource development
opportunities. That includes: long-term, regional environmental
monitoring; enhanced participation in environmental assessment
processes; resource revenue sharing; social and economic supports;
and regional and community infrastructure."
Bob Rae, a negotiator for the Matawa member First Nations, today
indicated in a speech to the Toronto Board of Trade that the
Regional Framework Agreement was the result of constructive
"government to government" negotiations. He indicated
that the Matawa member First Nations will be seeking direct
economic participation in projects in much the same way that First
Nations participate in energy and natural resource projects in
British Columbia, Quebec and the Northwest Territories.
Canada is a constitutional monarchy, a parliamentary democracy and a federation comprised of ten provinces and three territories. Canada's judiciary is independent of the legislative and executive branches of Government.
The Government of Alberta recently announced a number of policy changes that will impact the Alberta Electricity Market, composed of its generators, transmitters, distributors, retailers, electricity consumers and wholesale electricity market.
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