Lise Vaugeois MPP, Thunder Bay–Superior North

Government of Ontario

Sol Mamakwa calls on Ford government to uphold First Nations' rights and protocols

Published on March 9, 2023

QUEEN’S PARK - During Question Period today, MPP Sol Mamakwa (kiiwetinoong) NDP Deputy Leader and Critic for Indigenous and Treaty Relations, opened with a critical question to the Ford government regarding their commitment to upholding the laws and protocols of all First Nations who would be impacted by the Northern Road Link.

Mamakwa's call to action is based on the concerns and opposition of many First Nations members who believe the government is trying to fast-track the project without the free, prior and informed consent of affected Indigenous communities. The current plan was co-developed and submitted by two First Nations in the area and is facing significant pushback from other First Nations. The road link will be the third and final road, connecting the proposed Ring of Fire to the province's highway network.

Mamakwa was joined by Chief Moonias and community members from Neskantaga who highlighted that the people of Neskantaga First Nation have not consented to the mining road that the government is pushing through their territory. "The people of Neskantaga have said nothing will go through their territory without the free prior and informed consent of the people," Mamakwa stated. "This government is proposing to fast-track mine approval processes by removing environmental safeguards and changing the regulations around completed mine closure plans in Bill 71."

Mamakwa highlighted the government's poor track record in protecting Indigenous and Treaty rights noting, "This government has a dismal record when it comes to honouring the rights of First Nations. This is a textbook play out of the colonial playbook to divide and conquer our people. How will you ensure all First Nations are on board with this project?”

The Ontario NDP urges the government to engage in meaningful consultation with First Nations communities to ensure all voices are heard and their rights respected.