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What should consultation with Indigenous Peoples look like? – Canada’s National Observer

February 6th 2024

For more than a decade, leaders of Ontario’s three main political parties have vowed to open the Ring of Fire up to mining. But it has created conflict among First Nations. Some want development and others are skeptical.

Ontario has a constitutional duty to consult First Nations, but no laws explicitly require the consent of First Nations before approving development on their homelands.

On March 29, 2023, leaders from five First Nations arrived at the provincial legislature in Toronto to call for a meeting with Premier Doug Ford.

Among them sat Chris and Wayne Moonias, leaders from Neskantaga First Nation and critics of how the province consulted First Nations about Ring of Fire development.

“Until such time as we provide our free, prior, informed consent to these plans and developments that are happening in our traditional homelands, they will not be,” Wayne told reporters. “You will not cross the river system. You will not build a road into the Ring of Fire until you get this free, prior informed consent of our people.”

Later that day, the visitors would sit in on the legislature and make sure the premier heard their concerns.

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