Matawa chiefs reject Ford gov't dumping Far North Act.


The Ford government's proposed repeal of the Far North Act is running into resistance from a group of First Nations chiefs in northwestern Ontario.

In an April 10 news release, the Matawa Chiefs Council said they "reject" the province's "unilateral legislative change" and demand that they abandon their approach.

The nine Matawa chiefs insist dumping the legislation will be highly impactful on their Aboriginal and treaty rights for generations to come.

The controversial Far North Act was passed by the McGuinty government in 2010, despite opposition from across Northern Ontario, including First Nations.

The government-of-the-day wanted to set more than 20 per cent of Ontario's land mass as "protected areas."

The act launched a land-use planning process involving individual communities to determine the most appropriate use of land in their traditional territories. Only a handful of land-use plans were completed.

But the Ford government views the Far North Act as an obstacle to development, such as mining in the Ring of Fire, and wants the land-use planning process wrapped up by year's end.

Five of the Matawa chiefs are from communities close to the chromite and base metal exploration camp.

They say if the province has some new legislation in mind, they want assurances that a joint decision-making process will be put in place between the province and First Nations...

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