New group wants say in hydro line
A new alliance between 19 First Nation communities is primed to pitch their preference to the government for a proposed route for the Ontario-Manitoba hydro transmission line.
Since a provincial announcement in 2004 that it wants to move power generated in Northern Manitoba to southern Ontario, the Chief's steering committee has wanted to be involved in the process. Members of the alliance announced Wednesday that 19 communities have come together and have chosen two potential routes they would like the province to consider.
The First Nations Energy Alliance was formed after three years of research and consultation and their mandate is to pursue a new route for the transmission line between Manitoba and southern Ontario.
The province has put forward four possible routes for the transmission line but the Alliance wants one of their routes used that would tie in remote communities enabling them to benefit by the economic spin-off. Wabun Tribal Council executive director Shawn Batise says the alliance wants to take ownership, finance the project, build the transmission line and provide for their future generations.
"Ontario needs the power. I mean, that's a fact. It's not going to go away, and we think by taking the proactive role, and participating in that process, and owning the line, rather than having it come through our territory, through some other means of, or whatever, that'll be a greater economic benefit" Batise said.
Eabamentoong First Nation Chief Charlie Okeese says this would have many economic benefits for their communities, especially the remote communities.
"You know, these fly-in communities, isolated communities, everything's flown in, and you're at the mercy of the airlines, and the cost of living, and the fuel, they can charge whatever they want. When the fuel prices are up they just tack on the fuel surcharge, and that's what you pay."
Okeese says currently, some communities are paying about $15 for fresh milk and if the transmission line were built on their preferred route, these remote communities would have access to a road. Along with helping with expensive costs, he says this would help with potential developments including tourism, forestry and mining.
Mattawa First Nation advisor Brian Davey says the alliance wants to send a strong signal to the governments, and the industry and financial community that they're serious about building this corridor. The next step is to propose their idea to the government.
"The Ministry of Energy is very much involved in this. So, we have to meet with them, and indicate our intentions, and what the purpose of the alliance is, and where we stand on certain matters, and hopefully enter into a dialogue, and also acquire the support of the NAN executive, and we don't believe we're going to have any problem getting their political support and moving forward on this particular route."
NAN press release
NAN leadership sign political agreement for bilateral with Ontario
THUNDER BAY, ON, April 18 /CNW/ - Nishnawbe Aski Nation (NAN) Grand Chief Stan Beardy together with members of the Northern Table NAN Chiefs steering committee signed a letter of political agreement with Minister of Natural Resources and Minister Responsible for Aboriginal Affairs David Ramsay to continue exploratory discussions with the Government of Ontario this morning at Queen's Park.
"NAN leadership has high expectations that the Northern Table will assist in developing a meaningful relationship with the Government of Ontario reflective of our understanding of treaties 9 and 5 signed 100 years ago," said NAN Grand Chief Stan Beardy. "Our intent is through changes in policy and legislation to allow active participation by First Nation people in the economy, revenue-sharing, and proper implementation of Aboriginal and Treaty rights as outlined in the Canadian Constitution and recent Supreme Court rulings, this forum will provide a good basis for a better future for the people of Nishnawbe Aski."
The letter commits NAN Chiefs and the Government of Ontario to a 90 day interim period to finalize exploratory discussions related to revenue-sharing, Ontario Parks Act, Ontario Mining Act, impact benefits agreements, and land use planning.
The Northern Table was originally announced March 2006 with the intent to provide a forum to address the unique challenges specific to NAN First Nation communities, while addressing the gap in socioeconomic status between the residents of NAN territory (an area covering two-thirds of Ontario) and non-Aboriginal Ontarians.
Nishnawbe Aski Nation is a political organization representing 49 First Nation communities in the territory of James Bay Treaty 9 and Ontario portion of Treaty 5 - an area covering two-thirds of the province.
/For further information: Jenna Young, Director of Communications, Nishnawbe Aski Nation, (807) 625-4952 OR (807) 628-3953 (mobile)/