THUNDER BAY — First Nation leaders from across Nishnawbe Aski Nation are speaking out against the Ontario government's Bill 132, an omnibus bill.
The government's Better for People, Smarter for Business Act, they said Thursday, "seriously undermines the mining industry obligation to consult with First Nation communities."
At a meeting in Thunder Bay, chiefs of NAN First Nations, Grand Chief Alvin Fiddler criticized the government's "disrespectful" approach, saying it is "burying issues fundamental to First Nations in omnibus legislation and creating unreasonable timelines to undermine the right of our communities to adequately respond."
The leaders passed resolutions rejecting Bill 132.
NAN chiefs have declared that the area designated by Ontario as the Far North is subject to the James Bay Treaty # 9 and the Ontario portion of Treaty # 5.
They assert that development in the Far North cannot be imposed unilaterally by the government.
The chiefs voted to establish a working group of chiefs, officials and technical representatives to define the scope of First Nation jurisdiction.
They are also calling on Ontario to extend the time for "consultation and accommodation" regarding Bill 132, saying it includes proposed changes affecting many statutes including the Mining Act.
NAN said it will ask the provincial government to end "the disrespectful legislative practice of burying issues important to First Nations in omnibus legislation completely unrelated to First Nation matters.