Former Ontario Premier Bob Rae is representing the Matawa Tribal Council in their negotiations with the province over the Ring of Fire project. Attendance for his keynote speech on Monday was rather sparse, which is perhaps unsurprising given the setbacks at the project over the last year.
Nonetheless, Mr. Rae gave an animated and passionate talk about the need for better and more sustainable partnerships between industry and First Nations. The alternative, he said, is more lawsuits and other lousy outcomes. “Historically, Canada has not done very well on this issue of partnership and opportunity,” he said.
He is trying to negotiate revenue sharing for First Nations around the Ring of Fire. There is no precedent for that in Ontario, but he noted that it has been implemented successfully in British Columbia, Quebec and elsewhere. He called for more innovative partnerships between all stakeholders.
“[Partnership] is not easy, but it’s attainable. And it’s happening in enormously interesting ways across the country,” he said.