TORONTO, Nov. 22, 2011 /CNW/ - Ontario Regional Chief Angus Toulouse
will be participating in a panel discussion today at the 8th Annual
Ontario Economic Summit (OES) coordinated by the Ontario Chamber of
Commerce. The OES brings together leaders from business, labour,
government and non-profit organizations to share ideas to promote
economic growth in Ontario. Areas of focus include innovation in health
care delivery, Ontario`s energy future and championing urban regions.
Regional Chief Toulouse will highlight the significant contributions
that First Nations communities, particularly First Nations youth and
entrepreneurs, can make to strengthen the Ontario economy. "First
Nations have much to contribute and we - industry, government and First
Nations - need to work together and find ways to harness that potential
so that we all benefit now and in the future," said Regional Chief
Toulouse. "This includes building capacity. The First Nations'
population is the fastest growing and youngest segment in all of
Canada. A coordinated and constructive dialogue on how to best equip
First Nations youth for entry into the labour force is necessary,
especially in light of expected future labour force shortages in
Ontario and Canada."
Acknowledging that there are challenges, Regional Chief Toulouse will
urge government and industry to see that these challenges can be
overcome. "Shared, lasting prosperity for all Ontarians and First
Nations hinges on mutual respect and understanding. Part of this work
is a real commitment to address the many hard issues that still exist
relating to Treaty rights and resolving matters of jurisdiction. This
will create the certainty required for economic development to benefit
government, industry and First Nations communities, if they so choose."
Chief Toulouse shared that in order to work together successfully, it is
crucial for industry and government to understand what the priorities
and deal-breakers are for First Nations. "First Nations are interested
in responsible development that is respectful of the Treaty
relationship, their Treaty rights and inherent jurisdiction. First
Nations definitely recognize the potential benefits and additional
supports that economic development brings to ongoing efforts to
eradicate poverty and support the growth of First Nations communities -
but sustainability of lands and waters is paramount".
The current impasse with the Ring of Fire development in Northwestern
Ontario serves as one such example. On November 7, 2011, the Mattawa
Tribal Council, which represents the communities whose traditional
territories are directly impacted by the Ring of Fire developments,
filed a judicial review regarding the Canadian Environmental Assessment
Agency failure to implement a Joint Review Panel Environmental
Assessment for the Cliffs Chromite Project.
"Those First Nations with traditional territories near the Ring of Fire
area are interested in development that is responsible and that will
not harm their lands and waters. They also want to ensure that
discussions proceed in accordance with the international standard of
free, prior and informed consent, a principle that empowers them to
make the best possible decisions about economic development and be
informed about the environmental impacts development will have on their
traditional lands. The First Nations requested a joint review panel as
a process they believed would best support their involvement. While
this request has been ignored to date, there is still an opportunity
here for industry and government to listen to First Nations concerns
and to find a way forward," said Regional Chief Toulouse.
First Nations have much to contribute to strengthening Ontario`s
economy. It is time to enhance respectful dialogue and explore what we
can accomplish together to support the future prosperity of First
Nations and all Ontarians.
The theme of the 2 ½ day event is "Towards Ontario`s Next Great Era" and
featured an opening night keynote address by President Bill Clinton.
The Summit will also include keynote addresses by Richard Daley, former
Mayor of Chicago, Dr. Bernard Kouchner, of Doctors without Borders, a
luncheon with Premier Dalton McGuinty and roundtable discussions
chaired by Ontario Cabinet Ministers.
The Chiefs of Ontario (COO) is a coordinating body for the 133 First
Nations located within the boundaries of the Province of Ontario.
SOURCE Chiefs of Ontario
For further information:
Chiefs of Ontario Communications Officer