Grand Chief clarifies NAN's position on Far North Land Use Planning bill

    THUNDER BAY, ON, June 3 /CNW/ - Nishnawbe Aski Nation (NAN) Grand Chief
Stan Beardy today clarified NAN's position on the Far North Land Use Planning
bill announced Tuesday by the Government of Ontario following several
misleading media reports.
    "I want to make it very clear that at no point have I said that NAN has
endorsed, has supported or has been behind this legislation. Any such media
reports are inaccurate and do not reflect my position as Grand Chief of
Nishnawbe Aski Nation," said Nishnawbe Aski Nation (NAN) Grand Chief Stan
Beardy. "What I have said is this legislation is not good enough yet, but we
are giving the Government of Ontario another chance to consult with our First
Nation communities to get it right."
    The Far North Land Use Planning legislation was introduced for first
reading in the Ontario Legislature on June 2. It deals with planning in the
northern two-thirds of Ontario, the most important part of the province in
terms of future resource development.
    "First Nations have always wanted community-based land use planning, but
not under the terms we see in this legislation. We are particularly concerned
that First Nations without band status have been excluded and that this
legislation will effectively force First Nations to land-use plan their way
out of a super-park," said Beardy.
    "The Far North is our homeland and has been kept pristine by the Cree and
Ojibway people for generations. We recognize the Far North's ability to absorb
the effects of climate change, but this legislation protecting 225,000 square
kilometres of our territory has potential to block us from developing our
communities so the carbon sink can remain intact to right the environmental
wrongs of the industrialized south," said Beardy. "We are not opposed to the
goals of conservation, but Ontario's efforts to save the planet must not come
at First Nations' expense."
    NAN is demanding that the Government of Ontario initiate a strong
community consultation process before the legislation proceeds to second and
third reading.

    Nishnawbe Aski Nation is a political territorial organization
representing 49 First Nation communities in James Bay Treaty 9 and Ontario
portions of Treaty 5 - an area covering two thirds of the province of Ontario.

For further information:

For further information: Michael Heintzman, Media Relations, Officer -
Nishnawbe Aski Nation, (807) 625-4906 or (807) 621-2790 mobile

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