THUNDER BAY – Leader’s Ledger – As the Minister responsible for implementing the Far North Act, I can tell you that your January 19th editorial, Far North Act – “Yippee, but at least we have a colouring book!” misrepresents both the intent and the potential impact of this landmark legislation. I’m convinced that the act is the foundation of a remarkable and, frankly, unprecedented land use planning process that will benefit the north.
That’s much more than broad statements, and it certainly demonstrates the McGuinty government’s commitment to mutual respect as we work with First Nation communities. Already five communities have worked with the Province to complete their community based land use plans (Pikangikum, Cat Lake, Slate Falls, Pauingassi and Little Grand Rapids). The Cat Lake-Slate Falls First Nation plan was signed by the Chiefs and Minister last July. Twenty-seven other communities have started to work towards plans.
This planning clarifies where development can occur and where land can be set aside for protection. That’s the certainty that companies and investors want and need. That’s how it already happens in communities across Ontario and that’s how it can happen with First Nation communities in the Far North.
I am excited about leading our ministry through the next stages of this remarkable process. It will provide us with new economic development opportunities and job creation in the Far North while we also protect a significant portion of the province that is ecologically vital and a source of pride for all the people of Ontario.
Minister of Natural Resources