THUNDER BAY – The provincial NDP have noted that both Premier Dalton McGuinty and Thunder Bay Atikokan MPP Bill Mauro were not at their desks in Queen’s Park today for the vote on the Far North Act.
The McGuinty Liberals’ decision to ram the Far North Act through the Legislature today is a big step backward for relations between First Nations and the provincial government, say NDP Leader Andrea Horwath and NDP Aboriginal Affairs Critic Gilles Bisson.
“The Premier went back on his pledge to First Nations leaders that he wouldn’t move ahead with the Far North Act without their consent,” said Horwath.
“Despite committing to a new relationship, the McGuinty Liberals think they know better than the First Nations who have lived in the far north for thousands of years. The attitudes displayed in the pass of this bill were supposed to be the attitudes of the past,” she added.
Bisson noted that the Far North Act remains deeply flawed.
“The act gives the government blanket powers to override local First Nations’ land use decisions and does not respect Aboriginal rights to accommodation. That is completely and utterly unacceptable and flies in the face of recommendations from the Ipperwash inquiry,” he said.
All NDP MPPs voted against the bill, but it passed with the support of the Liberal majority. Notably absent from the vote were Premier Dalton McGuinty and Thunder Bay Liberal MPP Bill Mauro.