SAULT STE MARIE, ON – With the recent announcement regarding the Ontario government selling Hydro One assets, Chief Isadore Day of Serpent River First Nation and a candidate for Ontario Regional Chief says, “Its critical that Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne consider First Nations a vital partner in the decisions related to this sale”.
“These resources are assets intended to benefit everyone and must therefore include First Nations in both the discussion and decision-making process. Generation, transmission and distribution of electricity all occur on treaty lands – it is a requirement that First Nations are inclusive at all stages of this sale,” adds Chief Day.
Chief Day says that in recent months, he and other First Nation leaders in Ontario have been stressing that there is a need to change the way First Nations and the Ontario government discuss important matters, like the sale of Crown assets.
He says that “The sale of a significant portion of Ontario’s energy sector has serious implications to the future of First Nations in Ontario”.
“We must have immediate discussions with the Premier Wynne. As treaty partners with the crown, we expect to be fully engaged from the outset – failure to do this is not consistent with Ontario’s commitments,” says Chief Day.
First Nations say they are justifiably frustrated over the lack of resolution regarding resource revenue sharing with Ontario. Chief Day noted that the commitments of the Ontario Liberals to the First Nations stemming from the 1990’s to address resource revenue sharing should be part and parcel of its decision to sell Hydro One assets.
Time to Get Serious – No Dodging – Chief Day
“Its time to get serious – no more dodging First Nations at the front end of major deals – this is simply unacceptable and an old way of doing business which can no longer be tolerated. Treaties were about sharing,” concludes Day.
The manner in which Ontario will involve First Nations in this process will be seen as one of the most significant tests in the relationship between Ontario and First Nations since the Ontario Green Energy and Economy Act and the revenue sharing negotiations in Ontario gaming revenues.
Chief Isadore Day is expected to call on other First Nation leaders in Ontario to get behind a call to meet with the province to discuss this recent announcement.