Moose Factory – The First Nations of Mushkegowuk Council in Northern Ontario feel blind-sided by the Fall Economic Statement delivered by the Ford Government on Thursday.
Mushkegowuk Grand Chief Jonathan Solomon blasted the direction the Ontario government is taking; “We see this as the beginning of a slash and burn approach to governance. The messages being sent by this mini-budget are deeply concerning.
In a statement issued on Friday, the Grand Chief says, “To eliminate key watch-dog roles such as the Child Advocate and the Environmental Commissioner leaves us, our children and our lands vulnerable to being attacked with no one to turn to for help. We will not stand back and watch as the most vulnerable are left voiceless and our lands’ under attack”.
“The elimination of the Office of the Child Advocate is a big step backward for our children.
“Countless numbers of our children and young teens have been taken away by Children’s Aid Societies and placed in group homes hundreds of miles from home.
“Many of them have attempted to hurt or kill themselves and a few have taken their own lives as a result of the helplessness they feel”.
“The Office of the Child Advocate was one place they could turn to ask for someone to help them out of this corrupt system. Now that hope has been destroyed,” said Mushkegowuk Deputy Grand Chief Rebecca Friday.
Thirty percent of children in Foster Care in Ontario are Indigenous, but makeup but only make up four percent of the population.
Solomon added “A few years ago we established a Treaty Relationship Discussion Table with Ontario to discuss issues such as resource development, environmental protection and supporting our children.
“Since the Ford government came to power, there has been no indication by this Government on the future of the Treaty Table.
“Now they have delivered basically a slap in the face by eliminating these independent bodies which are keys to helping our First Nations – and also declaring that they will be plowing ahead with the Ring of Fire development.
“This is a mining development about which the Ontario government has had no consultation with our First Nation, contrary to every recent Supreme Court decision.”
The Grand Chief finished with this warning, “Things have changed. I can assure Premier Doug Ford and his government that if he continues in this direction, the Mushkegowuk First Nations will resist his efforts and stand up for what is right.”