Last Friday, the Ontario government announced the creation of a public corporation to oversee the development of infrastructure that will facilitate the extraction of resources in the ‘Ring of Fire’.
Ontario’s lead negotiator in the ‘Ring of Fire’ Frank Iacobucci gestured towards Onkwehon:we in a public statement concerning the announcement, saying that “There is no question that vital infrastructure is required in the region to support remote First Nations communities.” But Ontario’s Minister of Northern Development and Mines Michael Gravelle put business front and center: “Infrastructure is vital to developing the Ring of Fire. People need to get in to work and products need to get out to the global market.”
The government’s statement suggested that the corporation had more to do with financing infrastructure for the sake of corporate profiteering than the rights and well-being of Indigenous people: “The corporation would develop, construct, finance, operate and maintain infrastructure supporting access to strategic resources in the Ring of Fire. The province will begin immediate work with partners, including the federal government, on the development corporation to determine its scope and a suitable governance model.”