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Timmins mayor looks to broker responsible resource development relationship between Mushkegowuk Chiefs and Queen's Park

George Pirie wants to create treaty round table to discuss environmental protections and future of resource development in coastal areas
James Bay coast (Ont Gov photo)
James Bay coast (Ontario Government photo)

Timmins Mayor George Pirie said he's hosting a "historic meeting" this week between provincial cabinet ministers and First Nation leadership to discuss the future of development and sustainability on the Hudson and James Bay coastal regions.

A news release from Pirie's office said the Dec. 3 meeting is for the purpose of establishing a treaty round table and memorandum of understanding (MOU) between the Ontario government and Mushkegowuk, regarding responsible resource development in these areas of Northern Ontario.

At the table will be Mushkegowuk Chiefs from Missanabie Cree, Chapleau Cree, Taykwa Tagamou, Moose Cree, Kasechewan, Fort Albany, and Attawapiskat First Nations. They will join Mushkegowuk Executive Director Ernest Beck, Deputy Grand Chief Rebecca Friday, Mushkegowuk Marine Region Manager Lawrence Martin, and Mushkegowuk Director of Lands and Resources Vern Cheechoo.

Also joining them will be Minister of Northern Development, Mines, Natural Resources, and Forestry and Minister of Indigenous Affairs Greg Rickford and Ontario’s Minister of the Environment, Conservation and Parks David Piccini.

Pirie's office said this important gathering is an extension of a city commitment made in the Mushkegowuk-Timmins Relationship Agreement, outlining the need to "foster positive economic outcomes from resource development activities" that mutually benefit both communities.

Part of the discussion will include an update conservation projects, such as the National Marine Conservation Area Feasibility Study. In a statement, Pirie was pleased to be this meeting's facilitator.

“It affords an opportunity for collaborative discussion and problem-solving. We know that there is a rich and diverse landscape of natural resources in the coastal region and we have a shared responsibility to not only protect the environment, but assist the Mushkegowuk Council in fostering a relationship with the Ontario government that is mutually beneficial. It is an honour to bring this distinguished panel of guests together and lead what I hope is a robust conversation.”