UOI OFFICES (Nipissing FN) September 13, 2016 – Anishinabek Nation Grand Council Chief Patrick Madahbee says that yesterday’s Throne Speech announced little in the way of new commitment for First Nations in Ontario, instead opting to reaffirm already ongoing commitments that the Government of Ontario has with First Nation communities.
“The Anishinabek Nation is working well with the Province,” says Grand Council Chief Madahbee. “I hope that in the coming months, however, we can get more traction on our issues.”
Statements concerning job creation strategy, skills training, building a competitive business environment and strengthening the economy presented missed opportunities for the Province of Ontario due the lack of participation afforded to First Nations. Participation in the Ring of Fire only scratches the surface of First Nation potential within Ontario. As a demographic that is largely absent from industry, we are the answer to a thriving economy. The potential impact of First Nations on the overall Ontario economy has yet to be fully realized.
The method of relief from overextended hydro costs appears to be missing the source of the issue. An 8% refund will certainly provide some relief but still does not obligate Hydro providers to regulate their rates and fees in consideration of their consumers, nor does it encourage transparency.
“Many of our remote First Nations are overburdened by excessive delivery fees, which have not been addressed,” says Madahbee. “Additionally, it is crucial that the Provincial government aid First Nations in pushing the Federal Government to come good on promises already made but not moved on, such as the ending boil water advisories, critical infrastructure development and upkeep and education.”
First Nations want to be a partner with Ontario. Once this happens, the First Nation contribution to the Province of Ontario will result in a stronger, more profitable economy and socio-economic equity and stability.
The Anishinabek Nation established the Union of Ontario Indians as its secretariat in 1949. The UOI is a political advocate for 40 member communities across Ontario, representing approximately 60,000 people. The Union of Ontario Indians is the oldest political organization in Ontario and can trace its roots back to the Confederacy of Three Fires, which existed long before European contact.