We are deeply concerned with the recent incident in which First Nations leaders walked out of Queen’s Park after a heated exchange over mining proposals. At OSPE, we strongly believe it is crucial for Indigenous communities to be heard and for their opinions to be taken into consideration.
OSPE has repeatedly recommended, including in our recent comments on the Ontario Budget, that Ontario convene two separate panels to engage climate experts and Indigenous leaders in transparent conversations about the key issues and challenges facing the province, and include Indigenous participation in planning and developing major projects. These suggestions come from our role in organizing OSPE’s 2017 “Spark the Fire” event in North Bay, and from our continuing conversations with Indigenous leaders from Canada’s engineering community.
Through this approach, we believe Ontario can better understand the complex interplay between the government’s objectives, and Indigenous communities’ rights, interests, and traditional roles as stewards of the land, water, and air. This will help Ontario develop more effective solutions that benefit all Ontarians and advance infrastructure, energy projects, mining development, climate change mitigation, and – above all else – reconciliation.
By bringing together these diverse perspectives, we can achieve a more inclusive and sustainable future for all.