Mr. Chair, I've actually spent some time in the Ring of Fire communities with The First Nations Major Projects Coalition, and some of those communities are part of this coalition. Part of the discussion that we've had was on decision-making around approvals and recognition of Matawa as a government agency that can participate in that process. I know that in my own community in Squamish, we actually issued our own certificate on environmental assessment, and the LNG project is proceeding because of it.
This really gets down to sharing power and decision-making, and you need to open the door to allow that to happen. The times that I've spent up there certainly indicated to me that there were communities that are very prepared to support this kind of development. Some are not. We're never going to get consensus. It would be nice, but will we get it?
The other thing that the Ring of Fire is dependent upon is infrastructure. The Province of Ontario needs to build a road up there, doing it as a public-private partnership. The federal government can step in and provide the means by which that road can access those remote communities. That way we can run fibre optic cable up there and do a bunch of good things for that whole region and not just the indigenous communities. It takes a coordinated effort and it takes the provinces to be on side.
Part of this also means a new fiscal relationship that Manny and I talked, whereby some revenue-sharing would take place. Many years ago, I was asked by the Canadian government to go across Canada to look at first nations' participation in new projects that included not just first nations but also local governments. The mayor of Prince George said to me at the time, “This is great when you're here and I see my people working, but when you leave, there's not a lot, and if there's a problem here, I've got a big problem.” At some point in time, that kind of fear has to be removed.
The government has to step in and reassure people that this will happen. They need to share. They need access to capital. They need an informed ability to contribute to the decision-making, and then some of these projects will proceed.