Evidence of meeting #27 for Natural Resources in the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament’s site, as are the minutes.) The winning word was going.

A recording is available from Parliament.

On the agenda

MPs speaking

Also speaking

Wes Hanson  President and Chief Executive Officer, Noront Resources Ltd.
Kirk McKinnon  President and Chief Executive Officer, MacDonald Mines Exploration Ltd.
Ian Brodie-Brown  President and Chief Executive Officer, AurCrest Gold Inc.
Elijah Moonias  Marten Falls First Nation
David Kilgour  Councillor, City of Greater Sudbury

9:55 a.m.

Conservative

The Chair Conservative Leon Benoit

I'm sorry, Mr. Trost; you're out of time.

Mr. Anderson, go ahead, please.

9:55 a.m.

Conservative

David Anderson Conservative Cypress Hills—Grasslands, SK

Thank you, Mr. Chair.

I want to thank the witnesses for coming forward.

I'd like to follow up on that question, because I think it's important. Do you have anyone that you look to? I asked this question the other day of Mr. Ferris, who I'm glad to see back again today. Where do you go for your examples of success? Do you have any, or are you just beginning to look for those examples?

9:55 a.m.

Marten Falls First Nation

Chief Elijah Moonias

Well, I don't go to Osoyoos, that's for sure.

9:55 a.m.

Conservative

David Anderson Conservative Cypress Hills—Grasslands, SK

Okay. Well, where—

9:55 a.m.

Marten Falls First Nation

Chief Elijah Moonias

What happens there, I don't know. That's a weird situation there. If I wanted something for a good example, I definitely would not go to Osoyoos.

9:55 a.m.

Conservative

David Anderson Conservative Cypress Hills—Grasslands, SK

Okay. Can I ask you a question that I asked—

9:55 a.m.

Marten Falls First Nation

Chief Elijah Moonias

Your question is if there has been any development that occurred around or near a native community that had a satisfactory outcome. To me, that's what you were asking. Has there ever been a development like that? Is that what you're asking?

10 a.m.

Conservative

David Anderson Conservative Cypress Hills—Grasslands, SK

Well, I'm just going to change that because I'm not.... How big is your community? How many people do you represent, and how many people are in the area? Typically those numbers can be different. How many people are in your area that you represent?

10 a.m.

Marten Falls First Nation

Chief Elijah Moonias

We are a very tiny community.

10 a.m.

Conservative

David Anderson Conservative Cypress Hills—Grasslands, SK

Okay.

10 a.m.

Marten Falls First Nation

Chief Elijah Moonias

We've always been called “tiny Marten Falls” in the newspapers. Whenever we complain about something, they say “tiny Marten Falls”, as if we don't have a voice, right?

10 a.m.

Conservative

David Anderson Conservative Cypress Hills—Grasslands, SK

Well, I come from a tiny community as well. I'm just wondering how large your community is.

10 a.m.

Marten Falls First Nation

Chief Elijah Moonias

It has 600 members on the list, and about half live on the reserve.

10 a.m.

Conservative

David Anderson Conservative Cypress Hills—Grasslands, SK

We heard the other day that there were several thousand job opportunities. Perhaps I'll follow up later and ask the folks here how many jobs they're providing, but would you accept having these developments in your area if they would provide employment for virtually any employable person in your community who could get the educational opportunities to achieve that? Is that something you would look forward to as a chief?

10 a.m.

Marten Falls First Nation

Chief Elijah Moonias

Yes, I would. As I said, this experiment, this reserve Indian Act experiment, has failed. History proves that.

10 a.m.

Conservative

David Anderson Conservative Cypress Hills—Grasslands, SK

Okay, but there are other communities—

10 a.m.

Marten Falls First Nation

10 a.m.

Conservative

David Anderson Conservative Cypress Hills—Grasslands, SK

—that have overcome that, though. You don't like Chief Louie, but there are other communities, such as the one in Saskatchewan at the Meadow Lake Tribal Council, that have done a very good job of working with local communities and local businesses to develop their resources and their economic activity for their young people. Would you see them as an example of a group you could learn from?

10 a.m.

Marten Falls First Nation

Chief Elijah Moonias

I don't understand the question.

10 a.m.

Conservative

David Anderson Conservative Cypress Hills—Grasslands, SK

Okay. We've spent quite a bit of time talking about northern development. Consistently we hear that often the challenges are that the communities are isolated and educational opportunities aren't what they are in other areas, but we've also heard that there's a huge demand for human resources for the next generation. I know that in Saskatchewan there has been a real focus by the government and the aboriginal community to try to make sure the aboriginal community can participate fully in that future demand. The leadership comes both from the government and from the aboriginal community.

What I'm hearing is some of the same discussion here. We've also heard in it our other sessions on northern development; we heard that we need those same types of things to happen across this country. It has worked in our part of the world, to some extent; there's a lot of room for improvement, but I'm excited to hear that there are the same opportunities in northern Ontario. I hope that people get that opportunity to participate and to be part of it, and I hope that their leadership takes the opportunity.

10 a.m.

Marten Falls First Nation

Chief Elijah Moonias

Maybe I can best illustrate the answer to your question this way. Just as an analogy, OPG approached us about five years ago. They said they were going to do a study on the Albany River for further development. There's development already at Lake St. Joseph. There's a dam there. The river is diverted west from there into the Wabigoon and English River system into Manitoba to the Winnipeg River.

They said they wanted to come and look at Cat River--that's a site 40 miles down from us--and Hat Island further down, to see if they could develop that potential. We said, “Okay, fine; go there and do your study.”

Then our people began to question us about it. They asked what we were doing and if we were planning to work with these people and put a dam there.

OPG offered us revenue-sharing from the system once it would be in place. Presumably that would bring capital, well-being, nice houses, and stuff like that, maybe even jobs for some people once we were to agree to that.

Then we began to question. Was it worth it to do that, destroy the river some more, stop the sturgeon from swimming? The sturgeon have done that for 300 million years. Do we have the right to do that, to further disturb that, just because we want to be comfortable? Just because we want a job and a nice house, do we have the right to do that? As aboriginal people, can we say we have the right to do that? We have certain principles that we follow with Mother Earth.

That same question applies to the development here.

10:05 a.m.

Conservative

The Chair Conservative Leon Benoit

Thank you, Chief.

Thank you, Mr. Anderson. You're out of time.

We go now to Mr. Rafferty. You have up to five minutes. Go ahead, please.

February 16th, 2012 / 10:05 a.m.

NDP

John Rafferty NDP Thunder Bay—Rainy River, ON

Thank you very much, Chair. I'm happy to be here today. I have many family members in the mining engineering field. I have a daughter who works out in the mining industry in B.C., and I'm a resident of Northern Ontario, so I'm pleased to have this opportunity to be here today.

I'll start at that end of the table and see how far I can work down in five minutes. Feel free to keep your answers brief if you wish.

Mr. Hanson, we've heard about roads. We've heard about transportation, electrical lines and so on, east-west and north-south. Can I ask you why Hudson Bay was not considered as a viable route for shipping?

10:05 a.m.

President and Chief Executive Officer, Noront Resources Ltd.

Wes Hanson

Basically our analysis indicated that James Bay was too shallow to accept vessels of sufficient draft to be able to reduce shipping costs dramatically.

Noront's situation is a bit different from that of Cliffs and some of the other companies in the Ring of Fire. We're only looking at shipping 150,000 tons of concentrate a year. We could do that easily through a combination of a concentrate pipeline and a permanent road.

10:05 a.m.

NDP

John Rafferty NDP Thunder Bay—Rainy River, ON

You mentioned Sudbury as a destination for processing. Can I ask you why Thunder Bay or maybe even Nakina is not considered as a possible processing site?