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Wynne majority could be win-win: Madahbee

UOI OFFICES (Nipissing FN) June 13, 2014 – A majority government for Premier Kathleen Wynne has the potential to benefit both citizens of Ontario and First Nations in the province.

"The 60,000 Anishinabek living in Ontario want to congratulate Premier Wynne on her impressive election victory," said Grand Council Chief Patrick Madahbee. "Her minority government has listened to our plans to create our own institutions in areas like education and child welfare. A majority government should give them the confidence to support our efforts to make these things happen."

Speaking for 39 Anishinabek First Nations in Ontario, Madahbee credited the Liberal government with modernizing the province's mining act for the first time in over a century.

"If they honour the Crown's duty to consult and accommodate First Nations interests in commercial activities on their territories, this could translate into benefits from sustainable natural resource development.

"Premier Wynne has an opportunity to ensure that First Nations share in the wealth and job creation generated from such projects as the Ring of Fire ore body, and that the developments are carried out in a way that provides protection for our traditional lands."

The Grand Council Chief said that a majority government in Ontario should expedite action on the 100 recommendations of the Ipperwash Inquiry into the 1995 shooting death of unarmed Anishinabek protester Dudley George.

"The Liberals have made strides in creating more information about the Treaty relationship in Ontario school curriculum. Now they have the opportunity to work with us to provide certainty for First Nations policing and co-management in a number of Natural Resource areas.

"First Nations are willing to work with any government that respects our rights, helps protect our lands, and keeps their treaty commitments to us."

The Anishinabek Nation established the Union of Ontario Indians as its secretariat in 1949. The UOI is a political advocate for 39 member communities across Ontario, representing approximately 55,000 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.

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