June 19, 2009 – Simcoe County, ON — The Métis Nation of Ontario (MNO) expressed support today for the Council of Canadians and its efforts to have Simcoe County halt construction of the North County Landfill – known as Site 41.
“The Métis Nation of Ontario wants to add its voice to the growing chorus of individuals and groups who are strongly opposed to Site 41,” said Gary Lipinski, MNO President. “We endorse the plan by the Council of Canadians to pursue appropriate legal action aimed at halting construction activity at the site.”
The site of the future North Simcoe Landfill is in the Georgian Bay Traditional Harvesting Territory of the Métis of Ontario. It is situated in the midst of a significant watershed and a leak has the potential of contaminating not just the pristine groundwater at the site, but as many as 13 lakes in the Georgian Bay area. In addition to MNO opposition to the landfill, Nature Canada, the Chiefs of Ontario, the Dairy Farmers of Ontario and many others have already protested development at the site.
Métis in the region are represented by the Saguingue, Grey-Owen Sound, Georgian Bay, and the Moon River Métis Councils. Pauline Saulnier, Regional Councillor and Chair of the Georgian Bay Traditional Territory Consultation Committee says, “our local Council supports the efforts to stop construction of Site 41 and wants to remind governments at all levels of its legal obligation to consult and accommodate Métis on activities that have the potential to adversely affect Aboriginal rights or interests.”
While Saulnier expresses concerns about the extent of the consultation with the Métis on Site 41, she is expressing optimism about the plan to ensure that a situation like this does not develop in the future. MNO, through the Georgian Bay Métis Consultation Protocol signed between the local Métis Councils and President Lipinski, will work with the Municipality of Simcoe County and the province to provide input into the five year land use plan currently being developed by the County.
“The need for governments and industry to consult Aboriginal people on industrial and commercial activities in the province is still relatively new,” says Lipinski. “MNO has worked with the province and local Métis Councils to develop a framework for consultation that will ensure that the interests of Métis who continue traditional harvest practices are considered.”
For further information or interviews contact:
Hank Rowlinson, Manager of Community Relations
To arrange an interview, please contact:
Melanie Paradis, Director of Lands, Resources and Consultation
Pauline Saulnier, PCMNO Region 7 Councillor