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CPAWS Wildlands League: Ontario needs to act before it’s too late in the Ring of Fire

By Anna Baggio, Director, Conservation Planning, CPAWS-Wildlands League

Today there is a new development in the Ring of Fire campaign. We’ve launched a major ad campaign this week on the Toronto’s Metro News website to raise public awareness of our growing concerns with how mining development is proceeding in the Ring of  Fire, approximately 500 km NE of Thunder Bay, Ontario.

Our goal is to see the process of ad hoc, one-off development decisions replaced with a coordinated, thorough review of Cliffs Chromite Project, within the context of a broader strategic regional assessment in the area.

If you’re reading this blog, I hope you’ll take a minute right now to express YOUR views to the Ontario government about this issue.

We’re frustrated with the lack of progress made by Ontario over the last three years to come up with a long-term plan for this globally significant ecosystem. In the absence of such a plan, industry proponent Cliffs Natural Resources is moving ahead to shape the future of this region based on its own interests. We fear wild rivers, habitat for threatened species and carbon rich peatlands will get the short stick because so far Ontario hasn’t stepped up with a comprehensive planning process. It seems bent on repeating the mistakes of industrial resource extraction in other parts of Ontario and Canada. 

We have long recommended that the province initiate a transparent, public, regional process where First Nations and stakeholders, including all affected companies, scientists, municipalities and citizens would have a say in determining the future of the region. But time is running out. The longer Ontario waits, the greater the risk that we won’t protect clean water, habitat for threatened species and carbon rich stores, in addition to taking advantage of the economic opportunity “of a century”.

We decided to run these ads because after years of submitting letters urging Ontario to keep its promise to “get it right” in the Ring of Fire and talking to many, many officials in government ministries, we felt a change was needed. And after hearing from you and scientists, and seeing a back room deal to be signed with Cliffs we knew we had to act quickly.

Someone needs to stand up for ecosystems. Someone needs to stand up in the public interest. Someone needs to stand up for wild rivers and caribou. And someone needs to stand with concerned First Nations worried about their traditional homelands. We hope these ads get Ontario’s attention. Your voice will certainly help! The stakes are too high. Let the province know it needs to act now, before it’s too late.