Signing offers chance for joint resource management

As is so often the case, when a deal is struck, the benefits can spin off to affect others, as well.
That appears to be the case in the historic land claim agreement that was officially signed Friday afternoon during the annual Rainy River First Nations fish fry.
Among the dignitaries present for the historic signing was Ontario Natural Resources minister David Ramsay.
Although the MNR was not a principal player in the negotiations between Canada, Ontario, and RRFN, he feels the outcome is a win-win situation for all stakeholders in natural resources.
Ramsay said the deal has bridged the chasm between the province, which is mandated to safeguard natural resources, and the First Nations, who are the principal custodians.
“We [the government] endeavour to do a better job of managing our resources on a sustainable basis and that dovetails very nicely with the aboriginal ethic and how they want to develop resources,” he noted as he prepared to sit down with a plate of walleye fillets and all the fixings at the annual feast.
“We’re working more and more with them, especially north of [the 50th parallel], where there are no allocations and plenty of opportunities for joint projects,” he added.
But those opportunities are not restricted merely to the far north.
Ramsay cited a local example, where the Ainsworth Lumber Co. in Barwick has teamed with native-owned Manitou Forest Products to find niche markets for value-added wood products.
“I think it’s time we continued working more closely with First Nations communities so they aren’t left behind economically as they have been in the past,” Ramsay said.