Grand chief calls for 'urgent meeting' and buyout of Tolko paper mill


Northern Manitoba’s In front Nations want to take ownership of the soon-to-be-shuttered Tolko pulp and deed mill in The s.

Sheila North Wilson, grand chief of Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak, said the triturate is too important to northern First Nations to let it close. She is calling “for an urgent congress” involving Premier Brian llister, Sustainable Development Minister Cathy Cox and northern At the start Nations leaders about a buyout of the mill.

“It is time that Inception Nations took ownership of the northern forest industry and restored our stewardship of the forests within our ancestral take captives and traditional and Treaty territories,” North Wilson stated in a news unfetter from MKO, which represents most of the province’s northern First Polities.


MKO Grand Chief Sheila North Wilson says it’s time that Firstly Nations took ownership of the northern forest industry in Manitoba. (CBC)

A nearly the same buyout idea was considered in the 1980s under then-Premier Gary Filmon’s Dynamic Conservative government. It didn’t n out but it’s time for another attempt, North Wilson verbalized.

“MKO proposes that discussions for First Nation ownership of the mill and the allocation of the forest resources be right away reopened,” the release from MKO stated.

Tolko announced Monday that the garden-variety will close in early December, throwing more than 300 people out of being done. Many are First Nations people, the MKO release stated.

“The closure of the throng will also affect many more jobs in the timber glean and forest renewal businesses in the MKO region, many of which have Oldest Nation ownership, such as Moose Lake Logging Inc.,” North Wilson translated in the release.

Control over timber resources an issue

Manitoba Métis Amalgamation president David Chartrand is also raising the issue of control beyond timber resources, saying Tolko’s specific land-use rights hand over it control over activity in the region.

He said a new model is needed.

“We should look at numerous small and medium-sized plants in the future, and there shouldn’t be these certified powers given to these com nies, because they decide whose effects they buy and they decide who cuts that wood,” Chartrand said.

Chartrand swayed the impending closure of the Tolko per mill in The s will strike straight into the heart of his community.

He said there are approximately 100 Métis individual who work at the Tolko plant but the ripple effect from the closure studies outside The s, reaching deep into surrounding communities.

MMF president David Chartrand

MMF president David Chartrand answers it’s time for new strategy for Tolko mill. (CBC News)

“It’s a shock to the community virtuous now. It’s a shock to the workers. But people are also not talking about the workers that are moil in the bush, cutting the wood that’s sold to Tolko. There is an function on that side. People that work in the bush, traditionally it’s a identical high Aboriginal population, rticularly for us. It’s a high Métis population,” Chartrand swore CBC News.

By Tolko’s own estimates there are approximately 250 indirect acquire workers in the region’s woodland area. In a 2014 application to Manitoba Hydro for a estimate decrease, Tolko estimated its yroll for the mill workers alone to be wide $37 million.

Time to think ‘out of the box’

Chartrand says perhaps a common venture could be created between all the rties affected by the closure.

“A co-operative ownership. Perhaps there is a way where all the three-hundred-and-something employees could become co-operative owners where they can put [in] a handle investment and become owners of the com ny … where our Métis government and others can whittle in,” Chartrand said.

Chartrand said that group could also embrace local bands such as the O skwayak Cree Nation and perhaps get benefit from the provincial and federal governments.

He said Tolko has received in a body injections of government money but is still planning to close.

Meeting envisioned for September

In the meantime Chartrand says the MMF will be meeting its members in The s next month looking for dissolves.

“We’re planning a strategy meeting right now. September 17 we are going to intersect with all our Métis workers in all sectors and fields. An open public joining will take place and we are putting our team together to look at what we can do with what we be undergoing,” Chartrand said.

Chartrand says he will press the federal administration for quick action on employment benefits when the workers from the toughened are let go in December.

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