The Mississaugas of Scugog Island First Nation has stated the Ontario government has “utterly failed” to hold formal consultations with Indigenous governments as it attempts to launch its “deeply flawed” igaming scheme.
Strongly condemning the Ford government’s plan to go live with an igaming scheme, the MSIFN stated the decision will “devastate” its economy and set back decades of community development efforts.
“Today’s announcement by the Ford government is a slap in the face of First Nations, and reduces their promises of reconciliation to a joke,” said Kelly LaRocca, chief of MSIFN. “The government completely and utterly failed to consult our First Nation – leaving their igaming launch open to constitutional challenge.
“We intend to challenge the province’s igaming scheme in court.”
Contrary to section 35 of Canada’s constitution, the Ford government has allegedly failed to hold formal consultations with Indigenous governments – said to be a violation of its duty to consult and accommodate impacted Indigenous groups.
Research by gaming experts, according to the MSIFN, the government’s decision will strip millions of dollars from municipalities and First Nations across Ontario as well as the province’s own funds. Additionally, it places more than 2,500 jobs at risk across the province.
The First Nation stated that the Ontario government has not provided any information about how it will address the budgetary shortfalls and industry-wide layoffs which will occur because of its igaming strategy.
“The Ford government has recklessly ignored our concerns and has not offered any strategies to address the impact that their inadequate plan will have on our First Nation, our culture and our ability to provide services to our community,” added LaRocca.
“It is a real and significant threat. It will not stand. If the Ford government is not willing to address the harms caused by its decision, we will have to make them accountable, in an election year.”
For centuries, the Mississaugas of Scugog Island First Nation have lived on the shores of Lake Scugog, North of what is now Port Perry. Thanks in large part to the Great Blue Heron Casino, MSIFN is widely considered a model of a successful First Nation government in Canada.
In part due to the GBH, MSIFN has provided their community – and Durham Region as a whole – with thousands of jobs, and millions of dollars in charitable donations to community organisations throughout the region.