Hello my friends,
as North Grenville will be directly affected by potential spills of exploratory drillings in Robertsville west of Perth I urge communities to organize info-sessions on the dangers of Uranium-mining so close to home and councils to pass a motion for Uranium-mining moratorium in the province of Ontario.
Speakers like John Kittle (claims go through his property) who is prepared to challenge the Province of Ontario on the constitutionality of the Mining Act in case the political road does not lead to a Moratorium on Uranium-Mining, was happy to assure participation in a potential info session.
This is not an indigenous problem, this is the multi-billion-dollar Nuclear Industry endangering aquifers and risking a radioactive Rideau where tourists won’t travel anymore and communities will glow for hundreds of thousands of years. Did you know that radioactive Radon, an invisible emission when drilling for Uranium is recognized NOW as the second most important reason for people dying of lung cancer in Ontario, right after smoking?
This is not some hippies playing stubborn, this has grown to a citizen movement with over 50 environmental and medical associations (David Suzuki Foundation, Greenpeace, Public Health Ottawa, The Sierra Club of Canada to name just few) backing the request for a moratorium, not to speak of millions of people who are represented through 13 councils so far who passed similar motions.
I invite you to participate, cooperate, network, set info sessions up
and forward this blog entry.
for a sustainable not a radiating future
Here are some interesting events. All of these listings are part of CCAMU’s Uranium News. If you’d like to subscribe, please send the editor your email address to firstname.lastname@example.org
EVENT UPDATE: 60th BIRTHDAY PARTY FOR BOB
Location: Perth’s The Myriad Theatre Old Perth Shoe Factory Theatre
Date: Saturday, March 1, 2008
There will be a film screening of the National Film Board’s “Uranium”, followed by birthday cake and time for discussion. Fund raiser for the First Nations’ legal funds and CCAMU.
1) PREMIER MCGUINTY WANTS TO HEAR FROM YOU
2) BOB LOVELACE LOCATED: where to send letters
3) “SHABOT STILL HERE” WEBSITE: www.shabotisstillhere.com
4) DONATIONS where to send
5) ONLINE PETITION
6) EVENT: Queen’s Kingston – date change – FREE PROFESSOR LOVELACE
7) EVENT: Peterborough – Mar 7th – WEIGHING THE RISKS OF NUCLEAR
8) EVENT: Ottawa – SONG CIRCLE AND ART SALE, National Arts Centre
9) EVENT: Eastern Ontario – CITIZENS’ INQUIRY info. – Register and submit now!
10) FRENCH TRANSLATER NEEDED for Citzens’ Inquiry written outreach.
11) CAMPUS NEWS: Jailing of professor concerns Queen’s community
12) OTTAWA CITIZEN: Retired chief stoic behind bars, Geoff Nixon
13) LETTER IN SUPPORT OF BOB from Lorraine Rekmans – -read out at rally
14) LINK TO LETTER from S. Reid & R Hillier – read out at Napanee rally
15) FACEBOOK URLs
16) CBC DOCUMENTARY link
17) CAIA STATEMENT OF SOLIDARITY with Ardoch Algonquin First Nation
18) UBCIC PRESS RELEASE: Union of BC Indian Chiefs Support Ardoch Algonquins’ Human Rights
19) LETTER TO EDITOR: H. Clifford, Lanark Highlands
20) LETTER TO EDITOR: Martin Honig & Cathy Wills, Lansdowne ON
21) LETTER TO EDITOR: Sulyn Cedar, Tay Valley Township ON
22) LETTER TO THE HONORABLE DALTON MCGUINTY
23) LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Jim Harding
24) VIRGINIA TOWN BANS TOXIC TRESPASS:
25) CANADIAN MINING PERSPECTIVES: Aboriginal unrest and responsibility
26) LINK TO URANIUM MINING MAP
27) QUOTE CORRECTION AND ANOTHER OFFERING:
1) PREMIER MCGUINTY WANTS TO HEAR FROM YOU:
It was suggested at the rally in Napanee on Saturday, that there is an action we can do each and every day that will create pressure on the Premier to act.
We can, each of us, telephone daily and ask one or more of the following,
“Have you freed Bob Lovelace yet?”
“Have you revoked Ontario’s Mining Act yet?”
“Have you announced a moratorium on mining uranium in eastern Ontario yet?”
“Have negotiations started yet?”
No? I’ll call back tomorrow to ask you again….”
Phone: 613-736-9573 to reach Premier McGuinty’s voice mail at his Ottawa constituency office.
Phone 416- 325-1941 to reach him at Queen’s Park
or email your questions to:
2) BOB HAS BEEN LOCATED: Please mail your letters of support to:
Central East Correctional Centre
541 Hwy 36
Lindsay, Ontario K9V 4S6
Telephone (705) 328-6000
3) SHABOT STILL HERE WEBSITE:
Please visit www.shabotisstillhere.com to find out more about the role of the Shabot Obaajiwan First Nation in the struggle to stop the proposed 30,000 acre uranium mine just north of Sharbot Lake:
FOR Shabot Obaajiwan’s legal and political costs please send an email to email@example.com for information.
TO the Ardoch Algonquin First Nation (AAFN)
Chris Reid “in Trust for Ardoch Algonquin First Nation (AAFN)” and sent to:
Christopher M. Reid
Barrister & Solicitor
154 Monarch Park Ave.
Toronto, ON M4J 4R6
TO The Community Coalition Against Mining Uranium (CCAMU) either for the public awareness campaign or specifically for the Citizens’ Inquiry into the Impacts of the Uranium Cycle – please indicate your preference.
Uranium Mining Moratorium Fund
83 Cockburn St.,
5) ONLINE PETITION
http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/aafn/ (if the link does not work please just copy and paste it into your browser). Please sign this petition and forward the link widely to all of your contacts in Ontario (unfortunately, signatures from non-residents of Ontario will not count).
6) EVENT at Queen’s: FREE PROFESSOR LOVELACE/Issue of Proposed Uranium Mine Public Forum
Note date change for this event to: Friday, March 7, 2008, 12:30pm – 2:00pm,
To become further informed, show your support and to take further action
Ellis Auditorium, University St., Kingston
7) EVENT REMINDER:
PETERBOROUGH: An Evening with Dr. Michael D. Mehta, Fri, Mar 7, 7:00 pm
WEIGHING THE RISKS OF NUCLEAR ENERGY- TOWARD A RENEWABLE ENERGY STRATEGY FOR ONTARIO
Peterborough Public Library, 345 Aylmer Street North
Admission: Free (donations accepted)
Brought to you by SAGE. For more information, email: goSAGE@yahoo.ca
Or visit www.goSAGE.net
8) EVENT REMINDER: OTTAWA: SONG CIRCLE AND ART SALE, featuring: Jenny Whiteley, Jennifer Noxon, and Christine Graves – 5 Women and Some Art, plus special guest
Sat. March 8th, $25.00, National Arts Centre, 4th Stage – Tickets available in advance at NAC Box Office, Ticketmaster.ca and Compact Music 613 233 8922
International Women’s Day Benefit – Proceeds to aid the anti-uranium fight in Eastern Ontario
9) EVENT REMINDER: EASTERN ONTARIO: Citizens’ inquiry into the Impacts of the Uranium CyclE
This is your invitation/request to participate (present, submit, endorse and/or help financially) with the Citizen’s Inquiry. Please see www.uraniumcitizensinquiry.com
Public Hearings take place in Sharbot Lake beginning April 1st;
Kingston beginning April 8th;
Peterborough, beginning April 15th; and in
Ottawa (dates and venues to be announced).
Pre-registration is required and must be received two weeks before the event is scheduled (ie. March 15th for Sharbot Lake; April 8th for Ottawa). Written/electronic submissions are being accepted until May 1st at firstname.lastname@example.org.
10) FRENCH TRANSLATER NEEDED for the Citizen’s Inquiry on the Impacts of the Uranium Cycle. Initially we need translation on the written material that is being sent to possible funders, panelists/chairs and individuals. Can you help? The material is ready and could be emailed for translation. More info on the Inquiry at: www.uraniumcitizensinquiry.com
11) CAMPUS NEWS: Jailing of professor concerns Queen’s community,
Friday February 22, 2008
On Feb. 15, Bob Lovelace, an adjunct professor who teaches in Queen’s Global Development Studies, was sentenced by Kingston Superior Court to six months in jail and fined $25,000. He was found to have defied an interim injunction issued in connection with his activities, and those of other members of the Shabot Obaadjiwan Nation, in protest of uranium prospecting on lands claimed by Frontenac Ventures Corp. north of Sharbot Lake.
This is a development of great concern to many in the Queen’s community,” says Principal Karen Hitchcock. “Freedom of expression is a fundamental principle cherished and protected by the University. It is my hope that in the weeks to come the academic resources of the university can be brought to bear in an informed discussion of the many ecological and social issues raised by these circumstances. “I fully appreciate the desire of individuals to speak out and to engage in activities expressive of their views. That persons are at all times free to do so remains a fundamental principle cherished and protected by the University.”
Dr. Hitchcock noted, as well, the high regard in which Mr. Lovelace is held by his colleagues and students at the university. “I have heard nothing but high praise for Mr. Lovelace individual whose commitment and professionalism as a teacher is widely acknowledged.”
12) OTTAWA CITIZEN: Retired chief stoic behind bars, Geoff Nixon
Published: Saturday, February 23, 2008
Retired chief stoic behind bars
After serving more than a week of a 6-month sentence, Robert Lovelace stands firm in his opposition to a proposed uranium mine in Sharbot Lake, Geoff Nixon writes.
NAPANEE – Robert Lovelace holds a dignified presence even when he is dressed in an orange, correctional service centre jumpsuit. He stands up straight, offers a smile and a nod from behind the glass of the visitor’s booth, and politely waits for a Citizen reporter to introduce himself before he begins to speak.
The retired Ardoch Algonquin First Nation chief has been in the custody of the Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services since Feb. 15.
Mr. Lovelace, 59, was found guilty of being in contempt of court and sentenced to six months in jail, because he defied a court order by staging protests at a potential uranium mining site near Clarendon Station during the fall and late summer of last year. “I’m not in jail for a crime,” he said in an interview from Napanee’s Quinte Detention Centre on Thursday.
An Oakville-based company, Frontenac Ventures Corporation, is exploring the 5,000-hectare site to see if mining for uranium will be possible. But the company has faced opposition from the Ardoch Algonquin and Shabot Obaadjiwan First Nations, as well as from area residents, every step of the way. Last summer, protesters from both aboriginal groups formed a “tent city” and blockade at the entrance to the site, preventing Frontenac Ventures from accessing the property. They were eventually ordered by Justice Douglas Cunningham to leave the site, and Frontenac Ventures began civil contempt proceedings against them last fall.
On Feb. 15, Mr. Lovelace, along with his Ardoch Algonquin co-chief, Paula Sherman, were each found guilty of being in contempt of court. Ms. Sherman, who is a single mother of three, was fined $15,000, but was not required to serve time in jail, after agreeing to obey the wishes of the court. Mr. Lovelace was fined $25,000 and was required to serve six months in jail.
They undertook a defence based on the premise that the Ontario Mining Act was unconstitutional, but it was thrown out in court. And because they were found in contempt by the judge, Mr. Lovelace has little recourse he can pursue in the courts.
“Because I was found in contempt, our counterclaim and our defence was thrown out of court,” he said. “Judge Cunningham won’t even hear them.”
Since being placed in custody, Mr. Lovelace said he has heard whispers that Frontenac Ventures brought drills to the Clarendon Station site, which sits about 12 kilometres north of Highway 7.
A drive to the Sharbot Lake-area site finds fewer protest signs lining homes along the side of Highway 509 than were there a few months back; but several remain in place. On Thursday afternoon, an OPP cruiser sits across the road from where the former tent city used to be. The two on-duty officers say they are “monitoring” the site, something OPP officers have been doing every day since the initial protest last summer. It is a convenient place: the Sharbot Lake police station, housed in a converted bungalow, is just east of Highway 509 on Highway 7. The on-duty officers can’t confirm if drills have been brought on site, but they said they don’t believe any have arrived yet.
Frontenac Ventures president and chief executive officer George White denies that drills have been brought to the site. “It hasn’t happened,” he said yesterday.
On the west side of the road where the tent city was in full swing last summer, the signs and temporary buildings are gone. The remnants were removed after the jailing of Mr. Lovelace, as part of the conditions the other protesters agreed to last week in order to avoid being jailed. A black and yellow sign on a wire fence at the entrance reminds passersby that the “area (is) under video surveillance.”
The facility where Mr. Lovelace is staying is surrounded by a barbed-wire fence. Inside the exterior fence, each yellow-sided building is individually surrounded by razor wire. Inmates are allowed visitors two out of three visiting days per week. In Mr. Lovelace’s case, he can see visitors on Thursdays, Saturdays and Mondays. As of Thursday afternoon, he had two visitors since he began living there: A colleague from Queen’s University, where he teaches aboriginal studies, and a visit from a Citizen reporter. [editors note: Bob has been moved and visiting schedules will likely have changed]
But there have been other forms of support: Amnesty International and members of the Green party have spoken out about his jailing, and a protest is scheduled to be held outside the Quinte Detention Centre today from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Friends have had to take over his classes at Queen’s University and Sir Sandford Fleming College because he won’t be finishing his teaching duties this semester.
Mr. Lovelace said he is “holding up,” but admits it has caused some hardship for his family and friends. “I guess the thing I miss most is — I miss my kids,” he said. “I miss my wife, I miss my friends, I miss my students.” He and his wife, Stephanie, talk on the phone each night, but the arrangement hasn’t been easy. She says her family is “shocked and really upset.” “I’m just trying to take care of the kids,” she said, when she answered her husband’s cellphone on Thursday. “It’s been really difficult.”
The couple have four children, ranging from six to 14. As Mr. Lovelace noted, the centre where he is staying lacks a visiting facility for families. In that respect, it lags behind the Dairy Queen that sits across the street, which is equipped with an indoor playground.
To pass his time, he is doing a lot of thinking and even a little reading. At present, he is working his way through two selections from the detention-centre library cart: The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism, by 19th-century German scholar Max Weber, and a Western novel by Louis L’Amour. “I’ve always wanted to read some L’Amour, so, it’s OK.”
The way Mr. Lovelace sees it, his conviction is the result of “the court being used as a political tool by the corporation,” and “archaic” legislation — the Ontario Mining Act — which leaves him fighting for the underdog, or the people living in the Sharbot Lake area. “It’s an act that basically gives advantages to a privileged class of people,” Mr. Lovelace said. Specifically, he says the act supports businesses such as Frontenac Ventures, or those with the “money to explore, spend and create an open-pit mine more than 30,000 acres in size.”
But he admits his decision to keep protesting after a court ordered him and his fellow protesters to stop was a conscious one. “I didn’t anticipate getting six months,” he said. “It was a choice that we made.”
But according to Mr. White, Justice Cunningham told Mr. Lovelace, his lawyer Chris Reid and Shabot Obaadjiwan representatives Paula Sherman and Chief Doreen Davis last fall that jail was a distinct possibility if they disobeyed the ruling. They had fair warning … and they agreed to disagree, and he is suffering the penalty,” Mr. White said yesterday.
There is a way out: The judge told him that if he agrees to recant his opposition to the drilling by Frontenac Ventures, and if he counsels his people not to form any protests at the site, he “can walk free.” “I’m not about to do that,” Mr. Lovelace said.
When asked what he thinks people would want to know about his story, Mr. Lovelace said the people in the Ottawa Valley need to think about the future of their land, to oppose any measures they see as being unfit for it and “to love it well.”
Hours after Mr. Lovelace spoke to the Citizen on Thursday, he was moved to the Central East Correctional Centre in Lindsay — for reasons a Quinte Detention Centre staff member described as “standard procedure.”
Mr. Lovelace’s lawyer, Chris Reid, said yesterday afternoon he had not been informed his client would be moving facilities. A message left for Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services spokesman Stuart McGetrick was not immediately returned.
13) LETTER IN SUPPORT OF BOB FROM LORRAINE REKMANS:
February 22, 2008
I wanted to write you a letter and at the same time express my thoughts and feelings about this whole matter with all those involved as well. I hope this letter finds you in the care and support of good spirits.
Thank you for your unwavering commitment to the principles of natural law and demonstrating leadership in these difficult times. Thank you also for demonstrating grace and strength in your peaceful approach.
When I heard about the rally at Napanee it brought to mind, Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee. In the 1970’s this book inspired many people to effect change in response to the aggressive policies of manifest destiny which encouraged nationalists to invoke any measure to justify Indian removal from lands for development. I cannot help but note the similarities of what happened in the west and what is happening today. It is not my intent to dramatize but merely to point out that the thinking hasn’t really changed all that much.
Many Canadians probably don’t realize that Aboriginal people were never allowed to vote in elections until after 1960. This exclusion and many others resulted in the fact that Canadian institutions reflect little of our values. Knowledge transfer between cultures isn’t something that our governments have encouraged. I understand why the courts have no concept of natural law. It is to our detriment that as a country we do not willingly seek out traditional ecological knowledge before deciding on questions of land development. I want to thank you for invoking the concepts of natural law in a very public way.
This may be bittersweet to hear while you are in jail, but take heart. I noticed that many of the famous Aboriginal rights cases in Canada are named after the Indians who spearheaded them. It struck me that, decisions, such as the ”Calder decision” was a court case led by Frank Calder, the late Chief of the Nisga’a against the province of BC. In this case the courts finally had to concede that Aboriginal rights and title existed. In days past, we named battles after brave warriors and today, we name court cases after brave leaders. Utilizing the courts and the support of public opinion is the only peaceful recourse we have available to us. This test of the system was much needed because it has shown me how our systems can fail and where they need to be improved. I have always been of the opinion that the concepts and principles in Canadian law are debilitating and limited in scope. The system itself does not accommodate broader principles but is confined only to the principle of protecting individual property. You are right to work towards effecting change in how we live together with our ecosystems and each other. Thank you for shining a light on the deficiencies of our society generally.
Curtis White has written that, “We should insist on recognition of the mystery, the miracle and the dignity of things from frogs to forests, simply because they are.” I am encouraged by his insight and wanted to share it with you.
You are right to fulfill your role as land steward, as that is your gift to humanity. You are right to invoke principles of natural law even to those who cannot fathom them. You have honoured the gifts the Creator has given you and in doing so, you have honoured humanity. I thank you for that. I am grateful and I pray that these blessings you have given to us all and will return to you and yours.
I believe that a spiritual rebirth is necessary because science and our systems are failing us. If we are to rediscover our original roles we must acknowledge there is more to the world than the systems that have been devised. Change is necessary if we are to realize sustainability and co-existence with Creation.
At times we are required to resist work that dehumanizes us and causes the destruction of our own world. This is the message I get from all that you and your supporters have done.
The principles of community-building are evident in the relationship that the Aboriginal peoples and the Settlers of Frontenac County have built. Each have come to realize that our issues are not isolated from each other and that we are brothers and sisters in the same ecosystems. We share space in Creation that is only borrowed from our Grandchildren and that is a powerful link.
The best chance we have of survival and sustainability together is through the spirit of Wisdom, Truth, Humility, Bravery, Honesty, Love, and Respect. These are all aspects of our emotional, spiritual, physical and intellectual development as Aboriginal people. These are the Seven Grandfather Teachings that guide us.
We cannot hold fast to, nor obey, archaic views and ideals anymore. This is a new time where sometimes we must resist submission to established authority. Especially when we recognize that it is established authority which in fact has led us in many cases to the very brink of destruction.
I have told you that my father died from sickness from working in the uranium mines at Elliot Lake. There are established institutions and authorities that knew he would get cancer from mining uranium. These institutions devised and planned a schedule of cash payouts for his death. That is exactly the type of established authority that is lacking in spirit. Many miners died from mining uranium. Their humanity was lost in the bureaucracy of calculating schedules for compensable work related deaths.
Regulators licensed and issued permits for the dumping of contaminated effluent into watersheds within uranium mining sites. The concepts were developed around the ALARA principle. (as low as reasonably achievable.) There was no consideration for long term continuous dumping, there was periodic sampling at fixed points in time, which did not allow for the consideration of cumulative impacts on the watershed. This is the reality. It is the scientific reality of those systems that govern uranium mining that are terribly inconsistent with the principles of natural law.
I have experienced the impacts resultant from mining uranium in the Serpent River Watershed. It is an event I pray will never be repeated in any part of the world. The loss of human life and of our watershed is a sacrifice without return. Thank you for your peaceful resistance and your dignified restraint.
Yours in creation,
Lorraine Rekmans, Anishnabe K’we
Green Party Aboriginal Affairs Critic
14) LINK TO LETTER IN SUPPORT FROM S. REID & R. HILLIER: read out at rally:
16) FACEBOOK URL, thanks to the readers who supplied urls. As of yesterday, Bob had over 3,153 friends.
16) CBC DOCUMENTARY, go to:
Scroll to the date boxes and select Feb 18, 17:00 hrs. When your media player pops up, move the time along 15 minutes and the documentary will start.
CFRC aired a 45 minute documentary about the court proceedings and CCAMU’s efforts on Monday, Feb. 18th. Hear Bob Lovelace, Christopher Reid, Donna Dillman and other supporters express their opinions about the court case and the circumstances that precipitated it. It is also an opportunity to hear Neal Smitheman’s (Frontenac Ventures’ lawyer) take on things “off the record”.
17) CAIA STATEMENT OF SOLIDARITY with Ardoch Algonquin First Nation
February 20, 2008 – As a grassroots Palestine-solidarity organization committed to the rights of indigenous peoples worldwide, the Coalition Against Israeli Apartheid (CAIA) unreservedly condemns the recent decision by judge Douglas Cunningham to sentence AAFN spokesperson Robert Lovelace and AAFN co-chief Paula Sherman to six-month terms in jail. CAIA further condemns the onerous $25,000 and $15,000 fines respectively imposed on the two community activists and the additional $10,000 fine imposed on the AAFN community. CAIA notes that as an ‘unrecognized’ First Nations community, the AAFN receives no funding from government sources and that the imposition of such fines can only be read as an attempt by the courts to extinguish the financial viability of this community.
The highly politicized nature of these sentences further underscores the unjustified nature of the on-going criminalization of indigenous people’s basic rights to self-determination and the free use of their lands and resources. Just as Israel refuses to fulfill its obligations under international law with respect to the basic rights of the Palestinian people (including the incarceration of over 10,000 Palestinian political prisoners), the Canadian government has decisively rejected its obligations under the ‘UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples’ and continues to incarcerate indigenous leaders who defend the basic rights of their peoples to self-determination. Such a right includes the right of indigenous peoples to: “freely determine their political status and freely pursue their economic, social and cultural development” (Article 3, UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples).
Furthermore, CAIA strongly denounces Frontenac Ventures Corp. (FVC) rapacious attitude in this matter and its expropriation (without negotiations) of 30,000 acres of AAFN and Shabot Obaadjiwan First Nation (SOFN) lands for the purposes of what it describes as an “aggressive exploration and development program” designed to exploit regional uranium deposits. CAIA notes that FVC’s land-grab is being made on the basis of the Ontario’s outdated Mining Act, which was established in the late-19th century (at the height of settler-colonial expansionism on Turtle Island). As community leaders continue to argue, the provisions of the Mining Act directly violate repeated findings of the Supreme Court of Canada with respect to First Nations treaty-rights and land-claims in similar instances. Furthermore, as the FVC itself admits, the corporation’s operations “enclose a large area of very high radioactivity” meaning that FVC is knowingly engaging in a process that risks exposing local populations to the documented dangers of uranium mining.
It is for these reasons that CAIA calls for the immediate reversal of the politically motivated sentences imposed on community leaders Bob Lovelace and Paula Sherman. CAIA is particularly concerned with the repeated failure of Ontario’s provincial-Liberal and Canada’s federal-Conservative governments to seriously deal with land-claims in this province.
We call on all friends and allies to offer financial support to the on-going struggle of the AAFN to reclaim their lands and resist FVC’s destructive behavior targeting Turtle Island. The AAFN is asking supporters to please send donations, made out to: “Chris Reid, in trust for the Ardoch Algonquin First Nation” at the address below:
Christopher M. Reid
Barrister & Solicitor
154 Monarch Park Ave.
Toronto, ON M4J 4R6
To The Community Coalition Against Mining Uranium (CCAMU), whose mandate is raising public awareness on the uranium issuing and achieving a moratorium. Please make cheques out to: “Uranium Mining Moratorium Fund” and mail to:
83 Cockburn St.
Posted by Peterborough Coalition for Palestinian Solidarity at 3:42 PM
18) UBCIC PRESS RELEASE: Union of BC Indian Chiefs Support Ardoch Algonquins’ Human Rights
February 22, 2008
Union of BC Indian Chiefs’ (UBCIC) President, Grand Chief Stewart Phillip challenges the Ontario Government to honorably negotiate with the Ardoch Algonquin First Nation (AAFN) rather than use the courts to harshly punish and intimidate those protecting their territory.
“It is a brutish and troubling precedent when companies use the courts to jail community members for protecting not only their Aboriginal Title and Rights but their basic human rights,” said Grand Chief Phillip. “Furthermore, when a provincial government chooses litigation rather than good-faith negotiations, it sends a clear message that corporate
greed trumps human rights.”
AAFN negotiator Robert Lovelace was sentenced six months in jail and fined $25,000 for his participation in an ongoing peaceful protest over uranium exploration on Algonquin traditional territory in Eastern Ontario. Co-chief Paula Sherman was fined $15,000.00 and the Ardoch First Nation community was fined $20,000.00.
International human rights treaties recognize that all peoples have the right to maintain their unique cultures and traditions, exercise control over their own lives, and to use and benefit from the lands and resources of their territories. This is not the case in Canada as
evident in the Government of Canada’s stance against the United Nations’ Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. While 143 nation-states of the UN General Assembly adopted the Declaration in September 2007, Canada was one of four nation-states who actively campaigned and voted in opposition to the Declaration.
“The use of the court to persecute Indigenous Peoples for defending who they are and protecting their territory is deeply disturbing,” said Phillip. “Governments and corporations must be held to account. If the court cannot be relied upon than as Indigenous Peoples we must take our concerns to the International stage.”
19) LETTER TO EDITOR, The Kingston Whig-Standard
ALGONQUIN LEADER JAILED
I hope this case generates the discussion it deserves. Given the community’s opposition to the plaintiff’s activity; that our most civic minded citizens supported the peaceful demonstrations; that the surrounding Municipalities passed resolutions urging a moratorium on uranium exploration, the severe judgement was unexpected. It was justified by the belief that flaunting the rule of law brings disrespect for courts and requires a strong message to the community.
Is it true that people of conscience using the long and noble tradition of non-violent civil disobedience undermine respect for the law or do they serve to focus the spotlight on bad laws.
Who today respects the racist laws enacted by democratically elected officials forcing people of colour to the back of the bus, denying them access to the restaurants, hotels or public water fountains reserved for white folk? Instead the name of Martin Luther King (often imprisoned) is revered around the world as is the name of Mahatma Gandhi.
Both claimed inspiration from Henry David Thoreau who a century and a half ago wrote a short treatise entitled Civic Disobedience. Thoreau was jailed for refusal to pay a tax in protest against his government’s immoral war against Mexico and for upholding laws of slavery.
Courts appear to be amoral. A complainant may act out of greed and run roughshod over the wishes of the community but as long as they operate within the confines of the law their behavior is irrelevant to the court. It matters not if the law is a good, bad, just, or unjust law.
Thoreau was cognizant of the argument that a good citizen seeks to change a law not disobey it. His counter argument relates to cases where the governed would not have consented to a law or decision if they had been asked. Surely we would say no to the question: “Do you want prospectors coming on private property without permission or able to trump other highly touted government programs such as the Managed Forest Program or Conservation programs designed to protect wildlife and sensitive ecosystems, or to ignore aboriginal land claims?”
The McGinty government has done some good things but it is a fact that so far they have turned a deaf ear to the petitions and pleadings of those who see first hand the injustice of the outdated Mining Act. The damage is being done now not four years hence.
The public is moved by cases like the 72 year great grandmother from B.C choosing a prison term for Contempt of Court rather than giving up efforts to save a “sacred grove” or by a young daughter of a preacher refusing for over two years to come down from an ancient redwood tree to save it from being cut down, and by many others acting in the spirit of Martin Luther King. These acts of civil disobedience has often awakened a complacent public to demand an end to bad laws and practices.
Thoreau strikes to the heart of the debate with the question: “Must the citizen, even for a moment or in the least degree resign his conscience to the legislator?” He answers his own question: “It is not desirable to cultivate a respect for the law so much as for the right!”
Why are those who commit acts of peaceful, non-violent civil disobedience in response to conscience punished to the full extent of the law while a rapist, armed robber, or murderer may reasonably expect to be treated with leniency? Perhaps Thoreau gives the best answer. The State has nothing to fear from those who commit crime motivated by greed, lust, or other vile instincts which only invoke public revulsion not support. However a government intent on maintaining the status quo and protecting interests groups to whom they are beholden may well fear a person(s) of integrity and of conscience whose civil disobedience might rally the community to demand action by the government to take corrective action over the injustices of a given law.
It is said that the renown philosopher, Emerson yelled:: “Henry what in the world are you doing there in jail?” Thoreau replied: “Mr Emerson, what in the world are you doing out there?”
Thoreau believed that just persons could effectively, without bloodshed, bring about a better society. “If the alternative is to keep all just men in prison or give up war and slavery, the State will not hesitate which to choose..” He added that when a just person is in prison over an unjust law then the place of a just person is beside him.
Surely it would have been a simple matter for the government to follow community advice and place a moratorium on this matter until solutions are found. Surely a just but simple change to the Mining Act requiring prospectors to have the consent of the property owners before entering their lands would not have been that offensive to the powerful Mining lobby.
By so acting, law abiding citizens, who in good faith entered into partnership with the government’s Forest Management Program, would not have had their dreams and hopes shattered nor driven into desperation seeing no other option but civil disobedience.
I am sure that Thoreau would have been horrified by the untenable and heart-breaking situation the co-defendant found herself in being forced to choose between having her children taken from her or following her conscience. However one wonders how many people on a blockade or joining the grandmother Donna Dillman on a hunger strike would it take to get the government to change an unjust law.
Who are the true friends of the State? Surely it is principled people of conscience who in the spirit of Thoreau, King, and Gandhi are willing to sacrifice themselves for a higher law!.
H. Clifford, Lanark Highlands
20) LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Algonquin leader is a political prisoner
The Kingston Whig Standard
Re: the recent convictions of Robert Lovelace and Paula Sherman for contempt of court (“Algonquin leader fined, jailed six months,” Feb. 16).
The judge’s decision in this case should upset many people. All landowners – who often don’t own the mineral rights beneath their property – should be upset because this decision allows prospectors to continue waltzing onto private property, staking a claim and potentially opening a mine, without the landowner’s permission.
All native Canadians should be upset about the continuing disregard the Ontario government shows for the land-claims process.
All residents of the Mississippi watershed and beyond should be upset about the prospect of radioactive tailings from uranium mining polluting their environment forever.
All Ontarians should be upset over the inadequacy and outdatedness of the Mining Act.
All Canadians should be upset over the misguided renewal of interest in nuclear power as a solution to our energy needs.
All humans should be upset over the prospect of dealing with waste from nuclear reactors, some of which is dangerous for hundreds of thousands of years.
How does this court decision reflect the broader social good? Why is Robert Lovelace in jail? He hasn’t done anything violent. When people go to jail for their beliefs in other countries, we call them political prisoners. Now we’ve got one in jail in Napanee.
If you are worried about landowners’ rights, native rights, radioactive waste, cancer, the integrity of the justice system or human rights, you should be worried about Robert Lovelace and Paula Sherman.
Martin Honig & Cathy Wills, Lansdowne ON
21) LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Courts have a colonialist bias
Ontario’s citizens care about healthy communities. Therefore, it’s of the utmost importance to protect that which we love and act now to stop uranium mining in our region. Our Algonquin neighbours have stepped up to the plate, and one man in particular is suffering the consequences of taking a strong stand against this environmentally destructive industry.
Robert Lovelace is a political prisoner.
I’m angry and sad that the justice system failed last week at the Frontenac County Court House regarding the contempt of court charges against Lovelace for interfering with the business of uranium mining.
If there’s to be hope for dealing fairly with First Nations issues, we must address racism in our legal system. Lovelace spoke about Canadian history and why he has an obligation to stop uranium mining in Algonquin territory on unceded Crown land. He presented a clear case in support of the defendants’ position against Frontenac Ventures Corporation.
Justice Douglas Cunningham failed to understand the Ardoch Algonquins’ constitutional rights and Ontario and Canada’s duty to consult with them regarding the use of Crown land. His decision to incarcerate Lovelace and impose a heavy fine on him reflects the colonialist bias of the courts. I’m ashamed of our legal system.
What do we do now? Join us in protest this Saturday at 11 a.m. at the Quinte Detention Centre, where Lovelace is a prisoner. Check www. ccamu.ca for actions and events, and help us stand strong against uranium mining.
Sulyn Cedar, Tay Valley Township ON
22) HONORABLE DALTON MCGUINTY, PREMIER OF ONTARIO
Mme. Madeleine Meilleur, Ottawa-Vanier MPP
Mr. Mauril Bélanger, Ottawa-Vanier MP
Community Coalition Against Mining Uranium (CCAMU)
Ms. Doreen Davis, Chief of the Shabot-Obaadjiwan Algonquin Nation
Mr. Robert Lovelace, co-Chief of the Ardoch Algonquin Nation
Ms. Paula Sherman, co-Chief of the Ardoch Algonquin Nation
Dear Premier McGuinty,
I am writing to express my deep distress in regards to the recent imposition of a jail sentence to Mr. Robert Lovelace and to Ms. Paula Sherman, co-Chiefs of the Ardoch Algonquin Nation (see “Algonquin chief to serve jail term”, Ottawa Citizen, February 15, 2008).
To my understanding, the Ardoch Algonquin Nation, along with the Shabot-Obaadjiwan Algonquin Nation, have been resisting the development of a uranium mine on lands that they claim are part of their ancestral territories. I also understand that the Algonquin believe that the British crown had recognized their sovereignty over the lands in question more than a century ago. I furthermore understand that the Algonquin want the government of Ontario to formally recognize their sovereignty over these lands.
The Ardoch and Shabot-Obaadjiwan Nations are entirely justified in resisting the development of a uranium mine on lands that they believe are rightfully theirs. Why? Because the development of such a mine will certainly result in a very significant environmental perturbation of the lands in question. The Algonquin have the natural right to claim sovereignty over the lands as they are now, and not as they will be after a uranium mine is developed upon them. Therefore, it is entirely unjust that the co-Chiefs of the Ardoch Nation have been sentenced to jail for resisting the development of such a mine.
The imposition of these jail sentences is all the more backward in light of the fact that Ontario laws regulating mining and mineral exploration have been criticised by a number of parties within the province. Aboriginal and non-aboriginal land owners alike have
protested that these laws favour the interests of mining and mineral exploration companies at the expense of the rights of land owners. In addition, the Environmental Commissioner of the province of Ontario, in his 2006-2007 annual report, has indicated that Ontario’s mining laws are outdated and favour the interests of mining and mineral exploration companies at the expense of environmental protection.
Mr. McGuinty, it seems to me that you find yourself today before two important opportunities. Primo, you have the opportunity to modernize Ontario’s mining laws, ensuring that the rights of land owners and the imperative of environmental protection are no longer subordinated to the narrow interests of mining and mineral exploration companies. Segundo, you have the opportunity to construct a new relationship between the government of Ontario and the province’s Algonquin Nations, one that is based on mutual respect and that recognises their natural right to sovereignty over their ancestral lands. In making good use of these opportunities, you will be constructing a legacy, as Premier of Ontario, that all Ontarians will benefit from. I hope you will choose to do so.
Thank you for your attention.
23) LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Misplaced Emotion on Nuclear Controversy,
Feb. 19, 2007
In his Dec. 03, 2007 letter to the Peace River Record Gazette, Canadian Nuclear Association (CNA) spokesman Matthew Foster takes issue with “the facts” in my Nov. 21st letter. Various qualities of facts linked to differing interests and worldviews will come out in this heated controversy, but there’s no need for Foster to accuse me of distortion or scaremongering. So let’s look, reasonably, at his critique and then the reader can decide what is erroneous.
Nuclear safety: He claims there aren’t any internal AECL documents that suggest the CANDU is not safer than other designs. I assume the Atomic Energy Control Board (AECB), precursor to the CNSC (in the news re the Chalk River isotope fiasco), gets to see such internal reports. Its October 16, 1989 submission to the Treasury Board, which was leaked and reported in the May 28, 1990 Globe and Mail, says “Candu plants cannot be said to be either more or less safe than other types”.
Nuclear Subsidies: Foster claims my facts are “fictitious”. He is arguing with the Economic Council of Canada, which by the late 1980s estimated such subsidies to be $19 billion. Toronto’s Energy Probe calculated the real cost, including cost of debt, to be $75 billion by 2006. Subsidies come in many forms, including the government backing nuclear industry liability. Both Ontario Hydro and New Brunswick Power have said that “striking down the Nuclear Liability Act would put at risk the continued use of nuclear energy…”
Costs of Darlington: He claims my figures are “antinuclear propaganda.” My source was the Report on Business (Globe and Mail, July 13, 1991), which said, “…cost escalation, from 1984 estimates of $2.5 billion to the current and still-rising actual cost of $13.4 billion, has created a financial albatross.”
Fuel for AECL’s ACR: Foster claims I am “wrong” that the Advanced Candu Reactor (ARC) proposed for Alberta can use spent fuel from U.S. Light Water Reactors (LWR). Instead he says it will use slightly enriched uranium (SEU). Actually it can use both. AECL’s Technical Summary for the ARC-1000 says it is “ideally suited to burn other fuels such as mixed oxides (MOX) and thorium”. MOX is a code work for a blend of uranium and plutonium. Another AECL paper (Jeremy Whitlock) says the new Candu design will provide “unique synergy with LWR technology.” (It seems the promotional work of the CNA doesn’t require studying the documents of its client the AECL.)
Spent Fuel-Decommissioning Costs: He claims I am “foolish” about these costs burdening future generations, because “all such costs” are already included in the price of today’s nuclear-generated electricity. The Economist among many sources has documented that these costs are the most unaccounted for by the industry (e.g. see Nov. 1991). The decommissioning of the Yankee Power reactor in Massachusetts was to cost $120 million but ended up costing $450 million. (See Caldicott, 2006). When the UK government recently announced it wanted 10 more nuclear plants built it said it would consider further tax advantages to help with decommissioning costs to make nuclear more attractive to investors.
Nuclear Wastes in AB/SK: Foster claims that I am “scaremongering” about an international nuclear waste facility in Canada. Since 1991 both the AECL and Cameco have advocated Northern Saskatchewan taking back spent fuel from uranium-importing countries. This is similar to the plan advocated by the Bush administration last year (Global Nuclear Energy Partnership, or GNEP), endorsed by the now-defeated Howard government in Australia, and by our own Harper minority government. The Harper-supported, spent-fuel using ACR in Northern Alberta would certainly qualify as a Trojan horse for such a plan. Furthermore, studying the Nuclear Waste Management Organization (NWMO) won’t tell anything about a possible location of a nuclear waste facility, as it is on record as leaving spent fuel at reactor sites until it gets a plan. Its plan is called “adaptive phased management”, which really means “still no plan”.
Childhood Leukemia: He is “outraged” about my claim that childhood leukemia is linked to nuclear facilities. I think he should be outraged about the leukemia. Denial of cancer risks from the nuclear industry is starting to mimic the tobacco industry. (Radon gas, by the way, is the second main cause of lung cancer). Ongoing studies in England, France and Germany have all found greater than expected leukemia rates among children living near nuclear facilities, and a summary study that looks at 17 such studies concludes that such children 9 and under are 24% more likely to die of leukemia. A summary of this is in the August 13, 2007 issue of Macleans.
UN Studies After Chernobyl: Foster stands behind UN reports claiming no discernable cancer resulting from Chernobyl. With the 1959 agreement to create the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the UN agreed not to allow its health agencies, like the WHO, to undertake research on radiation effects without consultation with the pro-nuclear IAEA. Independent research shows findings opposite to the UN’s, which are said to “grossly underestimate” risk factors. (See Nussbaum in Journal of Occupation and Environmental Health, No 13:2007). Research is this area is no different than other fields where the impact of corporate and bureaucratic funding and other influences must be carefully scrutinized. The nuclear establishment has a long-history of manipulating and suppressing public health research.
Nuclear Weapons: Foster says my linking the commercial and military sectors of the nuclear industry is “contemptible.” Again, his emotion is misplaced, as it is the weapons of mass destruction that are contemptible. I am not saying anything that can’t be found in mainstream bodies. The Oct. 1993 Joint Federal Provincial Panel on uranium mining in SK concluded: “There is no process whereby exported Canadian uranium can be separated from uranium derived from other sources. Therefore no proven method exists for preventing incorporation of Canadian uranium into military applications…” (p. 26-27). The Brundtland Commission, which coined the term “sustainable development”, concluded the same thing.
Greenhouse Gases: Foster claims I am “neglectful” in not mentioning that the “life cycle” emissions of nuclear are “trivial.” He prefers research done by the Central Research Institute of the Electric Power Industry (CRIEPI), which was founded in 1951 by the Japanese electric utilities. I prefer sources that are independent of the nuclear/electric industry. A 2005 study by the Netherlands-based Ceedata Consultancy concludes that if all energy costs are accounted for it takes a nuclear plant using uranium from high-grade ore (above 1%) 9 years to pay off its fossil-fuel energy debt. As the grade of uranium lowers, as it will within decades, the time-span needed to create net energy greatly lengthens.
To address the challenges of climate change we clearly have to make a full conversion to sustainable, renewable energy and not get side tracked by the dangerous, nuclear non-option. We will also have to deepen our democracy by creating new means of public participation and dialogue. Part of this involves breaking from the pervasive influences of nuclear corporations and the state on what we consider to be factual and real. In charging those of us not accepting nuclear promotions as fostering “errors of fact and outright distortions” the CNA is acting like it’s a Nuclear Inquisition.
Jim Harding, Ph.D.,
author of Canada’s Deadly Secret: Saskatchewan Uranium and the Global Nuclear System (Fernwood, 2007).
24) VIRGINIA TOWN BANS TOXIC TRESPASS:
On February 7, 2008, the Halifax Town Council unanimously approved an ordinance banning “chemical and radioactive bodily trespass.” The action, prompted by concerns over a proposed uranium mine, prohibits corporations from interfering with the civil rights of the residents — including their right to self-government. The ordinance was drafted by the nonprofit Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund. According to CELDF Projects Director Ben Price, Halifax residents “have determined that they do not consent to be irradiated, nor to be trespassed upon, by toxic substances that would be released by Virginia Uranium, Inc., or any other state-chartered corporation.” Halifax is the tenth U.S. municipality to refuse to recognize corporate “rights” that are often used to exploit human and natural communities. These ordinances are directed at “chartered immunities” designed to “deny citizens’ rights, impose harm, and refuse local self-determination.” “This is an historic vote,” said Halifax Town Councilmember Jack Dunavant, “It’s time to invoke the Constitution and acknowledge the power of the people to protect our own destiny and end this era of corporate greed and pollution.”
25) CANADIAN MINING PERSPECTIVES: Aboriginal unrest and responsibility
(go to web link to make comment on article below)
More and more, Canada’s aboriginal communities are taking an active interest in the country’s mineral industries. They protest exploration on lands they believe are theirs. They condemn the environmental record of mining.
Sometimes it is easy for industry insiders to think that protest stems from misinformation. After all we’ve been successfully mining everything from antimony to zinc in this country for well over 100 years. But the road ahead is going to be bumpy.
Two years ago PLATINEX INC. ran afoul of the KITCHENUHMAYHOOSIB INNINUWYG (KI) when it announced plans to drill for PGE deposits near Big Trout Lake in northern Ontario. The KI claim the land as part of their traditional hunting grounds. Allegations and lawsuits have flown. The matter has been before the courts more than once. Finally, late last year the Ontario Superior Court sided with Platinex, giving the company permission to resume drilling as long as the two sides continue to talk and consult.
We in the mineral industry know that exploration trenching, sampling and drilling disturbs relatively little surface area and the effects can be mitigated. But it matters to the KI band what happens to this remote corner of the province.
An hour west of Ottawa, the Ardoch Algonquin and Sharbot Obaadjiwan First Nations communities are protesting uranium exploration near Sharbot Lake. The area is cottage country, rural and scenic, but FRONTENAC VENTURES wants to test for potential deposits of a much-sought-after fuel metal. Talks between the two sides aimed at ending a blockade of the area collapsed. Two native leaders have been fined for their activities and one of them is to be jailed for six months.
The act of exploration does not automatically mean a uranium mine will be developed. In fact, the chances of finding a minable deposit are very slim, indeed. The protestors need to be reminded of this, and of the permitting process that gives them many opportunities to put the brakes on a new mine project.
ENVIRONMENTAL DEFENCE has produced a study that included First Nations peoples living downstream from Alberta’s oil sands developments, charging that the federal government is “missing in action” when it comes to the toxic legacy of those projects. The native community says it fears its drinking water supply has been contaminated resulting in abnormal disease rates in their communities. Added to that are large amounts of airborne pollutants.
Canada’s oil sands producers are aware of their environmental responsibilities. They acknowledge the high water usage in their processes, and they are making strides to reduce it. They are also spending billions to cut hazardous airborne emissions. But their efforts take time.
I believe Canada’s aboriginal peoples have a role to play in the mineral industry. Their role has already begun as the “environmental conscience” of the industry. No one knows the land and water better than people who have been sustained by it for thousands of years.
Somewhere between preserving the wilderness as it was and exploiting it for modern conveniences, there is a compromise. That compromise will include cleaner technologies, better remediation, education and skilled jobs for Canadians regardless of their ethnicity. Compromise is not reached by confrontation.
26) LINK TO URANIUM MINING MAP
scroll to bottom for map of where uranium is, or has been mined in Canada
27) QUOTE CORRECTION AND ANOTHER OFFERING:
Please note that in the last UNews, I incorrectly attributed the following quote to another Thomas. He of light bulb fame. With apologies to Mr. Jefferson, in light of the fact that my brain was fried, I’m grateful that that was the worst of my gaffes.
“If a law is unjust, a man is not only right to disobey it, he is obligated to do so.”
Natural law was described by Cicero (126-43 B.C.) as non scripta sed nata (“not written, but born”). This corresponds to the Amerindian view that “our law is given to us, not made by us.” As medieval canonists saw it, natural law was the forerunner of human rights, pre-dating the formation of states. According to its principles, rights of discovery applied only to unoccupied lands and could not be used to justify seizure of lands already in use. – Olive P. Dickason