this SAT Rally in Napanee to protest incarceration of Bob Lovelace

1) RALLY IN SUPPORT OF BOB LOVELACE: Napanee, this Sat., 11 a.m.
IAN TAMBLYN – TOMORROW: Feb 20th, National Archives, 7 p.m.
FATHEAD – This Friday, Feb 22nd, McDonald’s Corners, 7:30 p.m.


What: Rally in Napanee

When: Saturday, February 23 from 11 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.
Speakers at approx. Noon

Where: Quinte Regional Detention Centre
89 Richmond Street, Napanee

Why: To show support and gratitude to Bob and to show our determination to carry on with new vigour.

Directions: Hwy 401, exit at Hwy 41 (#579), turn left at the T, then left at next
stoplight, which is Richmond.

While we will have extra, people are encouraged to bring hand-made signs that show your concern (but are in good taste). People are encouraged to dress in colourful ways.

If you can’t be there in person, show your support by sending a note or a letter to help keep Bob’s spirits up and show him how much you appreciate his stand on our behalf.

Keep in mind the letters are monitored. Make sure you put a return address on the envelope or the letter will most likely go in the garbage. Address your letter to:

Robert Lovelace
C/O Quinte Detention Centre
81 Richmond Boulevard, Napanee, ON K7R 3S3


February 19, 2008

Jailing Aboriginal Leaders to Promote Uranium Mining in Ontario

In a travesty of justice, AAFN Spokesperson Robert Lovelace was sentenced in the Ontario Superior Court of Justice in Kingston to 6 months incarceration and crippling fines amounting to $25,000 for upholding Algonquin law within our homeland. An additional sanction of $2,000 per day will be imposed for every day that Bob continues to obey our law rather than the court order. In addition, our community was fined $10,000 and Chief Paula Sherman $15,000, and our statement of defense was struck out, which means that we are forbidden from challenging the constitutional validity of Ontario’s Mining Act. The court made it clear that First Nations’ laws do not exist in Canada legal system and anyone who tries to follow First Nations law will be severely punished.

Shouts of “shame!” erupted in the courtroom as the sentences were read by the judge and Robert was taken into custody. Many were aghast at the harshness of the sentencing imposed for participation in a peaceful protest against uranium exploration which was approved by the province of Ontario without any consultation with our community.

Chief Paula Sherman said: “No consideration was given to the circumstances that led to our actions. The testimony given under oath by Robert Lovelace outlined Algonquin Law and the corresponding responsibilities of Algonquin people with respect to human activity in our territory. It was tossed aside by the judge and deemed to be of no relevance. The message delivered clearly through this court decision is one of domination and oppression; the law will enforce one set of values with respect to human relationships with the land in Ontario and there is no room for Algonquin laws or values.”

Ontario and Canada portray themselves as shining examples of democracy and human rights for the world to emulate, all the while creating laws, policies, and value systems that oppress and deny Aboriginal peoples’ human right to life as distinct people. Robert testified that Algonquin identity is tied to the relationships that we maintain with the land.

Lovelace is now in jail in Quinte Correctional facility in Napanee. Chief Sherman said: “He is a political prisoner of the Government of Ontario and Ardoch Algonquin First Nation places blame for his incarceration on Premier Dalton McGuinty and the Minister of Aboriginal Affairs, Michael Bryant. We have repeatedly asked for consultations on the mineral claims on our lands within the larger Algonquin homeland. We have offered Ontario a variety of options to enable consultation. Every option was rejected out of hand. Ontario’s position has been consistent: Drilling on our land must occur. Our position has equally been consistent: Meaningful consultation must occur before any of our land is damaged or alienated to mining companies.”


February 18, 2008

Canada: Algonquin leader faces jail time while Ontario government ignores the law

Amnesty International expressed its concern today over the sentencing of Ardoch Algonquin First Nation negotiator Bob Lovelace to six months in jail and a fine of $25,000 for his role in a protest over uranium exploration on disputed land in eastern Ontario.

The Ontario government has licensed Frontenac Ventures to carry out exploratory drilling on land that is part of a 25-year-old Algonquin land claim. The Ardoch Algonquin and Shabot Obaadjiwan First Nations have said that they were not even notified about the plans before trees were cut and blasting began.

On June 29, 2007, members of the Ardoch Algonquin and Shabot Obaadjiwan First Nations moved to block Frontenac’s access to the site. The occupation ended after the province entered into talks about possible consultation processes, but these talks broke down earlier this month and the blockade was resumed.

On February 15, Lovelace and Ardoch co-chief Paula Sherman were convicted of contempt of court for failing to obey two injunctions against the occupation. While Sherman was able to reach an agreement to avoid jail time if she stays away from the protest, Lovelace has said he cannot make the same commitment.

A number of Algonquin supporters are also expected to be brought to trial in March accused of violating the same injunctions.

“The situation defies justice,” says Craig Benjamin, Amnesty International Canada’s Campaigner for the Human Rights of Indigenous Peoples. “Indigenous leaders and their supporters are facing stiff punishments for doing what they feel is necessary to protect rights that may one day be upheld in court or in the land claims process. Meanwhile the provincial government is ignoring its own legal obligations without any accountability.”

Canadian courts have clearly established that whenever the rights of Indigenous peoples may be affected, governments have a legal duty to ensure that there must always be meaningful consultation to identify and accommodate Indigenous concerns. Depending on the potential impacts, courts have found that this legal duty may include other more stringent measures “to avoid irreparable harm”, including in some cases agreeing to proceed only with the consent of the affected peoples.

Shortly before the blockade began last summer, a high level provincial inquiry into Indigenous land rights disputes in Ontario concluded that “the single biggest source of frustration, distrust, and ill- feeling among Aboriginal people in Ontario is our failure to deal in a just and expeditious way with breaches of treaty and other legal obligations to First Nations.” The Ipperwash Inquiry report went on to recommend that provincial laws, policies and practices must be reformed to ensure that they are consistent with the government’s legal obligations toward Indigenous peoples, including the duty of consultation, accommodation and consent.

The fact that provincial mining laws and policies are out of step with the constitutional duty of meaningful consultation is acknowledged in a January 2007 discussion paper issued by the Ministry of Northern Development and Mines. Despite this, the province continues to allow companies to stake claims and initiate exploration with little or no consideration of Indigenous interests.

In addition to the conflict over uranium mining in eastern Ontario, leaders from the Kitchenuhmaykoosib First Nation in northern Ontario are awaiting sentencing for contempt of court after continuing to oppose drilling activities in the face of an injunction. In the initial ruling in that case, the court sharply criticized the Ontario government for not having “heard or comprehended” repeated court affirmation of the duty of meaningful consultation and accommodation.

Amnesty International is calling on the province to work with Indigenous peoples to undertake immediate reform of provincial laws and policies that fail to respect and uphold the duty of meaningful consultation, accommodation and consent.

The province must also take urgent measures to address conflicts arising from its past failures to uphold that duty including by:

· committing to a negotiated resolution of the dispute;
· entering those negotiations in good faith without prejudging or limiting in advance the form and extent of accommodation required to respect and protect the rights of the Algonquin people; and
· taking measures in collaboration with the Algonquin people to ensure that their rights are not harmed while such negotiations are under way.
In the event of an appeal, Amnesty International urges the province to ensure the court is made fully aware of the underlying rights issues at stake, including the province’s constitutional duty of consultation, accommodation and consent.

For more information:
Craig Benjamin
Campaigner for the Human Rights of Indigenous Peoples

Amnesty International Canada
312 Laurier Ave. East,
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada K1N 1H9
1.613.744.7667 (ext. 235)


Aboriginal Leader’s Sentence Unwarranted: Green Party

Kingston – February 19, 2008 – Recent Lanark-Frontenac-Lennox-Addington GPO candidate, Rolly Montpellier, today expressed extreme disappointment over the sentencing of Ardoch Algonquin First Nation negotiator Bob Lovelace and Chief Paula Sherman at the Frontenac County Court in Kingston on February 15, 2008.

Montpellier stated, “Ontario’s citizens care about healthy communities. Our Algonquin neighbors have stepped up to the plate and one man in particular is suffering the consequences of taking a strong stand to ensure First Nation’s rights are protected.”

Mr. Lovelace was sentenced to six months in jail, and fined $25,000 for protesting exploratory drilling for uranium by Frontenac Ventures on land that is part of a 25-year-old Algonquin land claim. Chief Sherman was also sentenced to six months in jail and fined $15,000. In consideration of her children, Chief Sherman found it necessary to accept the restrictions of the court order to avoid going to jail.

The First Nations were not given prior notification of the exploration plans by either the province or Frontenac Ventures. They became aware of Frontenac Ventures’ intentions after being notified by a private landowner that his property had been staked.

Canadian courts have clearly established that whenever the rights of First Nations may be affected, governments have a legal duty to ensure that there must always be meaningful consultation to identify and accommodate First Nations’ concerns. When Justice Cunningham sentenced and fined Mr. Lovelace and Chief Sherman, he failed to understand the Ardoch Algonquin’s Constitutional rights and Ontario and Canada’s duty to consult with them regarding use of Crown land. His decision to impose incarceration and inflict heavy fines reflect the colonialist bias of the courts, and ignorance of the province’s constitutional duty to consult.

The LFLA Green Party of Ontario CA calls on the province of Ontario to reform provincial laws and policies in order that they respect and uphold the duty of meaningful consultation, accommodation, and consent with respect to First Nation’s people in Ontario. The province should also ensure that the court is made aware of its constitutional duty in this regard, particularly in the event of a court appeal.

“The Ontario judiciary has neglected its fiduciary responsibility to First Nations people.” said Green Party of Ontario leader Frank de Jong. De Jong today called for the McGuinty government to commute Bob Lovelace’s six month sentence. “It is imperative that Ontario courts recognize and consider that First Nations people base their actions on traditional Algonquin wisdom.”

The province must also immediately re-initiate negotiations to resolve the dispute, commit to negotiate in good faith, and ensure that the rights of the Algonquin people are respected during these negotiations.


The Editor, The Frontenac News
The recent sentencing of Native leaders because of their legitimate concern for the consequences (consequences which they would have to live with) which could derive from the adventures of Frontenac Ventures in North Frontenac, is just another example of the wild west mentality alive and well in Ontario’s nineteenth century Mining Act. These people have been on this land for generations, going back long before Europeans arrived in Eastern Ontario. Their dispute is well documented. Frontenac Ventures is a junior mining company with a limited track record and a seemingly undue haste. If the demand for uranium is indeed legitimate, and that is a moot point, it will be there for the long term, and the economic return will remain firm. Why the need to be in such a hurry to punish the Native Community? Why the need to be so heavy handed?

Last July the Ministry of Mines and Northern Development proposed changes to the Mining Act and invited public input and consultation; and the public did respond. MNDM is, supposedly, in the process of reviewing this “public consultation” and bringing forth revisions to Ontario’s Mining Act. One of the proposals proffered by MNDM was that of more consideration for Aboriginal rights. Was this whole “consultation process” just a hollow public relations gesture? Where are the proposed amendments to the Mining Act?

Regrettably, this whole thing smacks, not of long term, legitimate mining, but of mining promotion and speculation opportunity; intended to take hasty advantage of the current strong base metal price and fostered by long out-of-date mining legislation. Is it? MNDM appears unwilling to look after the larger public good, acting as it does as advocate for the mining community. Who looks after the big picture, taking in to consideration all the effects on the land surface and the people who live there, both now and in the future? Where were the Premier and the Cabinet while this sorry escapade was playing out?

Sad to say, but sometimes I am simply ashamed to be a citizen of Ontario.
D. Campbell, Ottawa


To make donations in Trust for Ardoch Algonquin First Nation (AAFN)
Make cheques out to:

Chris Reid in Trust for Ardoch Algonquin First Nation (AAFN) and mail to:

Christopher M. Reid
Barrister & Solicitor
154 Monarch Park Ave.
Toronto, ON M4J 4R6

To support the work that The Community Coalition Against Mining Uranium (CCAMU) is doing in regard to raising public awareness and achieving a moratorium, make cheques out to:

Uranium Mining Moratorium Fund and mail to:
83 Cockburn St.,
Perth, ON
K7H 2B7

Thank you, please know that your financial support, energy and time are very much appreciated by everyone involved.

7) EVENT REMINDERS: TOMORROW Wed., Feb. 20th at 7:30 pm:

IAN TAMBLYN IN CONCERT at The National Archives,
Admission is $25.00.
Tickets available in Ottawa through all CD Warehouse outlets and Legend Records (Lincoln Fields Shopping Centre Carling and Richmond Road) and at the Folklore Centre, 1111 Bank St.

FATHEAD Dance, McDonald’s Corners Agricultural Hall,

this Fri. Feb 22, 2008 at 7:30 p.m.
LLBO and refreshments.
Admission: $20.00.
Tickets available at Shadowfax in Perth, or call 1-800-518-2729


Safe And Green Energy (SAGE) in Peterborough is sponsoring a significant event concerning nuclear energy and Ontario’s proposed energy strategy.

An Evening with Dr. Michael D. Mehta,

Friday, March 7th at 7:00 pm
Peterborough Public Library, 345 Aylmer Street North

Admission: Free (donations accepted)

A Question and Answer session will follow Dr. Mehta’s presentation. Coffee and tea will be served

Michael D. Mehta specializes in science, technology and society with a focus on health and environmental risk issues. Dr. Mehta is Professor of Sociology at the University of Alberta and Executive Director of the Population Research Laboratory. The Population
Research Laboratory at the University of Alberta is the largest social sciences research centre in Western Canada .

Brought to you by SAGE
For more information, email:
Or visit

9) EVENT: 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, and Compact Music 613 233 8922

International Women’s Day Benefit – Proceeds to aid the anti-uranium fight in Eastern Ontario


Dear Legislators:

What happened to Bob Lovelace yesterday and the people he represents, an Algonquin First Nation in Eastern Ontario, reflects very badly in my view on both the governments of Ontario and Canada as well as the Frontenac Ventures Uranium exploration company involved. As stated in the release, Ontario, according to the Canadian Supreme Court, should have required Frontenac Ventures to consult with Algonquin First Nations, who have a land claim with the Federal Government, before venturing onto the disputed land. They did not do this and the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources did not require consultations and even gave a licence to Frontenac Ventures to stake land, cut down trees, build a road and start drilling for uranium – on land claimed by the Algonquins.

Despite the above unjust and illegal actions – illegal according to the Supreme Court – Frontenac Ventures has been able to bring an injunction against anyone who would walk on the land Frontenac have staked for exploration, including First Nations and ‘Settler neighbour’ allies, with the result that contempt of court charges have been brought against many. Bob Lovelace is the first person sentenced – and harshly. This injunction with its harsh penalties is designed to shut down all democratic dissent from the majority of citizens in the area who do not want uranium exploration or mining to go on in their neighbourhood.

There were several weeks of ‘mediation’ among Algonquin, government of Ontario, and company representatives, during which time the Injunction was not enforced. However, those mediation talks were a fraud. At no time was the Ontario representative prepared to acknowledge that there was a possibility that a decision could be made to not allow uranium exploration.

Another problem is Ontario’s archaic Mining Act, which allows for mineral exploration to happen on any Ontarian’s property without permission if they do not own their mineral rights, and few landowners do. Ontario needs to revisit its Mining Act and change it so that landowners, be they First Nations or non-native, are consulted prior to exploration, with the option of saying no. A majority of people as well as all of the town councils in the area have also called for a moratorium on uranium mining until the Mining Act is revised and all issues are dealt with.

The government of Canada is at fault for not dealing in a timely manner with Aboriginal land claims, including the Algonquins, who have never ceded their land to Canada in any treaty. Canada should already have protected land that the Algonquins claimed from any use that goes against the Royal Proclamation of 1763, entrenched in Canada’s constitution, which guarantees the ‘reservation of hunting grounds’ for the Aboriginal peoples of North America. This is all the Algonquins want and they realize that uranium
mining with its destruction of nature is inconsistent with their hunting rights which have never been extinguished by Canadian law.

In this case that I have been observing for some time, it seems that a business, such as a mining exploration company, which actually represents very few people, but perhaps if they are lucky, a lot of money for a few investors, takes precedence over a large group of people who do not want that which a uranium mining company is liable to bring – the destruction of ‘Creation’ where they live – which Bob Lovelace says he is trying to prevent. It seems that the situation is upside down. It should be the people, native and non-native, who rule and the representatives of the people should be supporting them, not allowing the bringing of injunctions with harsh penalties, against them.

Please defend the rights of the people and end this persecution of the Algonquins of Eastern Ontario.

I would like a reply to what I am asking.

Murray D. Lumley
1854A Danforth Avenue
Toronto, ON
M4C 1J4
Tel. 416-423-5406



Sue Yanagisawa, Whig-Standard Court Reporter

The lawyer for a uranium prospecting company, frustrated by an Algonquin-led protest that disrupted the company’s plans for test drilling north of Sharbot Lake last summer, said it gave him “no pleasure to ask for incarceration.”

Yet Neal J. Smitheman asked for exactly that this week, the maximum jail sentence possible in fact, and substantial fines against Algonquin leaders who refused to ‘purge’ contempt charges by formally promising not to interfere in the future with his client, Oakville-based Frontenac Ventures Corp.

Yesterday morning, Superior Court Justice Douglas Cunningham gave Smitheman what he had asked for. After observing that “they have not only engaged in a full-scale occupation of the Clarendon site, they have counselled others to do so as well,” and telling those present in the courtroom that “compliance with the orders of this court are not optional,” Cunningham ordered Ardoch Algonquin First Nation co-chief Paula Sherman and community spokesman Robert Lovelace jailed for six months.

Cunningham said the sentences could be discharged at any point if the two leaders agreed to purge their contempt. Until then, however, he directed the OPP to take them into custody.

About an hour later, Sherman returned to the courtroom with lawyer Christopher Reid, who represents the Ardoch Algonquins, and Smitheman told the judge that he and Reid had reached “an accommodation” on her behalf that was “motivated on compassionate grounds.”

Reid was blunter. “Ms. Sherman is sole support for three children and she will lose them if she goes to jail,” he told judge.

Consequently, she had agreed to enter into an undertaking promising to comply in future with the “letter and spirit” of Cunningham’s Sept. 27 injunction. The injunction requires that Frontenac Ventures have “unfettered and unobstructed access” to its mineral exploration claim – about 30,000 acres of Crown and private land in North Frontenac.

It specifically bars the Algonquin communities living in the area and “persons unknown” from “interfering with, disrupting or hindering” Frontenac Ventures, its employees, agents or contractors. Having agreed on the record to future compliance with the injunction, a process known as purging contempt, Cunningham discharged the custodial portion of his order against Sherman and she was not sent to jail.

At the precise moment she was being dealt with in the second-floor courtroom, however, Lovelace was being placed in the Quinte Detention Centre transport van at the rear of the Frontenac County Court House. Chanting and ululating from a group of supporters, who had gone outside, could be heard faintly through the windows on the north wall of the court.

The sounds of outrage had been much louder, ringing in fact, an hour earlier when Cunningham’s initial pronouncement of sentence was greeted by loud jeers of “Shame! Shame!” from the packed spectators’ gallery. At its peak, a dark-haired woman from among the non-native supporters of the Algonquin leaned across the bar of the court, behind lawyers representing the attorney general, and berated the judge.

“This court is participating in the biggest public health disaster this country has ever seen. Do you understand that?” she yelled up at the judge.

Cunningham paused briefly, but didn’t have her removed. Instead, he continued with sentencing, ordering that Lovelace pay a fine of $25,000, Sherman a fine of $15,000 and the Ardoch Algonquin First Nation $10,000 for past conduct. He set additional fines of $2,000 a day for every day they’re not in compliance in the future and ended by ordering the Ardoch Algonquin statement of defence struck.

They are precluded from bringing any application or motion before him until their contempt is purged. Reid, putting it in ordinary language after the proceedings ended, said “they are booted out of the court.” What that means in the short term, he said, is that his clients won’t be allowed to mount their core defence in March when they return for a second round in these proceedings. “The statement of defence,” he explained, “challenges the constitutional validity of the Mining Act.”

The perversity of the situation, he added, is that his clients are being punished for resorting to direct action instead of relying on the courts. But “they can’t come to court now. Self-help is all that’s left to them now.” At this point, Reid said he’s talking to his clients about an appeal.

Cunningham, in explaining his reasoning for the sentence, said that the adoption of self-help flaunts the rule of law and can’t be tolerated because “respect for our court system evaporates and our entire society suffers as a result.” His sentence, he added, had to send a message to others who might consider similar action.

Respect for the court system wasn’t exactly inspired in the largely partisan crowd of spectators who watched as the two prisoners were taken into custody, however. After Cunningham rose, those who weren’t attached to Frontenac Ventures or the provincial Ministry of Northern Development and Mines stood en masse and applauded Sherman and Lovelace, some ululating, an expression in sound that can denote sorrow, celebration, honour, defiance or all of them at once.

Gloria Morrison – the wife of Frank Morrison, one of only two non-natives charged in the contempt proceedings – was seething in a quiet and dignified way. Her husband has attended the court case only intermittently when he’s been obliged to but she’s been a fixture since hearings began last summer.

The Morrisons own 100 acres of managed forest and marshland north of Snow Road, property crossed by the Big Antoine and Little Antoine creeks and a man-made stream, which all flow directly into the Mississippi River. They’re opposed to uranium drilling and believe it endangers both the surface and sub-surface waters in the area.

They were devastated when they discovered that Frontenac Ventures had come onto their land without permission sometime in 2006, staked a prospecting claim that covers about 70 per cent of their holding, and that there was nothing they could do about it. According to Frank Morrison, the claim staking alone has destroyed the market value of the property.

It was Gloria Morrison who first alerted the Ardoch Algonquins to the sort of prospecting Frontenac Ventures was doing and asked them to get involved. She’s unhappy that her husband’s case – like that of Christian Peacemaker David Milne – was severed from the main action against the Ardoch Algonquin earlier this week.

His Ottawa lawyers weren’t provided in advance with essential documents by the Frontenac Ventures legal team, however. Consequently, his case had to be put over to March to allow for proper disclosure.

Gloria Morrison said she’s been disillusioned by what she’s seen since her involvement in this whole thing began. At 57, she didn’t have any experience with the courts before this, she explained. She had never even experimented with teenage rebellion or hippie culture: “I walked on green lights and picked up garbage off the street. I never smoked and don’t drink.”

She admits she had certain expectations about how things were supposed to work for law-abiding citizens. But after witnessing this case unfold, “it has not solved anything,” she said. “It’s painful and it has created a situation where many of us will follow.” Unlike Sherman, all of her children are grown and should it come to that, “I am fully able and willing to go to jail,” Morrison said, “and no, I would not apologize either for protecting our air and water.”

Reid was clearly upset by the outcome of the sentencing. “I was expecting there would be a period of incarceration. I don’t think anybody expected six months,” and described it as “pretty draconian,” he said outside the courtroom.

He was also unhappy with Sherman’s predicament and the pressure such a lengthy sentence had imposed on her. “If her kids were now adults, she’d be in jail right now,” he said, “but she can’t deprive them of a mother.”

As for the fines “you might as well make it $10 million, as far as the ability to pay goes for these people.” Bluntly put, Reid said, “Bob Lovelace is a political prisoner. He’s done nothing violent. He hasn’t hurt anybody. He’s in jail because of his beliefs.”


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