ANTI-URANIUM MINING BENEFIT CONCERT

SUPPORT THE FIGHT AGAINST URANIUM MINING IN OUR COMMUNITIES

ATTEND THE CONCERT AT OSO HALL
SUNDAY OCTOBER 14TH 2PM
ADMISSION $10

THE ANTI- URANIUM TRILOGY
Three of Canada’s best know singer songwriters have each written songs with the uranium mine as their theme. Each has donated their time and talents and recorded these songs as a fundraiser for the fight against uranium mining.

TERRY TUFTS
BOREALIS RECORDING ARTIST. SIX ALBUMS, GUEST ON: TOMMY HUNTER SHOW, RITA McNEIL SHOW, PETER GZOWSKI, CCMA AWARDS, CANADA DAY–PARLIAMENT HILL

NEVILLE WELLS
CANADIAN COUNTRY MUSIC STAR, COUNTRY MUSIC HALL OF FAME MEMBER. FOUNDED THE OMPAH STOMP & THE FORERUNNER OF THE CANADA’S COUNTRY MUSIC NEWS

FRANK MORRISON
SIX TOP TEN HITS, INCLUDING “THE LION SLEEPS TONIGHT” WITH THE TOWNSMEN. TOURED WITH THE BEACH BOYS, ROY ORBISON, & OTHER GREATS. NATIONAL CTV & CBC TV/RADIO PERFORMANCES.

FEATURING THE ABOVE PERFORMERS & SPECIAL GUESTS THE FABULOUS FRONTENAC KINGS & OTHERS

COME & HEAR DWAIN SCUDDER SING HIS NEW ANTI-MINE SONG,
THE MINERS ARE ACOMIN’

There will be a public information display and people there to answer your questions about the effects of a uranium mine on your community.

Nuclear River or Bad Science?

TALK: NUCLEAR RIVER OR BAD SCIENCE?

This is your chance to come out and ask important questions!!!

THE MISSISSIPPI MILLS RESIDENTS’ ASSOCIATION (MMRA)
TALK: NUCLEAR RIVER OR BAD SCIENCE?
INFO: ARNIE FRANCIS arnie@istar.ca

Date/Time: Friday, October 12, 2007, 7:30 pm
Location: Almonte United Church Social Hall, 106 Elgin Street, Almonte

Here’s a link to Google maps.

Cost: No admission charge – Free-will offering gratefully accepted.

This is a moderated information session which will include three perspectives as well as a chance for questions and answers. This uranium mining issue is proving to be a complicated and emotionally-charged debate in which many residents of Mississippi Mills are deeply engaged. The topic has been the subject of several news items of late. This moderated session will allow audience members to clarify their understanding of the issues and pose questions to the speakers.

Speakers:

Mr. John Kittle MSc has 2 years experience in nuclear physics research at Carleton University. As a resident of North Frontenac he will present his understanding about the dangers and consequences of proposed mining operations on the health of the Mississippi Watershed.

Mr. George White, President of Frontenac Ventures Corporation, the company that is seeking to proceed with uranium mining operations, will provide arguments that support FVC’s position that this uranium mining project is a legally- and environmentally-defensible corporate pursuit.

Mr. Paul Lehman, General Manager, Mississippi Valley Conservation Authority will provide the Conservation Authority’s understanding of the proposed mining project and discuss the possible environmental issues.

Prof. Don Wiles, of Carleton University’s Department of Chemistry, will moderate the discussion.

DONNA DILLMAN’S HUNGER STRIKE

Donna Dillman will be proceeding with her hunger strike on Thanksgiving Monday, October 8, 2007.
It was decided yesterday that it would be beneficial to have Donna stay right at the site, outside of the gates, to draw more attention to the centre of the protest. It is important to know that Donna has not passed through the gates of the site and what she is doing is well within her legal rights, as she will be camping on the road allowance.
Some people were wondering if Donna was welcome to stay at Parliament Hill. Know that the OPP and RCMP were willing to discuss accommodating Donna and that her choice to keep the hunger strike at the protest site, in no way suggests a lack of cooperation on the part of the police. Donna is allowing for the possibility of moving her protest to Parliament Hill if needed.

NOTE FROM DONNA…

As I set up to begin my hunger strike at noon on Monday, please know that this effort will not be successful in isolation. It is not about me. The hunger strike is a focal point. With our voices, our pens and the internet, each of us can reach out to as many other people as possible, and as each of them to do the same. The media will not win this for us. With our individual efforts we can take this issue around the world overnight and it might take that to bring me back home.

At a meeting at the site last night, Chris Reid, one of the lawyers for the First Nations said that he “could feel it in his bones” that we could win this, With the momentum that has already been built by the Natives and by the non-native community, we CAN win a moratorium.

Thank you for the numerous offer of prayers, and various kinds of support. I know that I am not, in fact, doing it in isolation and appreciate all of you for the efforts you have made and continue to make.

Blessings and Happy Thanksgiving.
We have much to be thankful for.
Donna

BACKGROUND
LOCAL GRANDMOTHER STARTS HUNGER STRIKE

At 12 pm on the 8th of October, Donna Dillman started her hunger strike outside of the gates of the uranium protest site. She is calling for a moratorium on uranium mining in Eastern Ontario and is asking people to show their support by contacting local politicians and media outlets. Many people have expressed their concern about Donna’s actions but after speaking with her directly most come away with an understanding and appreciation for the position she has taken. Thank you for all of the letters of support.

DONNA DILLMAN’S BLOG DAY ONE

We can go a long time without food, but clean water is essential to all life. With that in mind and with the rain holding off, I arrived at the site at noon, today, feeling a bit of trepidation and some anticipation. A short time later my home away from home arrived and the good folks at the site got busy and moved me in. I am indebted to the people who donated the tent camper and those on my support team. Without them, and other supporters, this would not be happening, as they are vital to the success of this campaign.

My debut into the public eye came about when a Global TV reporter and Jeff Green, from Frontenac News, arrived on site for interviews. Harold Perry officially welcomed me and thanked me for what I am doing here and I was able to share with him how much I appreciate the sacrifice that the First Nations have made in keeping our water safe. Some time later, I was also interviewed by a student from Loyalist College.

I’ve been getting lots of response to my action and I want to thank each of you for your comments and prayers. Please know that I am not doing this in isolation and that whatever you can do to help me get the message out is appreciated. Please call, write or email your elected officials. Tell them you want a moratorium on uranium exploration and mining in Eastern Ontario. Or start an action of your own – a women in N.S. is organizing a coalition of grandparents to protest with us (wouldn’t it be grand if that went coast to coast, with people protesting in communities across the country) and some raging grannies are visiting the site on the weekend – or donate as you can, so that the people working on the issue can keep on keeping on. If you can come by the site, please do, as visits go a long way to keeping the moral up here.

Blessings
Donna

Legitimacy versus Legality

Bruce H. Moore is the Director of the International Land Coalition, an alliance of intergovernmental and civil-society organizations working together to promote secure and equitable access to and control over land. The ILC Secretariat is hosted by the United Nations in Rome, Italy. For more information go to

http://www.landcoalition.org/

ARTICLE BY BRUCE H. MOORE

Uranium Mining – Legitimacy versus Legality
Global demand for minerals, fuels and forest products is a daily headline around the world. On the surface, the promise of jobs and the projections of bull markets appear full of hope for workers and investors alike. However, the story below the surface may be different. Conflicts over natural resources are rising. Growing numbers of local land owners and traditional users increasingly fear that they will loose their land and resource rights to the powerful corporate forces of international mining, energy and forestry.

Extractive industries, such as Frontenac Ventures, outside of Canada’s capital Ottawa, have filed their prospecting claims, seemingly on the classical arguments of the mining sector – that the law provides them with sub-surface rights; a mine, in this case uranium, will contribute to economic growth; and, today’s mining practices are safe. And, in the case of uranium, the latest boost to the claims of the mining industry, links nuclear power to climate change – it’s carbon-free and unlike gas and oil, uranium is located in friendly places like Australia and Canada.

Competing resource claims are difficult policy issues. From a global vantage point, these are not new issues. There is a wide body of worldwide experience and evidence that can be used to establish public policies to legislate and regulate who has he right to use which resources, for which purposes, and under which conditions. These are the essential components for ensuring sustainable resource use. The emerging confrontation around uranium mining in Canada can benefit from this knowledge and the lessons that have been learned elsewhere.

The Canadian case, seeming to hinge on a law from the 1800s, raises the same question that has come to the surface in resource conflicts in other countries. Is the law legitimate? For the International Land Coalition and similar organizations concerned with peoples’ resource rights, it is commonly recognized that governments have a responsibility to ensure that their laws are both coherent within their jurisdiction and consistent with international agreements to which they are a party. In legitimacy versus legality approach to public policy, governments are frequently found to have not harmonized old laws with the new, both within and across ministries. Is this mining law from the 19th century in harmony with related federal and provincial laws of the 21st century?

Around the world, legislative reform of the natural resource sector is undergoing rapid reform in respect to environmental protection, nuclear safety, and the downstream natural resource and watershed effects, resulting from chemical leaching, including mining residues. Canada has a mixed reputation in the mining sector. On the one hand Canada is recognized as an international leader in promoting environmental impact monitoring. On the other, Canadian mining companies operating abroad are frequently cited as examples of policies not being matched in practice.

The current land rights conflicts in Canada and rampant resource debates around the world, point to the need for a mining law that reflects the full body of resource and environmental laws and safeguards, including Canada’s voluntary or ratified international agreement in these domains. Furthermore, when approaching resource reform, it is noteworthy that the principles of free, prior and informed consent are increasingly considered as the basis for protecting the resource rights of landowners, users and tenants.

From press stories covering this Canadian situation, communities may be at risk of becoming divided over the economic promise that mining may offer. Yet, studies have indicated that mining generally results in only low levels of employment due to its high tech nature. The real increase in jobs is not where the mine is located but where the minerals are used, while the environmental consequences remain. Road building and infrastructure are one time investments and trucking generates few jobs. And, the few on-site jobs can quickly disappear due to the high price volatility of minerals. Additionally, a 2001 study found that Canadian taxpayers subsidized the mining industry by $13,095 per job created, funds that may have been used to stimulate alternative opportunities.

Mining is not neutral; it affects the entire territory – especially where the mineral is uranium. Mining on average takes 20 years to come on stream and may be postponed or cancelled if mineral values change or competition from richer deposits or lower labour costs makes other mining locations more attractive. For these twenty years other opportunities are likely to suffer. In a highly valued recreational area with a burgeoning property market, as in the case of this region of Canada, property values are likely to decline thus lowering the tax base. Whereas, the current growth in full-time residents, seasonal cottage owners and vacationers would seem to be a sustainable stimulant to the local economy. This appears to be the alternative to an uncertain, financial volatile, environmentally risky and socially divisive force among neighbours and local business people alike.

Climate change is among the international issues that are gaining much required attention. It would seem unimaginable that policy makers would be taken in by corporate “spin-doctors” suggesting that they should use risky technology to counter greenhouse gases when safe technologies exist.

This Canadian mining confrontation is of rising global interest. Whose interests will rise to the surface – the citizen or the corporation?

ARTICLE IN THE KINGSTON WHIG-STANDARD

Lawyers attempt to force hand of justice; Want to see protesters brought to trial
Posted By Sue Yanagisawa
The Kingston Whig Standard October 5, 2007

Lawyers are still attempting to forestall contempt charges against protesters occupying a uranium-prospecting claim north of Sharbot Lake.

This morning, lawyers representing the Algonquins occupying the claim and Frontenac Ventures Corp., the company that holds rights to explore the area’s mineral potential, will meet at Frontenac County Court House to try to broker a deal.

Late last week, Justice Douglas Cunningham endorsed the injunction sought by the company upholding Frontenac Ventures’ “immediate, unfettered and unobstructed access to the subject property.”

Within days, Frontenac Ventures filed notice it was seeking an order holding the Ardoch Algonquin First Nation, Shabot Obaadjiwan First Nation, five of their community leaders, Christian Peacekeeper David Milne of Belleville, local landowner Frank Morrison and unidentified Johns and James Doe in contempt of his order “by failing to end the occupation and/or leave the subject property.”

As of yesterday, Cunningham’s injunction was still in draft form.

Although Cunningham’s injunction hadn’t yet been filed with the court, after some preliminary discussion to tweak its terms, Frontenac’s lawyer, Neal Smitheman, asked to proceed directly to trial on the allegations of contempt, which were first raised in relation to an interim injunction granted in late August by another judge.

Cunningham asked if it would be better to wait and proceed, if necessary, on his order: “It has not been issued. It has not been entered [with the court] and there’s no direction to enforce,” he pointed out.

Smitheman told him the parties were aware of his endorsement and said, “your endorsement has not been followed. Your endorsement is being ignored.”

At previous court hearings where the prospect of contempt charges was raised, it was estimated that a trial would take five days. Neither of the lawyers representing the Algonquins came to court anticipating that they’d even be spending the night in Kingston.

Lawyers Christopher Reid, who represents the Ardoch Algonquin First Nation and Stephen Reynolds on behalf of Shabot Obaadjiwan, told the judge they weren’t prepared to begin a trial immediately.

Reynolds said that Smitheman was “trying to jam through a contempt motion,” on short notice and argued that his clients are entitled to call witnesses in their defense. He also told Cunningham that he hadn’t prepared to cross-examine the police witnesses.

Smitheman proposes to call three members of the OPP’s Aboriginal Response Team (ART), a recent initiative developed out of the Ipperwash Inquiry and aimed at building trust between native communities and the police force. Concerns have already been expressed for the future of the initiative if its members are compelled to testify.

Cunningham rose abruptly around 11:15 a.m. and directed the lawyers to join him in the jury deliberation room adjoining the courtroom.

Spectators in the courtroom were left for the rest of the day to speculate on what was happening behind closed doors.

For more of this article go to…

http://www.thewhig.com/ArticleDisplay.aspx?e=722502&auth=Sue+Yanagisawa

THE AWAKENING IN PERTH

Time: Thursday, October 4th, 2007 6pm opening ceremony
Location: Stewart Park and the Perth Fair Grounds, Perth ON

Focused on the Future, Honoring the Past!
A Three Day Circle of All Nations Celebration of the Waterways of North America and 175th Anniversary of the Rideau Canal (Newest Unesco World Heritage Site!)
Coordinated by Merriwolf Productions

Guest speakers will cover the topic of Uranium Mining in the Frontenac and Lanark region.

October 7, 2007

3:20 PM – 3:50PM
Joan Kuyek, Mining Watch Canada
Impacts of Mining and Mineral Exploration

5:20 PM – 5:50PM
Doreen Davie, Algonquin Chief
Local Struggles to Protect Lands and Watersheds

6:20 PM – 6:30PM
Paula Sherman, Algonquin Chief
Local Struggles to Protect Lands and Watersheds

RESISTANCE IS FERTILE interviews Bob Lovelace

The following excerpt was taken for the Resistance if Fertile website. There are two recorded interviews with Bob Lovelace, elder of the Ardoch Algonquins.

Follow Up With Bob Lovelace on the Blockade of a Proposed Uranium Mine

The continuing blockade of a proposed uranium mine near Sharbot Lake is an incredibly important struggle that is getting very little media coverage. Unfortunately that’s the way it goes, and that’s one of the reasons I do this show. I spoke with retired Ardoch Algonquin chief Bob Lovelace back on August 29 (our first interview is below this one), and here we speak again to learn how things have been progressing.

As it stands most of the leaders of the blockade have warrants out for their arrest and are facing a $77 million lawsuit. Despite this, they are absolutely firm in their stance that the mine will never go through and they will not leave their land. In conjunction with their continued presence at the site, a group of elders and others from their community have embarked on canoes up the Ottawa river to Ottawa, with the intent of gathering support and raising awareness about their struggle. In
support of them, a growing number of communities and organizations are calling for a moratorium on uranium exploration and mining in their territory, and also, a growing number of people in the surrounding municipality are refusing to pay their taxes.

Bob talks about their interesting relationship with the OPP, and how they maintained a good relationship with them from the start, which helped them not get evicted when an injunction came down ordering their removal. Since then, however, the OPP was called to court to provide names of leaders and participants in the blockade, and despite their alleged best of intentions, they had to give names to the court to be named in a civil charges on behalf of Frontenac Ventures. Bob also talks about who Frontenac Ventures is and what their business is about.

As with last time, Bob is an excellent, thoughtful speaker, and I hope you can spread news of this around in your own circles. To hear the interview that was recorded on September 26, 2007 go to

http://www.resistanceisfertile.ca/

Tourism Minister Jim Bradley not aware of Rideau’s World Heritage Status?

Banner in front of the tents near the proposed Frontenac Ventures uranium mine

In a phone conversation with Maren Molthan, Susan Freeman, Deputy Reeve in Tay Valley Township and Councillor for Lanark County, described her latest efforts to turn the protest in the communities with uranium mining into alterations to the Ontario Mining Act. She has worked on that for years and met with Bill Mauro, parliamentary assistant to Northern Development and Mining Minister Rick Bartolucci on Tuesday, the 21st of August. Susan also talked to Jim Bradley, Minister for Tourism of Ontario. The purpose of these meetings was to attract some Ministerial attention on the treatment and consequences residents of Lanark County and Tay Valley Township face with uranium and graphite mining.

Maren Molthan: When did you start advocating for a change in the Mining Act towards more rights for private land owners, was that in your time as Warden of Lanark County for the 2004-2005 term of office?

Susan Freeman: No earlier, just six months after I was elected to Tay Valley Council when the first stakings happened for graphite exploration in Tay Valley.

MM: You have filed a resolution to make some changes to the Ontario Mining Act. What do they consist in?

SF: Some private property owners do not possess their sub-surface (mineral rights) on their property, only the surface rights. The situation here in Southern Ontario is very residential. The Mining Act was created much in favour of the development of the North, which we acknowledge. The resolution aims to make the mining rights accessible to the property owner so if they wish, to merge their surface and mineral rights.

MM: What was the reaction?

SF: Both were very sympathetic, although they seemed to be very unfamiliar with the situation here in Eastern Ontario. The Tourism Minister disputed my statement that the proclamation of the Rideau Canal as World Heritage Site represents in fact, Ontario’s first and only World Heritage Site. Bill Mauro, also the current MPP of the Riding of Thunder Bay-Rainy River, didn’t seem to be aware of the now UNESCO-protected status of the Rideau Canal at all.

Note of the editor: look up all Canadian World Heritage Sites here.

MM: What would you like to see happening to improve the position of private landowners in Lanark and Tay Valley?

SF: We asked the government for a moratorium on the uranium mining in Ontario. On the same note: I hope that our MPP for Lanark, Norm Sterling, will voice our concern in the house.

MM: With regards to Bill Mauro also being the current MPP for Thunder Bay-Rainy River – how much do you see a conflict of interest in Mauro – at the same time – holding also the position of the Minister’s parliamentary assistant?

SF: No, each Minister works with another MPP who is their parliamentary assistant. Hopefully, even though from the north, they work for all Ontarians.

MM: How do you think/expect the Ministries to react?

SF: It is an election year, so who knows!

MM: Do you know of any session, where the house or the committee in charge will likely discuss the resolution or the Mining Act itself? If so, when is that scheduled?

SF: After the EBR (Environmental Bill of Rights) postings then there should be committee hearings on changes to the Act.

Note of the editor: The Ontario Association of Anglers and Hunters explains well, in what an EBR posting consists and provides a link to the Environmental Bill of Rights web page.

MM: How do you think the Ontario Vote in October is going to impact the
discussion?

SF: Certainly in this riding it well might have an effect.

MM: What is your next step?

SF: Our next step is to ask both councils to pass a motion on a moratorium on uranium mining and on the protection of the Rideau Corridor in Tay Valley and Lanark County.

Excerpt of the resolution:

“(…) the Mining Act of Ontario recognizes separate mining and surface rights on many private lands, bringing about a state of affairs where there may be two owners to one property; (…)”

Susan Freeman can be reached here:
www.susanfreeman.ca
sfreeman@rideaunet.ca

To not own the surface rights of a property does not prevent any mining operator to process exploratory drillings for Uranium at any given time on that property. Now, even with this 150 years old practise remaining legal, it may conflict with the UNESCO protection, because the Rideau Canal is water-connected with the concerned communities, also known as the land of lakes. J.D. Kittle residing in Snow Road, voiced concerns in an open letter, criticizing the Mining Act in a very similar way (see archives for entire open letter):

“The Ontario Mining Act allows mining companies to conduct this prospecting and exploration activity without the knowledge or permission of property owners. There is also no requirement to notify or consult with the Crown when exploration takes place on unpatented Crown land. The exploration process itself can and has in the past done serious damage to property. The Ontario Mining Act allows excavation of thousands of tons of material in the exploration stage without environmental assessment and without a requirement to restore the land. The drilling process itself has risks … the planned depth of ~400 meters causes drill holes to become “wells”, which have to be filled to prevent upflow of contaminated water into the watershed. Drilling can also affect the stability of underground water aquifers that supply clean drinking water to wells in our area.

If exploration leads to an operational mine, ore is removed by strip-mining and shipped to a processing site, usually located as close as possible to the mine site. Uranium ore is crushed and leached using large quantities of water. The sludge or tailings, which still contains substantial quantities of radioactive material, are dumped into special tailings ponds. Reports in 1980 by the Ontario Environmental Assessment Board on Elliott Lake solved many of the problems, but cited significant residual risks in the area of long-term viability of these tailings ponds. More recently in 2003 and 2006, Cameco in northern Saskatchewan, which is the world’s largest uranium producer, suffered three major flood-related spills, in spite of new technologies in tailings pond management. In North Frontenac and Lanark, mining and processing of uranium ore is of special concern since a pond failure or accidental spill could cause toxins to flow into the Mississippi River watershed, thereby impacting tens of thousands of people in villages, towns and cities downstream, including the City of Ottawa.

There are hundreds of cases where mining companies have walked away from mines or processing facilities leaving a mess for the province to clean up. In December 2005, the Ontario Auditor General identified, out of 5400 abandoned mine sites in Ontario, at least 250 are ‘toxic waste dumps, leaching acidic, metals contaminated drainage into water-courses and aquifers’, and the AG strongly criticized the Ministry of Northern Development and Mines over their failure to protect the environment and Ontario taxpayers from the long-term impacts of mining.

In terms of documented health risks, the Ontario Workplace Safety and Insurance Act states: ‘primary cancers of the trachea, bronchus and lung among workers previously employed in uranium mining in Ontario are recognized as occupational diseases under the Workplace Safety & Insurance Act. They are both characteristic of uranium mining and result from exposure to ionizing radiation relating to the uranium mining industry’.

In relation to the government’s new Clean Air and Clean Water Act, we are concerned about the impact of potential uranium mining pollution on the water supply of hundreds of thousands of people in villages, towns and cities downstream on the Mississippi and Ottawa River systems. We do not want a repeat of Elliott Lake and other uranium mining disasters throughout the world. Airborne radioactive dust is carried by winds and will directly affect not only mine employees, but thousands of Ontario residents in Frontenac County, Lanark County, Tay Valley and the City of Ottawa other area townships.

Farmers and rural businesses are very concerned about the effects of uranium mining on tourism, agriculture and other traditional rural businesses and land uses. Property owners have already suffered a negative impact on property values and in many cases have indefinitely delayed plans for property purchases or improvements at a substantial cost to local economies.

Nova Scotia has already enacted a province-wide moratorium on uranium mining due to serious health and environmental concerns and the poor environmental record of the mining companies. British Columbia is presently considering a similar moratorium. Nova Scotia’s moratorium was prompted by contamination from exploratory drilling.

The root of the problem is that the Ontario Mining Act is over 150 years old, and is long overdue for a major overhaul. Over the last few years, many proposals have been submitted to the Ministry of Northern Development and Mines (many at the request of the Ministry), but to date no substantive changes have been made to the Act. The unfairness of the current Mining Act and its extreme bias toward mining company rights over the rights of property owners and First Nations people is encouraging uranium mining exploration and development that is completely incompatible with current land use in our area.

We request that the Ontario government enact an immediate moratorium on uranium exploration, mining and processing in eastern Ontario and initiate a public review of Ontario’s Mining Act.”

J.D. Kittle can be reached here:
j.s.kittle@sympatico.ca
PO Box 1050, Snow Road, ON, K0H 2R0

Maren Molthan freelances for various media east and west of the Atlantic and can be reached here:
marenscommunications@yahoo.ca

Impossible disasters and nuclear plants

Want to have a look at how safe nuclear is and how reliable and transparent information is handled (or rather man-handled) in case of a disaster?

Here are some diary entries from two Greenpeace experts trying to measure radioactivity after the earthquake in Japan in July 07 – its intensity was declared impossible to occur by the plant operators.

Fun stuff!

This is a recent article on what is to do today to channel the nuclear renaissance into somewhat secure waters …

Here is a very informative article on how bad the situation in Canada was in 1989 – and now, almost two decades later, it has not changed since radiation remains for thousands of years …

Nuclear Power: Exploding the Myths

And here is an excellent background article for everyone just starting to find out about nuclear:

reprinted from Encompass Magazine, March 2001

by Gordon Edwards

Nuclear power was once portrayed as peaceful, clean, safe, cheap and abundant. It was even described as miraculous. Disney’s animated documentary film “Our Friend the Atom” promised that nuclear power could end world hunger, eliminate poverty, and bring about an unprecedented era of peace and prosperity. For decades, the Canadian Nuclear Association distributed a public-relations comic book which concluded with these words:

“NEW BOON TO MANKIND

“The benefits of nuclear radiation that we know today are nothing when compared to what we may reasonably expect in the future.

“Food may be preserved in its original fresh condition for long periods of time. Nuclear-powered ships may ply the oceans; trains may cross continents many times on only a few ounces of nuclear fuel; power reactors may help open up remote areas such as Canada’s North….

“In time it is possible that nuclear power may lead to temperature-controlled, germ-free cities, and a better life for all mankind.”

Today the rhetoric is more muted, but nuclear power is still touted as a saviour of sorts: it will save us from global warming, help us eliminate nuclear weapons, meet the world’s burgeoning energy needs. And Ottawa’s nuclear decisions remain as inscrutable and unaccountable as ever.

So far, Ottawa has spent over 13 billion (in 1997 $) of taxpayers’ money building dozens of nuclear facilities, paying thousands of salaries, creating entire towns to house workers, and spreading Canadian nuclear technology to India, Pakistan, Taiwan, Korea, Argentina, and Romania. Through all this, Ottawa never resorted to public consultation, parliamentary debate or any form of open democratic process. Public approval was taken for granted. It still is.

Jean Chrétien likes nuclear power. He doesn’t mention it during election campaigns. It can’t be found in the Liberal Party’s red book of promises. But M. Chrétien uses his office to back the Canadian nuclear industry to the hilt:

* At a 1996 G-7 Meeting in Moscow, Chrétien stunned everyone by saying that Canada favours the idea of accepting tonnes of left-over plutonium from dismantled nuclear warheads, to be used as fuel in CANDU reactors. The official rationale? “Canada has to play a role in nuclear disarmament.” Samples of weapons plutonium fuel from Russia and the US are now being tested in a reactor at Chalk River, Ontario. If the ambitious scheme goes ahead, Canadians will be responsible for all the high-level radioactive waste and residual plutonium in perpetuity; yet Ottawa has no plans for any form of public consultation on the fundamental policy questions — just pro-forma environmental hearings on the little details.

* M. Chrétien is an indomitable nuclear salesman. Since the banks won’t finance CANDU reactor sales, he ensures that the Treasury of Canada does. China was given one-and-a-half billion dollars of taxpayers’ money for buying a CANDU reactor. It was the largest loan in Canadian history, yet there was no procedure to secure taxpayers’ permission or parliamentary approval. Turkey was promised an equal amount if it would plant a CANDU in its earthquake-prone soil.

* M. Chrétien was reportedly furious to learn that Canadian law requires a complete environmental assessment for a publicly financed project like the Chinese CANDU. He and his cabinet ignored the law. The Sierra Club of Canada sued. Government lawyers refused to provide documents on technical and financial aspects of the project, saying they were not relevant, because no cabinet member had ever seen any of them. Apparently, the largest loan in Canadian history was based on nothing more than the say-so of Canada’s nuclear industry. Ottawa is now trying to stop the court from obtaining copies of other assessments that China may have done on the CANDU project.

* This fall, Chrétien’s cabinet launched a concerted effort to have Canada’s overseas sales of nuclear reactors accepted by other G-7 countries as a respectable strategy for combating global warming. In fact, the Chrétien government had done nothing to fulfill its 1997 pledge at Kyoto to reduce carbon emissions in Canada by six percent. Instead of apologizing, Ottawa is now saying that Canada deserves greenhouse gas credits for reducing carbon emissions by selling reactors abroad.

Despite all this, the nuclear industry is moribund. Not a single power reactor has been ordered in North America for the last quarter-century, and there are no prospects at all. In western Europe nuclear expansion has also ground to a halt; Germany, Sweden and Switzerland are phasing out nuclear power, and France’s aggressive nuclear program is at a standstill. Only in Eastern Europe and in parts of Asia are there any markets for nuclear reactors, and most of them require heroic financial incentives from the sellers.

I think the clearest indication that this industry will not survive is its dread of open debate, independent scrutiny, or public accountability. For over two decades, Atomic Energy of Canada Limited has had a policy of refusing to debate in public with knowledgeable critics. AECL frequently boycotts public meetings, as well as radio and TV shows where both sides of the issues might be adequately represented, in hopes that the events will be cancelled (which they frequently are). I like to think that such an industry cannot long endure.

Let us now turn to the main myths of nuclear power:

Myth 1. ”Atoms for Peace” and ”Atoms for War” have nothing in common.

Untrue. The Canadian nuclear program began as part of the World War II Atomic Bomb project. The first reactors at Chalk River were built, in part, to produce plutonium for bombs. Plutonium from Chalk River was used by the Americans, the British, and the Russians in their respective bomb programs. India’s first atomic bomb, in 1974, used plutonium produced in a clone of the Canadian NRX reactor. Israel’s Dimona reactor, which produces plutonium for that country’s nuclear weapons, is also a close copy of the NRX reactor.

Every régime that has purchased a CANDU reactor has had military ambitions of a nuclear nature. India and Pakistan are obvious examples. Korea and Taiwan had clandestine atomic bomb development programs when they first purchased Canadian reactors. The generals in Argentina wanted to make Argentina the first nuclear weapons state in South America, and Ceaucescu in Romania had similar inclinations.

Plutonium is mass-produced inside nuclear reactors. It doesn’t occur in nature — but, once created, it lasts for thousands of years. Operating a nuclear reactor creates a permanent plutonium repository. At any time in the future — thousands of years from now, or next year — plutonium can be separated from the spent nuclear fuel and used to make atomic bombs.

Recent reports from US weapons authorities have confirmed that any kind of reactor-produced plutonium is good for making atomic bombs. Indeed, the US Academy of Sciences pointed out in a study in November that CANDU spent fuel can be more easily used by criminals or terrorists to get plutonium for bombs than can spent fuel from other types of nuclear power reactors.

The threat of nuclear warfare, increased by the spread of nuclear explosive materials worldwide, is at least as unsettling as the prospect of climate change.

Myth 2. Plutonium extracted from dismantled warheads can be destroyed by burning it as fuel in civilian reactors.

Untrue. Nuclear warheads are rendered useless when their plutonium cores are removed, but there is no method for destroying the plutonium. This constitutes a serious danger. What’s to prevent the plutonium from being put back into the warheads, or stolen by criminals, terrorists, or agents of an aggressive régime, and re-fashioned into new nuclear bombs?

At present, all that can be done is to make the plutonium more difficult to access, and therefore less likely to be used in weapons. The method that is favoured by the peace movement is “immobilization”. Plutonium is blended with highly radioactive liquid wastes — there are millions of gallons left over from the weapons program. The mixture is then solidified into ceramic logs weighing two tonnes each. These radioactive logs are stored securely and guarded under international control.

Nuclear power proponents prefer a different method: the “MOX” option. Small amounts of plutonium are mixed with large amounts of uranium to produce a “mixed oxide” reactor fuel, abbreviated as “MOX”. MOX fuel is used in a commercial power reactor to generate electricity, and the irradiated fuel is stored onsite.

But the plutonium is not eliminated. From half to two-thirds of the original amount remains in the spent MOX fuel, still weapons-usable, posing a perpetual security risk. MOX is up to seven times more expensive than regular uranium fuel — even if the plutonium is free — so there’s no good economic justification either.

The MOX option is particularly dangerous because it packages plutonium as a commercial product instead of banning it as a dangerous material. Countries that have invested heavily in nuclear power — Russia, France, India, Japan — hope to use plutonium as the principal nuclear fuel of the future, ushering in a “plutonium economy”. In this scenario, tonnes of plutonium will be circulating annually in the world’s economy, and it will be easy for a criminal organization to acquire the few kilos needed for an atomic bomb.

Unlike the immobilization option, the MOX option runs the risk of stimulating a global traffic in plutonium that cannot be policed effectively. Plutonium gives off almost no penetrating radiation, even though it is extremely toxic when inhaled or ingested. Fresh MOX fuel is therefore easy to steal and smuggle across borders. A recent report from the US says that three men, working for two weeks with only modest resources, could extract enough plutonium from MOX fuel to make an atomic bomb.

Myth 3. Nuclear Power can significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Untrue. Nuclear power is too expensive to build and too slow to deploy, and does not address the bulk of energy needs which are non-electrical. Studies show that each dollar invested in energy efficiency saves from five to seven times as much carbon dioxide as a dollar spent on nuclear.

The Royal Society of Canada’s 1993 COGGER Report (“Committee on Greenhouse Gas Emission Reductions”) didn’t even mention nuclear, which was near the bottom of the list of priorities. Energy efficiency was at the top.

It is true that nuclear reactors do not give off carbon dioxide. Neither does solar, wind, ocean thermal, wave power, micro-hydro, or most other renewable energy technologies. Bio-gas (biologically derived methane), though carbon-based, doesn’t add to global warming because burning it recycles carbon that was recently extracted from the atmosphere, whereas burning fossil fuels releases carbon that was locked away millions of years ago.

Studies conducted in the aftermath of the first oil crisis showed that nuclear power has little or no role to play in a rational off-oil energy strategy. “Energy Future”, the celebrated 1979 Report of the Harvard Business School Task Force on Energy, concludes that efficiency, coupled with judicious use of solar, is by far the most cost-effective strategy for achieving, swiftly and permanently, major reductions in primary energy use (and in greenhouse gas emissions, though the report didn’t have global warming in mind.)

President Carter created the Solar Energy Research Institute (SERI) in 1979 and asked if the sun could satisfy 20 percent of US energy needs by the year 2000. The SERI report, “A New Prosperity”, showed the goal was in fact easily achievable, but the key was implementing a thorough cost-effective energy efficiency strategy. With lower consumption levels, solar becomes affordable and effective.

In Canada, Friends of the Earth coordinated an ambitious energy analysis, published in 12 volumes by Environment Canada and EMR, entitled “2025: Soft Energy Futures for Canada”. It concluded that Canada could, by 2025, support twice the population while using only half as much primary energy as was used in 1978, yet with three times the GNP. This would require no economic penalty, nor would it require curtailing energy use (much as that might be desirable). Due to efficiency gains, no increase in electrical facilities would be needed despite increased electrical use, and all nuclear plants could be retired.

Building an energy-efficient society goes a long way toward building an environmentally friendly and sustainable future. It is more work than just throwing money at energy megaprojects, but the benefits are enormous. It creates jobs throughout the economy, rather than focussing them in one industry. It sharply reduces our negative impact on the global environment. It makes communities more viable by keeping money in the local economy. It brings back hope in the future and sets a worthy benchmark for future generations and developing countries. The obstacles aren’t technical or economic in nature, but political and social. It should be our first priority.

Myth 4. Nuclear Power is Clean and Safe.

Untrue. Canada has 200 million tons of radioactive wastes in the NWT, northern Saskatchewan and Ontario, from uranium mining activities. The Wall Street Journal described such waste as an “ecological and financial time bomb”, and a Canadian environmental panel described one Saskatchewan site as potentially the most toxic waste dump in Canada.

Irradiated nuclear fuel remains toxic for millions of years. The nuclear industry estimates that a geologic repository will cost about 17 billion dollars. Money is now being put aside for the repository project, although a ten-year-long environmental review found unresolved safety and environmental concerns. For example, the radioactivity of the waste will heat up the bedrock, which won’t return to original temperatures for more than 50 000 years. Could this “thermal pulse” jeopardize the integrity of the repository?

The Atomic Energy Control Board reported to the Treasury Board in 1989 that catastrophic accidents are possible in CANDU reactors, and that it is impossible to say with any assurance that CANDUs are safer or less safe than other types of reactors. A 1976 British Royal Commission on Nuclear Power and the Environment pointed out that bombing a nuclear reactor with conventional bombs would be as catastrophic as a severe nuclear accident. Large parts of Europe might be uninhabitable today, the report said, if nuclear power had been deployed in Europe before World War II.

It is important for people from across the country to insist that nuclear power be phased out in Canada and that no public money be used to finance any expansion of this industry. The Ottawa-based Campaign for Nuclear Phaseout coordinates such resistance to nuclear development: cnp@web.ca, (613) 789 3634, www.cnp.ca.

And for more information on topics related to the nuclear industry, visit the web site of the Canadian Coalition for Nuclear Responsibility at www.ccnr.org.

Note of the editor:
The Ontario Association of Power Producers is likewise a very good source of information and lobbies the federal government to commit to competition in the supply of energy.

Silk and Steel releasing up in the Ballroom


June 23rd

7 – 9 pm

CD Release Party CREDO

The following text is from the artist’s website:

CameronStrings first CD, Credo, is now available. You can order it through Mirick’s Landing in Merrickville at (613) 269-3559. To order online please go to our EBay listiing. If you use this link, you’ll have to create your own Ebay account [if you don’t already have one] which is very easy to do, but if you don’t want to create your own EBay account then email Glen Pilon directly at glentam@sympatico.ca . If you live near Merrickville, join us for the CD Release party in the ballroom at the Baldachin Inn on Saturday June 23. See poster below for more details. Scott and Tara will be performing and signing CD’s at the party.

Lynne Hanson plays her first Harry


Lynne Hanson is on her way to Merrickville to play for the first time (!) at Harry McLean’s

Saturday, 21st of APRIL, 9 pm.

Her songwriting and singing and the courage to put up with the Saturday-night-crowd of a small town deserves a full house, so come ye all plentiful, no matter shape and size. The following passage is from her homepage:

“A stunning collection of roots-based songs coupled with exceptional vocals and an impressive array of musicians. Every year at KVMR-FM, we’re asked to choose our Top 5 new releases for air play. Things I Miss will surely be on my list!”
– Dennis Brunnenmeyer, Nevada City Limits, KVMR-FM Radio
LATEST NEWS:
River By My Side from Things I Miss won the Blues Award for the Ontario Council of Folk Festivals (OCFF) 2006 “Songs from the Heart” contest.

Things I Miss was featured on CBC Radio One Fresh Air on Sunday August 6th as one of their favorite new CDs of the month.

THINGS I MISS
now available at CD Baby and in Ottawa at the Ottawa Folklore Centre located at 1111 Bank Street (at Sunnyside).

Low-Stompin-Roots in Merrickville

Truthful songwriters and restless picking researchers John Carroll and Mike O’Brien are back at Harry McLean’s Pub this

Saturday, April 7th, 9 pm at no cover charge.

The vibe was great when they played there in March:

Possible that the flames get higher this time even, now that the happy season is just one more snowfall away …

MODERN LIVING Black hole for male hotties

by GEORGIE BINKS (posted on the cbc homepage), freelancer in Toronto

Ever since journalists revealed they were checking out “babes” in a Chicago courtroom to fight the boredom of Conrad Black’s trial last week, a @#$%^&storm has ensued.

Writer Ian Brown devoted a number of paragraphs in a recent Globe and Mail story discussing the hotness of various female legal counsel at the former media mogul’s trial. The only lament was that Judge Amy St. Eve’s body was covered in those darned cumbersome legal robes. It’s too bad the same people designing outfits for female volleyball players can’t come up with something more enticing for female judges’ bodies, but give ’em time. (Don’t forget the whip and boots accessories.)

On the editorial pages and in conversation this week, women have lamented that despite the fact we’ve made great gains professionally, we’re still just good body parts to the world.

As I pondered this, I started wondering what male legal counsel at the trial looked like? Why hadn’t anyone rated them for “hotness”? I know the prosecutorial team had its picture taken and distributed like it was posing for CSI: Chicago a couple of weeks ago, but I haven’t been able to find a list of the hot guys anywhere. I wrote to the Globe and Mail and asked for help, but the newspaper ignored me. Could its team of crack reporters be preoccupied with finding out the name of Barbara Amiel’s stylist?

Then a horrifying thought hit me. Perhaps there are no hot male lawyers there. In fact, the problem might run even deeper. While we women have managed not only to scales the walls of justice, broadcasting, medicine and business, and still manage to be perceived as sex objects to the masses, what has happened with the guys? Shouldn’t they be trying to upgrade in this area, just to make everything equal?

There was always a worry at the onset of the women’s movement years ago that we would be Birkenstock-wearing, hairy-legged uglies if we left the house for the professional world. But thanks to Botox, new bosoms and Blahniks (Manolo) we look even hotter than ever.

Coming up Kates

Why in turn have men not been striving to equal women in the hotness arena? In fact, it’s a huge problem. Look at the hot movie stars we’re served up these days. George Clooney is the still world’s sexiest man. The guy is practically my age. Despite the fact young females are churned out yearly, Scarlett, Kate, another Kate, Cate, Katie, etc., we rarely see a new hot young man hit the media. Yes, that guy who played Harry Potter is now showing his chest hair in magazines (watch out, they’ll make you wax it), but I feel like a pedophile even looking at his picture.

Recently when I spoke to a gay male friend of mine, we lamented the dearth of new sexy guys making their way onto the scene. He and I like to spend our time watching Tim McGraw videos. We both thank God for Daniel Craig, the new James Bond.

The sad thing is that life seems to be imitating art. While older women energetically fight the ravages of time, what are the guys doing? How many men colour their hair? How many take a look at themselves and the potbellies growing over their belts, and head for the gym? Where’s the Curves for guys? I think something along the line of a “Bulges” for the older male set would do a booming business.

Russell Smith, the editor of the online men’s magazine, www.xyyz.ca, says, “I still think women and men are very nervous about the idea of male grooming. It’s frequently mocked as something we really don’t want our men to do.”

Now I can’t lump gay men in with this because, in fact, most of them take great care of themselves. However, that, says Smith, may be what’s keeping straight men from gussying up. “All straight men know if you look too good, it looks like you’re trying too hard and caring too much for yourself. It’s something people think is inherently effeminate.”

Guys seem to think that we don’t care what they look like – we love ’em for who they are. We’re not superficial. Maybe we are though. Imagine this. Take two of the players in the Black trial, like for starters Black himself and his lawyer Eddie Greenspan. Imagine putting those guys in a female wig and maybe a dress. Guys, would you want to date that? Now put them back in their suits and just imagine they are guys. Do we women want to date that? Smith says, “Someone of Eddie Greenspan’s generation would really balk at dying his hair because it seems frivolous and unmanly.”

Talking up tarts

When you look at Conrad Black and his wife Amiel, they actually look more like a father-daughter team. In fact, it’s difficult to tell his daughter Alana from Amiel in the pictures. However, Black and Amiel aren’t actually that far apart in age. I have no personal knowledge of how Amiel looks that good, but I’m guessing she colours her hair, like most women these days. I bet she does a host of other things as well. I bet he steps out of the shower every morning and gets dressed.

Check out any internet dating site. Look at the men over 40 and then take a peek at the women. Do men go bad faster? Or are they simply not trying? I think it’s the latter.

So guys – why not tart up a bit? Then we can read about you in the media. We won’t have to worry our pretty little well-coiffed heads wondering what your opening legal statements were or what your past legal accomplishments are. We can look at your bodies and dream.

Make your move! Wild horses in Canada

by Maren Molthan with excerpts of the National Post

The rare breed Suffield Mustang regenerates in a small herd in the Marlboro Forest of Ontario. Meanwhile Albertans shoot the last examples of the Sundre horses with rifles. Is there a thing like “Canadian Mustangs”?!

Thump! This bunch of grass is ripped off the ground and disappears between Widowmaker’s lips. The dark brown stallion, the waves of his long mane run over his shoulder as he moves, one step, one mouthful, one step, another thump, another step, moving, always moving. The visitor’s eyes light up when Gale O’Grady explains, that this Mustang (from “mesteno”, Spanish, for “ownerless” or “stray”) has never felt anybody riding him. He must at least touch the beast now, but try to approach it. Though its muscled body never moves suddenly, the stallion seems always one step ahead of the horse lover’s careful efforts to come close enough – the horse manages to stay out of arm’s reach, but never runs away. “They are a very unexcited breed. They never run far, only far enough to be out of danger.” Gale O’Grady lays out some other characteristics of an untamed upbringing: “You can see, they move in bands, one stallion can gather up to ten mares, the foals are kept in the middle of the group as they graze, young stallions form bachelor bands, until old enough to challenge the leader or form their own band.”

The O’Gradys are the only breeders of Mustangs in Ontario and maintain what is today probably the biggest Canadian herd of Suffield Mustangs of 30 horses. Five years ago, they brought four pregnant mares, a colt and one mature stallion from out West, having foals every year and refreshing the bloodlines constantly with traded horses from other breeders. The sturdy, highly intelligent and exceptionally healthy horses came from an isolated playground for the genes to improve only under natural selection: The Suffield military base in south-western Alberta. Ever since the last roundup in 1994, most of the remaining few were sold to slaughter­houses. Only the very core found a home on the pastures of concerned horsemen. Now, 23 years and several horse generations later, there are about 300 Suffields traceable with the help of the registry of rare breeds, explains Gale O’Grady.

The Sundre area in Alberta hosts a last herd of a different breed with more curved nose back, to facilitate grazing. About 200 are left, the official government count of 2006 showing 25 less than the year before. Their life could be simple. Four strong legs, which basically solve any possible problem out on the plains. Moving, never grazing one place twice, never finishing the stock completely, leaving it much easier for the ground to recover than under cattle graze. Reforested seedlings are eaten only if the Mustangs are almost starving, and their constant pawing exposes grass for deer.

The galopping symbol of unbreakable freedom. Until a shot rings out to wipe them off their feet or a round up ends their roaming – that has been the end of many Mustangs, as the species does not qualify for federal protection and slaughterhouses pay well. The Canadian government prefers to look at them as being “feral”, meaning derived from domestic stock and not wildlife. But are they so different from wild animals?

The Suffield Mustangs have been left to themselves for about forty years. When the British expropriated local farmers in order to set up the Weapons Testing Range in the third year of the second world war, lots of them left their livestock behind. A roundup in 1945, after the war, counted about 425 horses. Only three years later, the military abandoned the base, leaving behind only a weather station. Twenty years of no military activity went by, with the neighboring farmers using the range as pasture for cattle and horse. In 1965, the military started reusing the range, fencing the land with the horse herds being a lot bigger. By 1994, the natural selection of an unmanaged group of horses had created the Suffield Mustang: an easy keeper, with height from 12 to 17 hands, all colors except grey.

Guss Cothran at the College of Veterinary Medicine of Texas’ reputed A&M University – his colleagues presented a cloned foal there, in 2005 – confirms: “Being isolated and running free for generations, the horses redevelop wildlife skills, e.g. being economic with their energy, thus not running very far from the intruder, and running away another little piece, should he, she, it come too close again. Strong herd instincts are another criteria.” The scientist is involved in research in order to manage genetic health of herds in the US, where the situation seems a little bit better, and the Bureau of Land Management propagates the Mustang as “making excellent riding stock” and organizes auctions of “Excess” – the number of wild horses, that the government researchers consider being too much pressure for the land, trying to find them private owners. But it’s been only been some weeks since the Senate passed a law to prevent them from being sold to slaughterhouses. Cothran explains that genetic tests leave no doubt about the intertwined development, the hoofed spirit has taken through the millenniums: “The vast majority of the North American Mustangs are mongrel, meaning that they are of mixed breed origins. The Przewalski is the only true wild horse remaining and it is different from the domestic in that is has an extra pair of chromosomes. Only a small number of herds, about five percent, show strong evidence of Spanish horses.” Cothran’s genetic testing proved a direct genetic link between wild horses of the BC Brittany Triangle and their Spanish ancestors, where friends of the Nemaiah Valley still fight to have the government recognize their claim on the grounds of the Xeni Gwet’in First Nation, who proclaimed a wild horse reserve there in 2002. The Sundre variety with its long tail, smaller and sturdier statue simply physically resembles the Caballos of the Spaniards quite obviously. The explanation, that the remaining Canadian wild horses are the great-grand-children of far bigger logging horses, can’t appeal to anyone who takes the time for a closer look.

To confuse things further: the ancestor to all of this, first appeared in North America about 50 000 years ago, gradually shaping the modern horse, equus callabus, only to fade again from this continent 10 000 years ago. However, not all of them fell victim to hunters and ice age, it is believed. Some herds migrated to Eurasia, where they diversified further, under both free and captivated conditions. The Spaniards brought them back to North America in the 1500s, and the escaping horses started to form the legendary Mustang herds that North America once was so known for. Blackfoot raiders introduced the mustangs to Alberta in the 1700s. Explorer David Thompson recorded horses in the Sundre area in 1808. Three million wild horses filled the new continent with life around the 1800s. Now researchers estimate, that there’s not even 8.000 left.

Albertan authorities also organize roundups – a permit costs $280 – but with a lot rougher consequences: a limited number of the horses are sent to slaughter or, the more fortunate ones, sold for breeding. The Wild Horses Of Alberta Association WHOAS would like to stop this drain for a while to allow the horses to expand and renew their gene pool. “WHOAS has never said that the horses should be left totally alone, but we think their numbers should be allowed to recover,” Bob Henderson says. “They are not overrunning the ecosystem.” The WHOAS president describes the unique role of the horses in the harsh conditions of the Canadian West: In winter, rival stallions will allow their herds to mingle for survival, and deer will sometimes take refuge among horse herds to escape wolves. With no new-borns to protect, the Sundre Mustangs let people approach up to 50 m at this time of year – an easy distance to practice your aim. The latest shooting hit two adults and two seven-month-old foals found on January 23rd. Having spent decades in police service in Calgary, Henderson was outraged: “There was still skin on the faces. My reaction was real hurt. Anger. Being a cop all those years, I’m able to turn it off. But my wife, she just cried for the longest time.” On a hunting trip he saw Sundre’s wild horses first in 1972. “They just awed the hell out of me. I knew then what it meant to be free.” The Sundre killings can be prosecuted under Section 444 of the Criminal Code, which carries a penalty of up to five years for anyone who willfully kills or maims an animal. But Henderson would like to see the horses protected under their own legislation. “They are perfectly adapted to fit their environment,” he says. “What we are fighting is attitudes. It’s how you perceive things. They represent part of our history and they are beautiful.”

In Ontario, Gale and Barry O’Grady agree, that the Mustang deserves to enjoy the status of an endangered species: “If some private owners, horse lovers and dedicated individuals didn’t breed it, the Suffield Mustang would be gone by now. The position of the federal government seems bureaucratic and very casual. These animals are a center piece of Canadian heritage. The people around us are fascinated with their beauty. Officials are getting very late to acknowledge, what Mustangs have done for the societies of the North American continent.”

The O’Grady’s have an open doors day in June. They sell their Suffields as friendly and reliable riding horses all year long. Please call for more information or email: 613 283 3650, logrady@webruler.com and make sure to visit their web pages: www.webruler.com/logrady.

All pictures show horses of the O’Gradys stock in Ontario. They were taken by the O’Gradys, Sue Peck and Maren Molthan. We welcome publication in your medium. Please get in touch with the editor BEFORE you publish. Thank you for your consideration!