Jim Harding Book tour

The absurdity consists in how all this is news again. I remember watching young German kids, a bit older than myself, just more daring, I guess, getting their chains torched off the train tracks by police who were trying to give way to a train transport of radioactive waste that a then conservative provincial government headed by a Premier without much insight in what this material was really about, decided to transport it to an inappropriate temporary storage facility in a salt stock – Gorleben, Germany. After left-wing terror had marked the 70ies, the whole opposition movement renewed with the civil disobedience of the anti nuclear demos in the 80ies. Entire families split up over the dispute, there were street fighting scenes repeatedly in the news – did nobody watch this here in Canada? Just one thing comes to mind: from the 80ties to 2000 is twenty years. That’s how long it took in Germany to write that motion into legislature, approximately the same time it took the Green Party to get into power and initiate Germany’s phase out.

Germany was also known for it’s massively bureaucratic and time consuming government and administration, but things have changed a lot. Renewable energies employ as many people as the automotive sector, I’m guessing, more by now. It’s a way to make “good” (in the true sense of the meaning) money for investors, empower communities to improve the general electricity supply and energy suppliers to save enormous amounts of money because they don’t need to build costly, unreliable reactors, with all the savings from efficiency and co generation.

North America is known for it’s great flexibility – where is it now, and, when did it disappear? With manufacturing in a crisis, strict building standards could boost local economy and be a real way to buffer up the US economy implications – besides, I could take my tuque of inside, and my hands would not get so cold while typing, either.

Our lyrics are in your face because we are OUTRAGED and not tolerating the rape of culture and communities driven by short sighted profit operations, of which – to extend the elephant in the room to its mind boggling dimensions – Uranium mining in low grade Sharbot Lake (60 lakes are water connected through the Rideau) is just another example.

It’s time to change tracks…

more info is here:



Leading carbon trading critics, proponents to debate in Ottawa on January 25, 2008

Donna Dillman, Community Coalition Against Uranium Mining

Helena Olivas, Delphi Group

Stephen Hazell, Executive Director of the Sierra Club of Canada

Larry Lohmann, Author of Carbon Trading: A Critical Conversation on Climate Change, Privatization and Power, Durban Group for Climate Justice

Jutta Kill, Forests and the European Union Resource Network, Durban Group for Climate Justice

A free public panel to debate the strengths, weaknesses, threats and opportunities of carbon trading and other free-market based mechanisms for addressing climate change.

19:30, January 25, 2008.

University of Ottawa, Art Building Room 026

As politicians and corporations are increasingly responding to the public’s demand for action on sustainability and climate change, certain voices and solutions are being left out of the debate. This debate will bring together critics of carbon trading with those who advocate carbon trading as a viable tool for addressing climate change in what is sure to be a thought-provoking and challenging panel.

Sponsored by the Sierra Youth Coalition, the Student Federation of the University of Ottawa, Indigenous Environmental Network and the Environmental Justice Organizing Institute.

Monique Woolnough
Phone: 647-637-7063
Email: ontario@syc-cjs.org
Web: www.syc-cjs.org/sustainable/ontario
**Interviews Available**


Day of Action: Demand a Canadian Energy Strategy on February 2, 2008

Send Stephen Harper a Mitten.

Canadians experience long, cold winter months. As the snow starts to fly, our thoughts turn to staying warm. To do that, we need energy to heat our homes. But right now, Canada does not have a national energy strategy that addresses where our energy comes from, where it is going, or the high price of environmental devastation that can come with producing it.

That is why the Council of Canadians is organizing Take Charge! A National Day of Action to Demand a Canadian Energy Strategy on Saturday, February 2, 2008.

For more information go to http://www.canadians.org/energy/action/index.html

PEACEWORK release – a lot of fun!

PEACEWORK and Bova Sound – good vibrations!

Phillip Shaw Bova
Scott Arena
Philip Victor Bova
Maren Molthan

PEACEWORK – all together now!

Tanya Barkhouse
Peter Woods
Phillip Shaw Bova
Scott Arena
Philip Victor Bova
Maren Molthan
Eric Hasnick (hiding)
Gale Edmunds


Tanya Barkhouse
Gale Edmunds

all photos by Gord Glaze (www.commeleon.com) – he went home to get the camera and shot tons of fantastic photos, thanx so much, Gord!!!

Canada under fire for flouting federal global warming law

(Ottawa, Canada, November 29, 2007) Just days before Canadian Environment Minister John Baird leaves for the UN Climate Change Conference in Bali, Canada is facing a second legal challenge for missing a key deadline under global warming legislation passed into law earlier this year. The government was served late yesterday with a second Application for Judicial Review for violating the Kyoto Protocol Implementation Act (KPIA), the Canadian federal law that requires reductions in greenhouse gas emissions according to the Kyoto Protocol commitment.

The application was filed on behalf of Friends of the Earth Canada by Chris Paliare of the firm Paliare Roland Barristers and Ecojustice (formerly Sierra Legal). The application alleges that the federal Minister of the Environment and the Governor in Council, consisting of federal cabinet ministers, are ignoring the rule of law by failing to comply with yet another requirement of the KPIA.

The federal government was legally required to publish draft regulations by October 20, 2007 that would enable Canada to meet the requirements of the Kyoto Protocol. By failing to do so, it is out of compliance with the KPIA, thus triggering the second legal challenge.

“This new application, while relevant to climate change, is all about holding the Government of Canada accountable under Canadian law,” says lawyer Chris Paliare. “Despite a clear requirement to publish draft regulations, no action whatsoever has been taken. Once again, we are simply asking the court to require the government to comply with its legal obligations.”

“Missing this deadline demonstrates that Canada continues to be missing in action on global warming,” says Ecojustice lawyer Hugh Wilkins. “We cannot sit idly by while the government drags its feet and flouts our laws. The government must be held accountable to the will of the Canadian people and the will of Parliament.”

“The Canadian Government is ignoring its obligation to uphold its own laws, while seeking to undermine global negotiations on the defining issue of our lives,” says Friends of the Earth Canada Chief Executive Officer Beatrice Olivastri. “Canadians must insist on enforcement of the KPIA, our domestic law, so that we lead by action, rather than bullying other nations.”

For more information, please download the application at www.ecojustice.ca

PEACEWORK – choices: program details

this is what it looks like when a chocolate bar packaging falls in love with an e-string… nothing like a g-string but nonetheless pretty tempting, isn’t it?! 🙂

By the way, this exact diy cd booklet took me about ten minutes to make (it all starts with an empty Kleenex Box, but I hope to have a movie on myspace soon ?)) – wonder what the exact definition of that word is).

I donated it to CASE, and I know for a fact that one of our fans bid $ 50 on it during their fundraiser last week on Saturday 10th – he confirmed now that the organizers notified him, that he was the winning guy.

Anyway, everybody who followed our invitation, thank you very much for your involvement and donations – what a magic night we had – no greater feeling than people coming together and celebrating within the same spirit – I know you won’t let us down tomorrow! PEACE!

PEACEWORK cd release “choices”

SAT NOV 17th
baldachin inn ballroom (www.baldachin.com)
111 st lawrence @ main
613 269 4223

approximate program:

8 pm doors open

“12strings2bodies” – the acoustic set

“live saver” – co2-neutral diy cd packaging and why we still want the whole f…ing bakery

“choices” – the full band set

complete line-up:
lead and back vocals, rhythm and lead guitar: Maren Molthan & Scott Arena
bass, backvocals: Phillip Victor Bova (bova sound)
drums: Philip Shaw Bova (Hilotrons)
keyboard: Erik Hasnick (Jimi Knox And The Group)
saxophone: Peter Woods (jazz duo with Brian Browne)
back vocals: Gayle Edmunds and Tanya Barkhouse (Uncommon Ground)

PEACEWORK: Independent soul formation releases debut CD in Merrickville

Are you ready? Love and Peace Maren & Scott

myspace.com/peacework maren@peaceworkband.ca scott@peaceworkband.ca

Press release:

PEACEWORK: Independent soul formation releases debut CD in Merrickville

SAT 17th November 2007
doors open 8 pm

baldachin inn ballroom (www.baldachin.com)
111 st lawrence @ main
613 269 4223

tickets @ harry mclean’s pub (same address) or from the band $ 20 includes admission and cd at door

There are ten songs on the album “choices” – containing brand new material, Scott points out: “Just To Be With You” is a song that I wrote for Maren, when we were visiting her family in Germany earlier this year. It was awesome to present it only three days later on a huge Berlin outdoor stage where one of her friends put us up to play for the Green Party on a worker’s day celebration (bits and pieces of that experience soon on myspace). There were easily 10 000 people

PEACEWORK Marianenplatz, Berlin, Germany

gathering – it is then when you realize that people can make a difference every day, with your choices where to shop, how to travel or commute, how to work, what to eat – everything is connected. And that is how we got our band motto, every step counts!”

Maren Molthan and Scott Arena founded the band PEACEWORK three years ago. They both play guitar and sing. The CD contains entirely original material, groovy songs with a message. “Have It All”, first on the cd, is a typical example, explains Maren: “I was listening to CBC when George W got reelected, and just felt devastated, he would have another four years to ruin the country some more… so many people left the government that day, and I remember all those applications for Canadian residency or even citizenship coming in from down there – three hours and a heated discussion later, the song was basically written – we have too much at stake to let foolish marionettes in politics carry out the monstrous ways of unsustainable neo-economics. To write that song was our way to speak out against the arrogance!”

In addition to the ten audio files that can be played on cd players, the artists threw in two movies, all songs in mp3 format and the lyrics of the songs in pdf – included on the data part of the cd – a part that windows and mac computers will be able to read. “It was kind of important for both of us, to have something physical like a cd, but we sure are fascinated with the digital market – maybe we’ll do the next album on a USB-drive, like the Barenaked Ladies. We like the idea of reusing things and giving the consumer a “choice” … that word is just everywhere”, smile the musicians.

Very proud are the two song writers to have the Phils from Bova Sound, Ottawa, play drums and bass. They are a father and son team and also produced the PEACEWORK cd (and Scott’s first with his former band Free Souls). Phillip Victor Bova (bass) and Philip Shaw Bova (drums) are also known for their superb analog guitar and mic preamps, regularly sold from their company Sage to the band members of Tom Petty and other successful Rock’n Rollers.

Furthermore will the band receive reinforcement in form of hot and holy back vocals by two local female singers known from gigs in the area with the formation Uncommon Ground.

A message from the band:

we’ve got two songs up from our brand new cd (check CD Baby and itunes etc. after the release) –

Listen for free and come out to the release in Merrickville – nice break from the big city, as there are tons of lovely b&b’s right in town, and with the various arts and artisan stores you might get some x-mas shopping done at the same time.

Think twice: Your dollar is going to make a big difference in a Canadian community instead of going to a big corporation!

PEACE OUT, everybody!


With Joan Kuyek, National CO-ordinator of MiningWatch Canada, and Marilyn Crawford, Community Coalition Against Mining Uranium (CCAMU) and Co-Chair, MiningWatch Canada

Joan Newman Kuyek has been the National Co-ordinator of Mining Watch Canada – a pan-Canadian coalition of environmental, labour, social justice and Aboriginal groups – since its inception in April 1999. She has a long history as an adult educator and community development practitioner. She founded and organized two community development corporations in Sudbury, and has worked for The Church and the Economic Crisis Project of the United Church of Canada, the World Council of Churches and for the Sudbury Community Legal Clinic. In 1995, her community work was recognized with an honorary doctorate of Social Work from Laurentian University.

Marilyn Crawford has been working for the past 6 years on issues related to staking of mining claims and exploration. Her main focus has been the Ontario’s Mining Act and the system of ‘free entry’ that affords privileges and rights to enter, occupy and use lands in search of minerals. Marilyn works with Bedford Mining Alert, the Community Coalition Against Mining Uranium and is co-chair of MiningWatch Canada.

WEDNESDY, NOVEMBER 21/ 7pm to 9pm
Hintonberg Community Centre,
1064 Wellington St Ottawa, ON


Date: 25/10/2007
Author: News
The nuclear industry continues to show failings in reliability by shutting down nearly half of the UK’s reactor fleet for maintenance this week, even as the Government finalizes its consultation on a new generation of British nuclear power.

British Energy was forced to admit that seven of the UK’s 19 nuclear reactors had been shut down: five for routine maintenance, two on the discovery of internal faults.

Hartlepool and Heysham were closed due to an ‘issue with wire winding’, which could delay their reopening even further.

Former environment secretary Michael Meacher described the situation as ‘extremely worrying’.

He told the BBC that when it comes to energy delivery, ‘One needs certainty, and the nuclear industry doesn’t provide it.’


mdchc checking origin of form

Hello Maren,

As discussed during our telephone conversation last week, I have taken your concern to our Management Team for discussion. I wanted to determine how the form had been developed and confirm the data collection requirements of CHC’s across the province. I hope that you had the opportunity during the week to check out the Association of Ontario Community Health Centres (AOHC) website to find out more about the work of Community Health Centres in Ontario communities. The website is www.aohc.org. While CHC’s provide medical services there are
also other broader programs and initiatives provided in the community depending upon community needs.

We are reviewing our forms and checking with colleagues in other CHC’s regarding the wording, which had been taken directly from a CHC Program Evaluation User Guide provided to us. While we are required to collect the information, as are all 55 CHC’s in the province, we will review the
way the questions have been worded and look at expanding the statement at the bottom of the form explaining the purpose of collecting this information.

Thank you for sharing your concerns with us.



Ruth Dimopoulos BSC.PT
Health Services Co-ordinator
Registered Physiotherapist
Merrickville District Community Health Centre
Phone: 613-269-3400 x228 Fax: 613-269-4958
Website: www.mdchc.on.ca
Email: ruth@mdchc.on.ca

Open letter to Merrickville’s District Clinic Health Centre

Dear Ruth,

thanx for our conversation on the phone last Wednesday (?), I think it was,..
I finally found some time to read up on things I wanted to check before critiquing your questionnaire CLIENT REGISTRATION FORM, where patients are asked to specify their race/ethnic origin, when a second question right afterwards enquires about their “country of origin” which made me think long and hard. I wanted to at least superficially research this complex which I have been able to just tonight.

Sorry for the delay. Unfortunately I haven’t found anything on the Health Canada pages, which would explain (guidelines? good practise? not really), why such question was required. And besides, Health Canada is already asking that or the like at the border:


As I haven’t been in time yet to try on the phone, I am sending this letter also to the media staff of the health ministry, and some members of the press – I hope a lot of people are going to have a look at or even join in this discussion:

I tried to find out where the discussion was at, whether the term “race” is scientifically defined or, at all, describes a scientifically approved concept. I noticed, that nothing much had changed, as I can confirm due to my own work in science as a biologist. This discussion has been going on for longer and I am only referring to one very recent tip of it here:


It might serve as a starting point for other interesting sources of information (Richard Dawkins, Jared Diamond etc).

However, we now seem to only share 94 percent of our genes with the Chimpanzee, instead of 98 percent some years ago, according to the latest research.

My summary here:
To know a person’s body’s constitution helps to diagnose and treat patients better – no doubt here as illustrates the above noted web page:

“Sickle cell anemia, most closely identified in the United States with black Americans, is often found in African and Mediterranean peoples, …

Conversely, cystic fibrosis is a common genetic disorder in people of northern European descent, but far less so in Africans.

Those are both diseases that are caused by a single mutation, so the genetic link is clear-cut. [sickle cell and cystic fibrosis]

… , African Americans seem to have a higher frequency of one mutation that reduces the liver’s ability to break down certain tricyclic antidepressant drugs, …

Blacks also have a higher frequency of a mutation that increases the speed at which a newer class of antidepressants, such as Prozac, take effect.

About 8 percent of whites carry a mutation that would cause trouble with warfarin, a blood-thinning drug, compared to 2 or 3 percent of blacks.

Last year, the New England Journal of Medicine published a study showing that African Americans with heart failure were less likely than whites to benefit from a type of drug known as an ACE inhibitor.”

(end of quote of the above web page)

Taking the risk of crashing open doors I can’t but list some points which seem important in this context:

The exterior (phenotype) expression of a “race” – solely out of mid age convenience I’ll stick with the criteria in the internet discussion from above, because I am sure that there are plenty of scientist who would dispute these as defining attributes: nose, hair, skin – represent different alleles on the molecular level, varieties of one gene – that all populations – and to 94 percent even the Chimps – share.
The genetic disposition can be much more diversified as the actual “look” of that person. People can carry two different alleles, coming from their parents gene-disposition, even from far gone by ancestry – somebody’s “race” might not be so easy for any of us to reveal.
The experts argue long and hard, if the molecular disposition of a person allows for conclusions about geographic details of that same person.

The Wikipedia entry on the term offers orientation, too:

“Some argue that although “race” is a valid taxonomic (note of the editor: = classifying) concept in other species, it cannot be applied to humans.[3] Many scientists have argued that race definitions are imprecise, arbitrary, derived from custom, have many exceptions, have many gradations, and that the numbers of races delineated vary according to the culture making the racial distinctions; thus they reject the notion that any definition of race pertaining to humans can have taxonomic rigour and validity.[4] Today most scientists study human genotypic and phenotypic variation using concepts such as “population” and “clinal gradation”. Many anthropologists contend that while the features on which racial categorizations are made may be based on genetic factors, the idea of race itself, and actual divisions of persons into groups based on selected hereditary features, are social constructs.”

It takes considerate writers to find the matching word. We have just tangentially touched the scientific discussion, and it’s already clear, that this is one of the hot spots of social life science and why the term “race” is very disputed and may seem offensive – why not avoid it altogether?

I think there are better ways of accessing that information that is so crucial to provide the right services to your community. On the same note I’d like to express my appreciation for the service that I received when I attended the pap-clinic – everybody was very friendly and helpful. I know the mdchc is trying hard to improve people’s health.

Therefore the following suggestions with my best wishes as a worshipper of appropriate wording and expression, and a scientist:

The second and third paragraph of the questionnaire need to be modified. In order to screen on any infectious potential the question

Where have you been travelling within the last two years?

seems much better suited.

Would that point out a certain increased risk, you could try to obtain details in the one-on-one (have you been exposed to farms, chickens, touched a bird, noticed a strange sting or bite on your skin), as usual.

To screen for potential diseases more common amongst people who share a certain phenotype – well, that poses challenge, and I know that the mdchc has an interest in what is politically correct. Should that really be required here, why don’t you ask your patients what they know about themselves instead of something that is so hard to describe, even for scientists (s.a.):

Please check boxes to indicate (cultural or family) ties with the following regions (multiple possible):

Central America, North America, South America, Middle East, India, Africa, South East Asia, China, Australia, Russia, Europe, Caribbeans, Pacific etc.

Upon registration – is the new patient at least seen by a nurse? The details need a private setting, which can be easily established with the nurse or office manager.

A far as I remember you on the phone as well as the staff lady who was at the counter when I started to try to find out more about the intention of question 2 and 3, explained to me upon my enquiry, that the mdchc was trying to provide an appropriate frame of care according to the conviction or any other personal choices of the individual patient. This can easily be addressed with this question:

Do you prefer a male/female family doctor?

Also here, a one-on-one will reveal necessary details (“Is there anything else we need to know in order to treat you appropriately?”).

Come on, guys!

What in the world could be the reason for using such a dirty and leached out looser of a word as



Jim Harding is a retired professor of environmental and justice studies and author of the just released Canada’s Deadly Secret: Saskatchewan Uranium and the Global Nuclear System (Fernwood, 2007).

The AECL’s Advanced Candu and Bush’s Global Nuclear Partnership

By Jim Harding

A few weeks before Stephen Harper went to the APEC meeting in Australia, ready to discuss George Bush’s Global Nuclear Energy Partnership (GNEP), the Energy Alberta Corporation (EAC) in consort with AECL announced its plan to build two Advanced Candu Reactors (ACRs) near Peace River, Alberta. Harper, EAC’s Wayne Henuset and AECL’s mandarins won’t want the public to connect the dots too quickly. Harper’s minority government might not weather a heated controversy over Canada importing nuclear wastes while having a huge unsolved nuclear waste problem of its own. That controversy erupted in the Australian election campaign after the Howard government indicated it would consider buying into Bush’s plan to have supplier countries take back and reprocess spent fuel.

The Seaborn Panel, the 9-year federal review of Canada’s nuclear wastes, never investigated Canada importing nuclear wastes, and reprocessing these wasn’t even on its radar screen. Rather, it concluded that deep geologic disposal of irradiated nuclear fuel is not acceptable to the Canadian public and recommended that the management of irradiated fuel be addressed by a body at arms length from the both the nuclear industry and government. Instead, the Chretien government mandated the industry-owned agency, the Nuclear Waste Management Organization (NWMO), to deal with the issue. Under the NWMO’s announced plan, irradiated fuel is to be stored at existing reactor sites for at least a generation, i.e. 30 years, before being moved to a centralized location and possibly being reprocessed before the high-level radioactive residues are buried in a deep geologic repository. Such reprocessing would create a highly radioactive corrosive liquid even more dangerous than the solid spent fuel rods, and the extracted plutonium will remain extraordinarily toxic for over 800 generations.

The large nuclear reactors (ACR-1000) that EAC wants to build in Alberta are justified as an environmentally-friendly alternative to the natural gas that is currently used to heat the tar sands. The fact that the tar sands are the dirtiest of all fossil fuels discredits the nuclear industry’s PR about being the clean, magic bullet for averting global warming. That’s bad enough. If it became widely known there was a hidden agenda about an international nuclear waste dump in Canada, then all the hype about clean nuclear energy providing economic development might begin to fall on deaf ears. Besides, the ACR-1000 reactor is only a design on paper and hasn’t been reality tested. Without the $200 million granted to AECL from the Harper government for design work, adding to the $17 billion dollars of subsidies since 1952, there’d be no chance at all of this project ever seeing the light of day. (Such large handouts of federal taxpayer’s money could become a contentious issue, given Alberta’s populist ideology of self-reliance.) Serious design flaws have already been noted by the 2004 Safety Assessment done for the U.S.’s Nuclear Reactor Regulation (NRR); most notably the risk of a Loss of Coolant Accident (LOCA) and core meltdown after a power surge resulting from a large or multiple pipe breakage.

AECL’s 180 degree About-Turn
The original Candu designers prided themselves on using heavy water (the “d” in Candu) as a moderator and coolant, so that natural uranium (the “u” in Candu) can be used as fuel. No enrichment of uranium is required. But the new ACRs will use light water as a coolant, and for that reason they will require slightly-enriched uranium (SEU) as a fuel. Why the flip-flop?

The basic motivation is to reduce costs, but there is a darker side to what AECL calls the ACR’s “fuel adaptability”. AECL’s Technical Summary for the ARC-1000 says it is “ideally suited to burn other fuels such as mixed oxides (MOX) and thorium.” MOX is a code word for a blend of uranium and plutonium. But “other fuels” can also be used and these include irradiated fuel elements from Light Water Reactors (LWR) such as used in the U.S., France, Japan and elsewhere. According to Gordon Edwards of the Canadian Coalition for Nuclear Responsibility, the ARC-1000 would be able “to make use of the “DUPIC” process, whereby spent LWR nuclear fuel is repackaged and used to fuel a Candu reactor.” The reason for this, he says, is that “the amount of fissile material (U-235 plus plutonium) in spent LWR fuel is more than enough to match” the requirements for SEU.

AECL is trying to put a responsible spin on this. It’s scientistic handlers used to assert that due to international safeguards there was no chance of uranium exported for nuclear power being diverted for weapons. Now they’ve created a new argument to market their “peaceful atom.” An AECL paper by nuclear engineer Jeremy Whitlock argues that the new Candu design will provide “unique synergism with LWR technology”, that it “can be used to disposition ex-weapons plutonium”, and, furthermore, that all this will be a “positive contribution to world peace.” The U.S.-based Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) disagrees, saying in its January 2006 statement on Bush’s GNEP, that “all reprocessing technologies are more proliferation-prone than direct disposal” of nuclear wastes.

AECL’s Unparalleled History of Botched Designs
The only advantage of the new Candu would be to the fledgling AECL. But don’t hold your breath waiting for the ARC-1000 to be up and running, for the list of botched AECL designs is lengthy. There was the Organic Cooled Reactor in Manitoba, which was an expensive dead end. There was the Candu Boiling Light Water Reactor in Quebec, which (without even including design costs) was a $126 million disaster. Then there was the Slowpoke Energy System, for which design work cost $45 million, which didn’t work properly. Next came the Candu-3, for which design work cost $75 million, which no one wanted. And the Candu-9, with design costs still secret, which was a no-go in South Korea. More recently AECL built the Maple Reactor at Chalk River, which threatens to become another technological and financial fiasco since the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) is refusing to even license it for operation.

The Candu industry has been a sinkhole for the Canadian taxpayer. Each Candu reactor built so far has required refurbishing costs equal to the original construction costs after only half of its projected operating life. And after 50 years in business, AECL has only sold 12 reactors abroad. In 1996, to try to justify its huge taxpayer subsidies, it set a goal of 10 sales by 2006. But only 3 sales occurred, including the Romanian Cernavada plant from a 1980 deal, which required another $328 million Canadian guarantee; and two plants at Qunshin in China that received $1.5 billion in Canadian Account financing. During this decade AECL lost sales to Turkey, Australia and South Korea. With this dismal record, AECL has done a design flip-flop, turning its back on natural uranium fuel to try to cash in on the worldwide nuclear waste crisis. But we must be on guard. While AECL is opportunistically promoting ACR’s which can use irradiated nuclear fuel from other countries, after 60 years they still haven’t cleaned up their radioactive mess at the Manitoba Whiteshell Lab, and their plan for cleaning up their contaminated Chalk River Lab, costing millions more for the taxpayer, remains obscure.

Enter George Bush and his GNEP
Beholding to huge federal subsidies, AECL is also beholding to U.S. President George Bush with his $405 million brainchild, the GNEP. The only thing “global” about this plan is the U.S. pretence to world hegemony, which seems delusional after the Iraq debacle. And the only partners to this proposed “global” plan would be countries already in the nuclear weapons club, along with their uranium suppliers. The agreement would make it mandatory for uranium suppliers to take back spent fuel from reactors abroad. The bargaining chip would be allowing enrichment facilities and nuclear power plants that use spent fuel in these countries. Some chip. We’d get to throw more public money down the nuclear drain, create and store even more dangerous nuclear waste, and have less capital to create truly sustainable, renewable energy systems to avert even more catastrophic climate change.

Bush’s plan would be unworkable without the major uranium exporting countries – Canada and Australia – involved. Luckily for Bush, both countries are governed by neo-conservative parties that also oppose Kyoto. Bush is presenting the GNEP as a means to control nuclear proliferation, while making nuclear power available globally, by not allowing enrichment facilities, or spent fuel to remain, that could be used to produce weapons. (This finally admits that the Non-Proliferation Treaty is not an effective guarantee against proliferation from nuclear power plants.) The converse of this is that GNEP members would preserve a near monopoly on nuclear technology and weapons. No wonder, in the context of discussing billions living in inhuman conditions, climate change and the potential for nuclear holocaust, the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Dr. ElBaradei, in a Sept 03/07 interview with Der Spiegel, said “we are moving rapidly towards an abyss”. With a real sense of urgency, he said that, “in order to seem credible to the nuclear wannabe states we must demand steps towards nuclear disarmament from those who have nuclear weapons – an obligation that is stipulated in the non-proliferation treaty but is not complied with.” He goes on to deplore what he calls “this two-faced approach” since “If practically all nuclear powers are modernizing instead of reducing their arsenals, how can we argue with the non-nuclear states?”

More pragmatically, the GNEP would provide “a way out” for the nuclear powers, none of which has any fundamental solution to their own mounting nuclear waste problem. As the world’s major supplier of uranium, Canada, under the GNEP, could be required to take nuclear wastes back from the largest users of nuclear power – the U.S., France and Japan. The elements therefore exist for a dangerous nuclear expansion strategy in Canada. First, a Candu redesign requiring some uranium enrichment that can be used as a justification for importing nuclear wastes to reprocess as fuel, and then the tar sands as a justification for building this new generation of nuclear plants. And, finally, lest we forget, we have the huge Saskatchewan uranium industry supplying the raw material to the nuclear powers, which, under the GNEP, would require that nuclear wastes be brought back to Canada.

Nuclear and Kyoto: The Big Disconnect
The first I heard of Canada “repatriating” spent fuel was when AECL and Saskatchewan’s uranium multinational, Cameco, advocated this in the early 1990s. At the time they were both working towards an integrated uranium-nuclear industry. Now Cameco operates the Bruce Candu plants and a uranium refinery in Ontario, and, with a sympathetic Prime Minister from Alberta, AECL is trying to base itself in its north. It seems the AECL and Cameco were flying this trial balloon of us taking back nuclear wastes long before George Bush or Stephen Harper were elected. Could the tail be wagging the dog?

It’s no accident that the GNEP is spearheaded in countries refusing to support the Kyoto Accord. Kyoto sets targets for reducing greenhouse gases (GHGs), which mostly come from fossil fuels. However, business and government interests in oil-dependent countries (including countries like Canada, i.e. Alberta, dependent on exporting oil) don’t want anything to slow down their profit and royalty-gushing ventures. Meanwhile efficiency, geothermal, wind and solar electricity are proving to be the most cost-effective ways to quickly lower GHGs, which doesn’t sit well with the nuclear industry’s comeback strategy of stressing itself as the clean alternative to fossil fuels. Furthermore, the 2001 Climate Change Conference in Bonn rejected nuclear as a solution to climate change partly because nuclear will steal capital from the cheaper, less risky, more effective renewable alternatives. So the nuclear industry is primarily looking to the countries outside Kyoto for support. It helped when George Bush’s 2005 Energy Bill gave another $13 billion subsidies to the industry, and a privatized electrical market allowed U.S. nuclear plants to displace “stranded costs” on to the consumer. And it certainly helped AECL when the Harper government, continuing the Liberal practice of bailing out the nuclear industry, provided millions to design the ARC.

Harper’s government has tried to low-key its involvement with Bush’s GNEP, but we know from a Canadian Press Access to Information request that his government has been seriously involved in discussions about this since at least March 2006. While his aides, seemingly aware that this issue is politically explosive, tried to downplay the “secret agenda” item at the APEC forum, Natural Resources Minister Lund has been more candid. In reference to reprocessing spent fuel for new Candus, in the September 5, 2007 Globe and Mail, Lund is quoted as saying: “as the technology evolves, it’s something we’ll see”. The next day this was “corrected” and it reported that the Canadian government hadn’t yet decided on supporting such reprocessing. At the end of the APEC meeting, Harper’s Foreign Minister Bernier said that the Canadian government had just about decided about the GNEP. This is more smoke and mirrors, as Harper had already funded the ARC, which AECL promotes as being able to use reprocessed spent fuel, and his government has enthusiastically supported the ARC being built in the tar sands. All this from the man who so righteously attacked the Liberals for being unaccountable for far less consequential and less expensive matters.

Meanwhile the Canadian Nuclear Association (CNA) is forthright about its support for enriching uranium and importing nuclear wastes. CNA President Murray Elston even uses the high price of raw uranium as a reason to support nuclear waste as the fuel of future choice. He continues the practice of the CNA providing disinformation to the public, saying in the Sept. 5, 2007 Globe and Mail that, “nuclear military powers have been reprocessing and transporting nuclear waste for years, and have proven it can be done safely.” Plutonium contamination at the U.S. Rocky Flats plant, France’s nuclear conglomerate Areva contaminating the North Sea, radioactive contamination of the Irish Sea along with detectable levels of plutonium in children’s teeth emitted from England’s Windscale/Sellafield reprocessing plant, and various weapons countries losing nuclear weapons grade uranium is apparently “safe” to the CNA.

Lessons from AECL’s Saskatchewan Shenanigans
We saw a similar process as what is now happening in Alberta in my home province from 1989-91, when AECL had another private company front the proposed building of a Candu-3 in our North. (AECL also tried but failed to sell its Slowpoke 3 to the University of Saskatchewan at the time.) AECL used every manipulative trick in the book, including inflating energy growth to make us fear we’d freeze in the dark without nuclear power. (They forecast a shortfall of electricity in Saskatchewan by 2000 unless a Candu reactor was built.) They wined and dined local politicians and businessmen on trips to Ontario’s Candus, as they are now doing with Albertans. And they tried to bribe us – during a slump in the economy – with the economic opportunities of a Candu-3 export industry based in our province. And they made no mention of the huge taxpayers subsidies that made it possible for them to float such grandiose schemes.

Under Grant Devine’s Tories, who privatized the uranium crown Cameco, AECL got the public utility Sask Power on side for a while, though their figures never jibed. At one point, as many jobs were promised from constructing one Candu-3 as came in total from the massive Ontario Darlington 8-reactor complex. There was lots of nuclear hype that got favourable coverage by the well-oiled and parochial provincial media. But, as with so many other AECL projects, the Candu-3 was never built, anywhere, as Saskatchewan people and third world countries alike rejected the contrived plan. And we are doing fine in 2007, with no black outs and no nuclear plants; though the Tory-like Sask Party and its Premier-in-waiting Brad Wall seem to think we should have one even if its not needed. We have a few wind farms, and, yes, uranium exports remain the bulk of primary energy production and export. The NDP government which spearheaded uranium expansion in the 1970s publicly opposes nuclear power without wanting to admit that they have been willing and essential pawns in the nuclear expansion strategy, which we now see taking shape with Bush’s GNEP and Harper’s compliance.

Saskatchewan and Alberta people are now interlocked in this geo-political drama. We will have to be vigilant about creating a future based on sustainable, renewable energy while phasing out the uranium-nuclear industry; or see both our provinces become the dangerous playground of a nuclear industry that expands by economic bribery and political bailout.




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.






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?


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

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.


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 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.


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.


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.


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.


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



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?


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…



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


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

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:

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:
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:

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:


“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
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.

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!