Feature article January 27, 2005LAND O' LAKES NewsWeb Home
Not just Window dressing
It was with some disappointment that I read the article on Mining Rights Activists in the paper on January 13.(see Mining Rights Activists meet with Cabinet Ministers) As some of your readers may be aware, I have been involved both with the Bedford Mining Alert and other groups in the past and have been myself an outspoken critic of the Mining Act of Ontario and weaknesses in the administration of it.
I sit on The Ministers Mining Act Advisory Committee (MMAAC). My seat on the committee is that of the Federation of Ontario Cottages Associations, which represents some 90,000 property owners and an estimated 250,000 property users throughout both Northern and Southern Ontario. MMAAC is a group of 20 mining industry stakeholders with varied backgrounds and interests including prospector associations, first nations groups, junior and senior mining companies, municipalities and environmental interest groups. This is the advisory group Mr. McKillop, speaking for BMA, refers to in your article and the one whos recent efforts he suggests have produced just window dressing. I take exception to this statement.
As soon as the new Minister of Northern Development and Mines, Rick Bartolucci was fully briefed on the issues between prospectors and surface rights holders he reconvened the MMAAC and instructed us to move forward with recommendations to update sections of the Mining Act untouched for over 100 years. He also asked for a second group to work on recommendations for less intrusive policies where surface rights lands were involved. The second group I had the honour of acting as chairman for and the first group I sat on the subcommittee and played an active part in as well. In his instructions the Minister also gave us a deadline of year end 2004.
On December 7, 2004 the MMAAC group as a whole reviewed and supported unanimously the recommendations of the two subcommittees and moved them on to the Minister.
I believe the Minister wants these issues resolved and that he has the support of many of his fellow Cabinet Ministers including Leona Dombrowski Minister of the Environment and our local MPP.
The window dressing comment is grossly unfair to the two Ministers, MNDM advisory staff and the MMAAC committee members who gave a great deal of personal time and expertise to work on this project. From my perspective this issue has received its fair share of attention to date and I have no reason to believe either Minister Bartolucci or Cabinet will dismiss our recommendations.
The final recommendation of the first group on Section 32 reform proposes an amendment that would provide clear restrictions to staking and assessment work on private surface rights, and provide notice of staking, notice of assessment work and in case of improved lands, consent of the surface rights owner to perform assessment work.
The second group in addition to a substantial background paper on map or electronic acquisition recommended as an interim solution the creation of a new regulation which would allow for non intrusive acquisition of mining lands anywhere there are incumbent surface rights in the Province.
These two proposals, if and when adopted by the government, will go a long way to resolving differences between explorationists and private landholders. They also go a long way in instructing both the Provincial Mining Recorders and the Mining and Lands Commissioner how to deal with disputes between the two.
Mr. McKillup and BMAs rational for calling the proposals window dressing is the Wollasco Price decision made by the Mining and Lands Commissioner 1 years ago and involving the Price family from Mountain Grove. Mr. McKillop feels the proposed changes are without value when the Commissioner has sweeping powers and a (history of) bias against the surface rights holder. No one has been more critical than I have about the Commissioners decision. I attended the original hearing with the Prices and helped them with documentation for their appeal to the Ontario Ombudsmans office. As the Frontenac News reported there has been a re visitation of the ruling and it is expected the Prices will be treated fairly after all. I am thankful for Leona Dombrowskis involvement in bringing this matter to the Ombudsman, a generous act of looking out for the best interests her constituents.
There is no doubt the Ombudsmans review and correction of the Mining and Lands Commissioner will have an impact on the way she deals with surface rights holders in the future. I can assure you it wont be the highlight of her career. I agree there is a need to bring about some procedural reform to her office. As the details of the Ombudsmans decision come forward I will be asking the appropriate parties for further comment and or action. However I would be the last one to deny her the right of fair hearing and due process. Its unfortunate that the Prices had to wait for their day but this is proof, again thanks to Leona the system works.
BMA has concerns over mining and the environment as well as a feeling that the Mining Act makes mining the preferred land use in the province. If this were the case, the City of Kingston wouldnt be able to dismiss a mining proponent in their rural area by refusing the application to rezone the property from agricultural to mining.
BMA at its beginning wanted reforms to the Mining Act which they articulated almost word for word with the changes currently proposed by MMAAC. I know
I was there. Being an activist today isnt what it was in the 60s. Today if you want to change things you have to work with the other side and follow due process. You have to pick your battles and accept you wont win them all.
The window dressing comment is an unfortunate use of words by a group wanting change. It only serves to discourage those working hard to help their cause.
- Peter Griesbach, Sydenham
RE: Mazinaw Musings by Bill Rowsome of Jan. 6th, 2005. Tsunami & Mankind. 3rd and 4th paragraphs.
Mr. Rowsome links the USAs two atomic bomb attacks, in Japan to finally end WW II on all fronts for the Allies, to the current Iraqi situation!!!!!!! Please, sir, broaden your horizons. Thats a very cheap shot! Yes, the tsunami did wreak havoc and suffering and yes, the global community is responding and assisting including the USA!
Shall we take a look at history: The horrors and
suffering perpetrated by the Revolutions; the Crusades;
the Inquisition; the French/Dutch/English/Portuguese & Spanish conquests and pillaging of the three Americas; WW I; the Nazi, Fascist & Japanese crimes of WW II; the ongoing Chinese massacres in Nepal & Tibet; not to mention the whole of the various African bloodbaths; the Balkans; the suppression of aboriginals all over the planet; etc. etc.
Many self-abuses contribute to the current consciousness and health issues such as alcohol and meat consumption; too much salt, sex, sugar, strong coffee, drugs, fat, anger, greed, jealousy, hatred, violence; a strong hypnotic fixation with TV and all manner of electronic devices which include the Internet, etc. in addition to your mentioned obesity and tobacco smoking. A positive, constructive attitude of gratitude is a must for a good life as long as we are alive and linked to the Universal Source of life and energy or God/Godess, Allah, Christ, Buddha, Krishna, etc. Love first for our own godself and then our neighbours. In short, we are all spiritual beings guests or students of life having an earthly experience on this much abused planet. It may come as a surprise to learn that the upheavals and problems on our earth planet are the direct results of all the discord, impurity and
malice generated on the planet by human beings
surely a great responsibility as we live and breathe. It is high time to wake up to the myths of the ages andsearch for truth.
G. F. Landreville, AMF CFICCRe: Why the Mayor bashing
First-I have read the letter from Mr Pollard and would like to correct him on one point. I was surprised myself to learn that the procedural bylaw in this township does give the mayor the right to vote on all counts--not just to break a tie.
Regarding the suggestion that the position of mayor should be a full-time job--I am full of misgivings.The board of governors of any institution oversees the overall operation of that institution. The CEO of that institution (perhaps equivalent to our township clerk administrator) appears at board meetings and reports on the ongoing operations. The President of the board does not get involved in the day to day operations. We elected our mayor --at large-- as president of our board.The mayor is responsible for presiding at council meetings and representing our township. It would seem to me that we already have a CEO.Another thought--if we elect a CEO and he or she does not do the job, we're stuck for 4 years whereas a hired CEO would necessarily have a probation period-plus we already have one--don't we?
Regarding the suggestion that our councillors should be elected at large--I've got even more misgivings. Our township covers a wide area. Someone who lives in a town or village might not be able to relate to some of the problems out in the rural area. There is no way that any candidate for council can get to meet all of our taxpayers--so the taxpayers , come voting time,will either not vote at all because they don't know enough about the candidates, or out of five candidates, they might only vote for two--whose names they recognize. Either way--a screwed up election and more voter apathy.
If you look at a map of the township [it's on the web] you will see that the size of the 4 districts are pretty equal, but the concentration of taxpayers appears to follow road 38.I'm all for representation by population but I do worry that this could lead to a majority of the councillors representing this already well populated area,and perhaps the needs and concerns of the outlying areas would not get met . As I see it--our councillors are our contacts to the board. I realize that perhaps the number of councillors should be decreased but I would prefer that our representation be diverse--if not by previous township--then by area.
I would also like to see better publicity about the various committees and information about how to get on them.I'm inclined to think that there are people in our township who would like to get involved--even in a small way--if they were encouraged to do so.
Thank you, Marg Purtell
The lines of communication are open.
The flurry of activity within Central Frontenacs public forums are abounding with letters concerning the road maintenance issue. This is a good thing as now the people are coming forth to express both positive and negative opinions, which will in turn bring issues such as the roads into the public eye allowing the people to get more involved with their community.
Just let me clear up one little issue. The performance of the roads crew is not and never has been the major concern here. If the roads crew has been told differently they have been gravely misled. The main problem is the timing of the dispatch. If a 4 am dispatch is not getting to the public in time then maybe a 2 am dispatch should be implemented. Just a suggestion.
I have spoken to 6 of the areas councilors and have all have been most attentive to my concerns and questions. Not one of them spoke down to me and some even went to the extent of making phone calls on their end in order to put my concerns to rest! Thank you all. Their response still leads me to question why the Head of council must be so derogatory in his remarks; this is just a question, not bashing. When someone speaks rudely to myself or my family on not one but several occasions, well, I take offense to that, especially when it is uncalled for and unprovoked. Again just and honest statement. Not bashing.
Councilman Murray is my neighbor. He and his wife are my friends and his children are friends with my son. I believe he would be considered to be a well versed man with a strong constitution. What I saw the night I attended my first Council meeting I would consider to be bashing. The expressions I put forth in one of my public forums of choice just told it like it was. Simply and honestly.
And by the way why shouldnt neighbors help neighbors? Friends help friends? Whether by helping chop wood, exchange of child care or by pen?
Let us stop passing judgment on one another. This is unproductive to the common Good. No one thinks the same; thats what makes the world go round.
Maybe a roads committee would be a good idea, lets give it a try. If it works - great. If it doesnt - no harm done and we probably will have learned and benefited from the experience.
The members of this community should be able to voice their opinions, be heard and be able to make contributions to their community. Think of the community pride that will be felt all through the people. Its a great place to live here in Central Frontenac with lots to offer. Lets work together to keep it that way.