| Nov 22, 2007

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Feature Article - November 22, 2007

Donna Dillman Rebuffed by McGuinty's Officeby Jeff Green

Hunger striker vows to take her protest to Queen’s Park.Donna Dillman is leaving her trailer outside the gate of the Robertsville mine this week, but she will continue her hunger strike, which is now 44 days old.

After participating in a Green Party meeting on the weekend, Dillman will travel to Toronto, where she will begin a daily protest on the steps of the Ontario Legislature.

“It very much feels like the universe is moving me to Toronto. It is not my first choice, but there is a huge population there, and all the MPPs work there.”


Last Friday, Donna Dillman and a group protesters, went to Premier McGuinty’s constituency office, where she had made an appointment to meet with John Frazer, who runs the office.

“Since I had an appointment, I was surprised when Mr. Frazer informed me that I was not to be allowed into the building,” Dillman recalls.

According to Lynn Daniluk, who has been recording the uranium protest in a series of widely distributed emails under the heading “Uranium News”, “Mr Frazer said it was a matter of safety and that they never let protesters enter the building.”

Frazer also informed Donna Dillman that Premier McGuinty had couriered a response to the 11th letter that she has sent him since beginning her hunger strike.

McGuinty’s letter represents his first response to her, and in it he entreats her to end her hunger strike.

The letter says, in part, “I understand that you are staging a hunger strike. Let me say that, while everyone has a right to freedom of expression, endangering your health is not the answer to solving this issue. It is my hope, therefore, that you will reconsider your decision in this regard.”

“He is concerned about me endangering my health, yet he is endangering the health of all of our children with his policies,” Dillman said in response to McGuinty’s letter.

Although Donna Dillman is taking her message to Toronto, a band of protesters has vowed to maintain a presence outside the gate at the Robertsville mine.

Mediation date to be set today

In his letter to Donna Dillman, Premier Dalton McGuinty made reference to a mediation process.

“As I am sure you are aware, project stakeholders are currently involved in a 12-week mediation process. As the mediation is underway, and in order to ensure the impartiality of the process, it would be inappropriate for me to comment on this issue,” McGuinty wrote.

Richard Moore, an Ottawa-based lawyer and mediator, has been engaged to mediate the dispute between the Ardoch and Shabot Obaadjiwaan First Nations, the Province of Ontario, and Frontenac Ventures Corporation. At this time, it appears that the Government of Canada, and the Algonquin Negotiation Representatives, the body that is in the midst of negotiating a land claim that includes the 30,000 acre Frontenac Ventures mining claim, will not be a party to the negotiations.

Moore visited the protesters camped outside the Robertsville mine last Thursday. As late as this Monday, a dispute over the location of tents and port-a-potties by the mine gate threatened to scuttle the mediation, but a meeting between all of the lawyers is scheduled to be held at the offices of Neal Smitheman (Frontenac Ventures lead lawyer) to set up a first mediation meeting. It is expected the meeting will take place in the vicinity of Sharbot Lake, probably in early December.

Whether the mediation will be closed or open to the public in some way is yet to be determined.

In the meantime, Frontenac Ventures has stepped up its activities at the Robertsville site in preparation for the resumption of preliminary exploration activities.

Frontenac Ventures was locked out of their exploration site by the Ardoch and Shabot Obaadjiwaan First Nations on June 28, and only returned a week ago.

An information toll is being organized by the Ardoch and Shabot Obaadjiwaan First Nations for the Mississippi Bridge near Carleton Place on Saturday between 1 and 4 o’clock. It will be followed by a potluck sweetgrass social at the Maberly Hall from 4-9 pm.

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