Jeff Green | Dec 27, 2007
Feature Article - December 20, 2007
Back toHomeFeature Article - December 20, 2007 Uranium Mediation Update by Jeff Green The mediation talks between the Shabot Obaadjiwaan and Ardoch Algonquins and the Government of Ontario faced more weather problems this week, when two days of scheduled talks were effectively truncated into a single half day because Cam Clark, a former Deputy Minister with the Ontario Ministry of Northern Development and Mines (MNDM) and the lead Ontario representative, did not get to Sharbot Lake until Tuesday at noon. He was accompanied by a representative from the Ministry of Aboriginal Affairs.
Until Cam Clark arrived, talks focused on some of the side issues, such as funding the mediation, scheduling, and the observing or monitoring of Frontenac Ventures’ activities at the disputed exploration site.
When Clark arrived, Steve Reynolds and Chris Reid, the lawyers for the two Algonquin Communities, wasted no time in expressing their anger over how the province has conducted itself in the court proceedings that led up to the mediation process. The court proceedings continue to hang over the mediation.
Cam Clark listened, and said that part of his role is to listen carefully to all of the grievances, but that he was not in a position to reverse government policy.
He said that he could only speak to how the government will act once he has received instructions.
Pressed about whether the government would be willing to concede that it had breached a duty to consult the Shabot and Ardoch Algonquins when it granted exploration permits to Frontenac Ventures on the disputed lands, Clark said the government would not be making any admissions about something as broad as the duty to consult over mining claims in this kind of mediation process. He said it could only be done in another forum, either a legal or political one.
He said that he is hoping to move beyond the issues that cannot be dealt with at the mediation table, and see if some agreement can be reached that applies to the specific situation at hand.
The mediation process is facing two deadlines. In early February, Frontenac Ventures Corporation will be in a position, according to a schedule of activities they submitted to the Ontario Superior Court, to begin a limited test-hole drilling program on the 30,000-acre mining claim they have established.
The Algonquins have vowed they will re-establish a blockade at the site in order to prevent drilling from taking place.
As well, contempt of court proceedings against members of the two Algonquin communities for breach of a court order are scheduled to resume on February 12, 2008.
The mediation is set to resume on January 7.