| Aug 23, 2007


Feature Article - August 23, 2007.class { BORDER-RIGHT: black 1pt solid; BORDER-TOP: #000 1pt solid; BORDER-LEFT: black 1pt solid; BORDER-BOTTOM: black 1pt solid } .class1 { BORDER-RIGHT: #9f5128 1pt solid; BORDER-TOP: #9f5128 1pt solid; BORDER-LEFT: #9f5128 1pt solid; BORDER-BOTTOM: #9f5128 1pt solid } .class2 { FONT-SIZE: 8pt; COLOR: #666 }

Back toHome

Feature Article - August 23, 2007

Defiance greets interim injunction:Algonquins vow to remain at Robertsville:Judge calls parties back to court

by Jeff Green

Members of the Shabot Obaadjiwaan and Ardoch Algonquin First Nations kept their camp in place last week as a court-imposed deadline for them to leave the Robertsville mine site came and went.

Late on Wednesday, August 15, Judge Thomson of the Kingston Superior Court delivered an interim ruling to lawyers for the Algonquin First Nations and Frontenac Ventures Corporation concerning access to the site and to 30,000 acres of land where the company had been carrying out uranium exploration until the Algonquins began an occupation on June 28.

Riena

The judge ruled that the camp be shut down within 48 hours, and that neither side attempt to enter the mine site or any of the 30,000 acre property until a full hearing on the matter could be concluded. The hearing had been scheduled to start on September 20.

This was a result that neither the Algonquin occupiers, nor Frontenac Ventures, had been seeking. Frontenac Ventures asked to be permitted to drill 20 test holes in one section of the territory, and the Algonquins had asked the judge to simply adjourn the case until September 20.

After the ruling, the Shabot Obaadjiwaan and Ardoch Algonquins both communicated to OPP officials that they had no intention of leaving the site.

The OPP took no action.

On Saturday morning, once 48 hours had passed after the judge’s ruling, employees of Frontenac Ventures Corporation drove by the site, and noting that the encampment was still in place, they communicated with Judge Thomson, pressing for action on his part as soon as possible.

The judge asked all parties to the Kingston Court on Thursday at 9:30 am..

Even before the judge’s ruling came down on Wednesday afternoon, the Algonquin First Nations had indicated, in a letter to Premier Dalton McGuinty that was also sent to Judge Thomson, that they would no longer participate in court proceedings regarding the injunction. In the letter, they said that they “appreciated the challenge facing the court,” but they cited the Delgamuukw, Haida, and Mikisew cases, in which the Supreme Court upheld, according to the letter, “constitutional recognition of Aboriginal rights and title and encouraged government to resolve conflicting claims through negotiation, not through the courts.”

The Algonquins invited the provincial government to come to the Robertsville encampment to discuss the issue.

The province has not responded to the letter.

Doreen Davis, Chief of the Shabot Obaadjiwaan First Nation, said she expects that Judge Thomson will make a more formal ruling once the meeting on Thursday takes place, and this might force the hand of the OPP, who have been resolute in their determination to keep the ongoing situation uneventful for the past 7 weeks.

George White, the President of Frontenac Ventures Corporation, told the News that the company has been careful to follow the judge’s orders “to the letter” and will be seeking clarification in court as to what he wants to take place. Frontenac Ventures will be pressing the judge to give clear direction to the OPP to enforce an injunction.

When they were in front of Judge Thomson in early August, the company claimed that not allowing them access to the site would result in “irreparable harm” to their interests. In particular they claimed that a planned reverse takeover with Vancouver-based Sylvio Corporation was dependent on accessing the property.

When asked what is happening with the Sylvio deal early this week, White said, “My guess is it’s gone; they are no longer responding to our correspondence.”

The court injunction that Frontenac Ventures is seeking is connected to a $77 million lawsuit that Frontenac Ventures has levied against the two First Nations, their leadership, un-named persons, and the Government of Ontario.

At the close of hearings in early August, Frontenac Ventures’ lawyer, Neil Smitheman, said that Frontenac Ventures was willing to leave the government and the Algonquins to deal with the matter provided the government buys the company out. “Our starting price is $80 million,” he said.

Chris Reid, the lawyer for the Ardoch Algonquins, said he expects to be appearing in the Kingston Court this week for a brief time, to explain to the judge that his clients, and the Shabot Obaadjiwaan as well, will not be involving themselves in the court injunction process. He said that the First Nations and their supporters would not be in attendance at all.

The Shabot Obaadjiwaan First Nation will be celebrating the Silver Lake Pow Wow this weekend.

(For updates on this story, visit www.frontenacnews.ca).

Support local
independant journalism by becoming a patron of the Frontenac News.