| Jul 03, 2008

Feature Article - July 3, 2008

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Feature Article - July 3, 2008 Citizens’ Inquiry calls for moratoriumBy Jeff Green

In a report entitled “Staking our Claim for a Healthier Future”, a Citizens’ Inquiry into the impacts of the uranium cycle has made six recommendations that, if adopted, would have a major impact on the uranium and nuclear industries in Ontario.

The contents of the report, which was written by former Toronto Mayor John Sewell, were not unexpected since the inquiry itself was established by the Concerned Citizens Against Mining Uranium (CCAMU).

The inquiry came about as the result of silence on the part of the province to a request by Donna Dillman that they establish a similar inquiry. Dillman took no solid food for 68 days in support of her request, which ended at the Ontario Legislature when CCAMU offered to undertake an inquiry in the face of that silence.

CCAMU had been established in July of 2007, in support of the occupation of the Robertsville mine by members of two Algonquin communities, and subsequently began to establish its own political voice in opposition to uranium exploration in Eastern Ontario.

Based on information provided by 230 oral and written submissions, presented at community forums in Sharbot Lake, Kingston, Ottawa, and Peterborough, the 50-page report makes six recommendations.

The first calls for a “moratorium on the exploration and mining of uranium in Ontario until such time as all environmental and health issues related to mining uranium are resolved ….”

The second recommendation calls for a royal commission to review the Ontario Mining Act.

Then report then calls for “independent and professional studies of the health of residents in places where uranium has been processed” in Ontario.

It also recommends that Ontario’s nuclear plans, including a budgeted $40 billion expenditure, be put on hold and that alternatives to the use of uranium for medical purposes be explored.

The final recommendation of the report calls upon the province to engage with the federal government to ensure that Supreme Court decisions regarding First Nations’ rights be incorporated into operating practices relative to mining exploration.

“Staking Our Claim for a Healthier Future” was presented at Queen’s Park on June 24.

There has been no response to the inquiry’s recommendations from the Government of Ontario.

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