Jeff Green | Jul 24, 2008
Feature Article - July 24, 2008
Back toHomeFeature Article - July 24, 2008 Bob Lovelace returns to Robertsville to deliver a teachingBy Jeff Green
Bob Lovelace, delivers a traditional teaching at Robertsville Mine.
Almost two months after his release from prison after serving over 100 days for refusing to promise not to go there, Bob Lovelace returned to the gate of the Robertsville mine on Monday morning.
He was accompanied by two of his young children, some members of the Ardoch Algonquin First Nation and a number of non-aboriginal activists; a total of about 25 people.
The group met at the Robertsville village sign, located about 200 metres from the gate of the mine, and parked their vehicles. They then walked in a slow procession towards the gate and gathered in a circle on the passageway between road 509 and the closed gate. Two workers stood behind the gate, one of them holding a video-camera. There were no uniformed police officers present, although an unmarked van arrived parked on the side of the road across from the gate. Two occupants remained inside the van.
A man wearing shorts and a T-shirt was on site, carrying a digital camera with which he was taking video. He was communicating with someone through a two way radio.
Mitch Shewel of the Ardoch Algonquins greeted everyone and Bob Lovelace then told the story of the great bow, which, in the interpretation he offered after tellling the story, is an allegory for the political struggle that the people who were in attendance have been involved in for the past year.
After about 45 minutes, the gathering broke up, and everyone returned to their vehicles and left without incident.
The mere fact of holding the teaching at the gate of the Robertsville mine, which may lead to further court actions, was clear to all of the participants, including those who were recording the event.
The last time a public gathering took place in the vicinity of the mine gate, which was in late February, several people received summonses from the OPP to attend Kingston Court. Frontenac Ventures lawyers, acting as a sort of prosecution team, decided not to seek any remedy from the court against those people and they were never charged.
In August of last year, Justice Thomson of the Kingston Superior Court delivered an interim injunction ordering protesters to leave the Robertsville mine site. At that time an ongoing occupation of the mine site by the Ardoch Algonquin and Shabot Obaadjiwan First Nations was two months old.
In September Justice Cunningham of the Superior Court endorsed Thomson’s injunction, which established a prohibition against any protest within 200 metres of the worksite of any member of Frontenac Ventures Corporation, the company that has leased the mine site in order to access property they have staked for uranium exploration.
In court in February Lovelace pled guilty to violating that order, citing that his commitment to Algonquin Law superseded his obligations under Canadian Law. He also refused to undertake not to defy the injunction in the future and for that he was fined $25,000 and sentenced to six months in prison.
In late May, an appeal court commuted the sentence to time served and repealed the fine.
The Shabot Obaadjiwan First Nation, who joined with the Ardoch Alfgonquins in occupying the Robertsville mine last year, are now in ongoing consultations with the Ontrio Governemnt and Fronenac Ventures Corporation over how the exploration project can proceed.
The Ardoch Algonquins have rejected that process saying that it came with too many pre-conditions.
Late on Monday, the Shabot Obaadjiwan put out a press release in support of the Provinces’ just announced intitiative to review the Ontario Mining Act in light of aboriginal concerns.
“It is easy to criticise and grandstand. It is a lot tougher to do the serious work that leads to progress,” said Shabot Chief Doreen Davis. “The announcement last week is yet another confirmation of the wisdom of the approach we have adopted and the value of our ongoing discussions with the Province of Ontario.”