Jeff Green | Feb 28, 2008
Letters - February 28, 2008
Back toHomeLetters - February 28, 2008 LettersFebruary 28
Re:Cover Photo,Bill Deacon
Warning from Bancroft,Ian Whillans
Pigment Impaired,Glen Pearce
19th Century Mining Act,Don G. CampbellRe: Cover Photo
On the front cover of your Feb. 14 paper was a colour picture of Doreen Davis, Chief of the Shabot Obaadjiwan Algonquin group from Sharbot Lake. It is a remarkable picture in that it shows clearly a very proud and stately lady leaving a court that heard contempt of court charges against her and the Ardoch Algonquin First Nations.
These charges arose out of the Aboriginal communities’ blockade of uranium mining operations at Robertsville to try to stop the mining of this substance which has been proven to be extremely dangerous to both people and the environment.
We who are following this know that even though the Native community was willing to negotiate with the Liberal government, who gave the drilling rights to Frontenac Ventures over many protests (even a hunger strike!), it seemed the government in Toronto couldn’t care less about known facts on the damage caused by uranium mining, and are determined to allow mining no matter the costs.
I have nothing but respect for Chief Doreen Davis and the members of the Ardoch Algonquins who stood up to the mighty power of the Government of Ontario, its courts and judges (who are all paid with our tax money). The government didn’t hesitate to use their “big stick” contempt charges against them.
Chief Doreen Davis is a lady of principle who believes in saving her people from possible harm by any means she can. She can be proud to wear her headdress and Native clothing, for if there ever was a chief of the Algonquin peoples she is one.
Now we wait. All we can hope for is that Frontenac Ventures does not find enough uranium to bother taking it out of the ground. Whatever the outcome, we who for whatever reason (myself included) did not take an active part in trying to stop uranium mining in Robertsville, owe a debt of gratitude to those who did.
To our Aboriginal people from Sharbot Lake and Ardoch who risked contempt charges and going to jail to save us from a possible disaster, I say thank you, and hope our governments will at last sit down and negotiate an honest settlement for any and all land claims you might bring to the table.
I have followed the events of this dispute as they unfolded and I thank you for your unbiased and fair-minded reporting of these matters, which that could greatly affect the lives of us all. Reading my paper “The Frontenac News” is a pleasure I don’t miss.
Bill Deacon, KingstonWarning from Bancroft
My wife and I have been keeping a close eye on the news concerning the proposed uranium mine near Crotch Lake.We sold our cottage near Bancroft because of the three abandoned uranium mines around the lake. There are tailings at the mines and one had to be cleaned up due to the fact it was placing radioactive matter into the lake.Now according to some recent tests one of the other mines is sending radioactive matter into the lake.
I now understand that the courts have convicted some individuals for contempt of court, with fines totalling $50,000 and some jail time. This dispute isn't just a legal matter, it is a moral issue as well as an environmental issue. The government should step in to protect the land and the people who occupy the area around the Robertsville mine.
I have one request of Mr. Neal Smitheman, the lawyer for Frontenac Ventures. Why don't you and your family move up to the area around the Robertsville mine and see if your legal judgement is still clouded by a big salary and an appetite to defeat the defendants at any cost to your moral judgement?
Ian WhillansPigment Impaired
Since the draconian incarceration of Bob Lovelace, the perception is that this is a matter of the pigment-impaired vs the natives, but it's not, really.We shouldn't lose sight of the fact
that our legal system (I can't dignify it by calling it a 'justice system') and oft-times our government, is an equal-opportunity system.It doesn't really care who it victimizes, as it operates on the basis of big vs small, strong vs weak, well-connected vs powerless.That's how it was, is, and will be.
That said, is there any country on earth with a better system?If there is, we should all be working tirelessly to emulate it.If there isn't, we should all be working tirelessly to optimize ours and set an example we need not be ashamed of.
Glen Pearce19th Century Mining Act
The recent sentencing of Native leaders because of their legitimate concern for the consequences (consequences which they would have to live with)which could derive from theadventures of Frontenac Ventures in North Frontenac, is just anotherexample of the Wild West mentality aliveand well in Ontario's nineteenth century Mining Act. These people have been on this land for generations, going back long beforeEuropeans arrived in Eastern Ontario. Their dispute is well documented. Frontenac Ventures is a junior mining company with a limited track record and a seemingly undue haste. If the demand for uranium is indeed legitimate, and that is a moot point, it will be there for the long term, and the economic return will remain firm. Why the need to be in such a hurry to punish the Native community? Why the need to be so heavy handed?
Last July the Ministry of Mines and Northern Development proposed changes to the Mining Act and invited public input and consultation; and the public did respond. MNDM is, supposedly, in the process of reviewing this "public consultation" and bringing forth revisions to Ontario's Mining Act. One of the proposals proffered by MNDM was that of more consideration for Aboriginal rights. Was this whole "consultation process" just a hollow public relations gesture? Where are the proposed amendments to the Mining Act?
Regrettably, this whole thing smacks, not of long term, legitimate mining, but of mining promotion and speculation opportunity; intended to take hasty advantage of the current strong base metal price and fostered bylong out-of-date mining legislation. Is it?MNDM appears unwilling to look after the larger public good, acting as it does as advocate for the mining community. Who looks after the big picture, taking into consideration all the effects on theland surface and the people who live there, both now and in the future? Where were the premier and the cabinet while this sorry escapade was playing out?
Sad to say, but sometimes I am simply ashamed to be a citizen of Ontario.
Don G. Campbell, Ottawa