| Jan 10, 2008

Feature Article - January 10, 2008.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 - January 10, 2008

Tough Slugging as Mediation Goes into Closed Session

by Jeff Green

Mediation talks aimed at avoiding conflict at the Robertsville mine site in North Frontenac and averting contempt of court proceedings against Algonquin and non-Algonquin protesters took a strange turn when they resumed in Kingston early this week.

When the talks were scheduled to start on Jan 6 at the Holiday Inn, an eight-member delegation from four Mohawk communities reportedly took over the meeting. They refused to leave the main negotiating table and join the observers who were seated around the rim of the room.

Bob Lovelace, the chief negotiator for the Ardoch Algonquin First Nation, who with the Shabot Obaadjiwaan First Nation, have been at the center of the dispute in North Frontenac, reported that he “asked these folks politely to allow the parties to take their place at the table. These people refused and after asking thee times I suspended the session.”

The parties to the talks, which include: the two First Nations, the Ministry of Northern Development and Mines, the Ministry of Aboriginal Affairs, and Frontenac Ventures Corporation, then met in closed session.

It was later agreed that the talks would remain closed except to the negotiators and the membership of the two First Nations, which is something that the government officials had been pressing for in earlier sessions.

The parties have agreed to a media blackout on all substantive points, but the talks have a fixed deadline. In 20 days Frontenac Ventures says they will be in a position to begin a drilling program on their 30,000 acre mining claim, according to terms they submitted to Kingston Superior Court back in September.

For their part, the Algonquins continue to stress there will be no drilling permitted and the blockade at the site that was suspended in November will be re-established if necessary.

“I want both our members and our allies to know that our position going into these negotiations was that there would be no drilling, exploration, or mining and our position coming out of these negotiations will be the same,” Bob Lovelace wrote in a report that will be published in the e-mail newsletter “Uranium News” and posted on the website CCAMU.ca. “These negotiations are really hard ‘slugging’”, he said.

The Algonquins contend that the mining claims granted to Frontenac Ventures are not legal because in the context of the ongoing Algonquin Land Claim in the territory, the government breached their “duty to consult” the Algonquin communities.

In earlier sessions, the Ontario Chief negotiator Cam Clark said that the question of Ontario’s “Duty to Consult” will not be addressed in these talks.

Mediations talks are scheduled to resume early next week.

Contempt of court proceedings against eight Algonquin and non-Algonquin individuals for breach of a court order stemming from the blockade at the mine that took place between June 28 and early November, are scheduled to resume on February 12.

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