Toronto Emergency Rally: Stop the Deaths – Wed, Aug.20th, 1pm

August 20, 2008

STOP THE DEATHS

Wednesday August 20 – 1pm
Outside the Coroner’s Office
15 Grosvenor Street
(West of Yonge, North of College)

Frank Julian, Carolyn Connolly, Dennis Bowen, Robert Maurice, Biniyam Selleshi…

In the last month, two more people in our community have died. We don’t want to have to bury another person from the neighbourhood. People are dying on the street and in shelters. People are dying in their apartments alone in the far corners of the city, with only a few dollars left a month
after their rent is paid because they were shipped out of the neighbourhood by Streets to Homes. No more people should have to die because the City has abandoned them to struggle and suffer in poverty. The City has to stop telling the public everything is okay. How can everything be okay when we have already lost four people this summer?! Why does the mayor and the City remain silent on our deaths?

We Need:

Decent Housing
Adequate Income
Food and Shelter

We must demand that the City take action to address these deaths and the daily hell and conditions people are experiencing.

Come out:

Wednesday August 20 – 1pm
Outside the Coroner’s Office
15 Grosvenor Street
(West of Yonge, North of College)

**
Ontario Coalition Against Poverty
10 Britain St. Toronto, ON M5A 1R6
416-925-6939 ocap@tao.ca www.ocap.ca


Deputy Minister Wernick gives Algonquins the slip, disparages efforts to end Indian Affairs’ illegal meddling in their governance

August 12, 2008

IMMEDIATE RELEASE


Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Deputy Minister of Indian Affairs gives Barriere Lake Algonquins the slip, disparages their efforts to end Indian Affairs’ illegal meddling in their governance

Ottawa, ON / – On Friday, August 8, Algonquins from Barriere Lake and their supporters protested at the home of Deputy Minister of Indian Affairs Michael Wernick. They hoped a delegation could meet with the Deputy Minister, but he slipped out of his house just before the Algonquins arrived and told a journalist he was “disappointed” by the Algonquin’s tactics.

“He’s disappointed we were in front of his house,” says Marylynn Poucachiche, a Barriere Lake spokesperson. “Compare that to our disappointment about Indian Affairs’ illegal meddling in our internal affairs and their violation of our constitutionally-protected rights to customary governance.”

“Deputy Minister Wernick shouldn’t feel disappointed,” added Norman Matchewan, a youth spokesperson for Barriere Lake. “He should feel ashamed that he allows this behaviour of Indian Affairs to continue.”

The Barriere Lake Algonquins are demanding that the Government of Canada revoke its illegal decision of March 10, 2008, to recognize as Chief and Council members of a minority faction not selected according to Barriere Lake’s customs nor supported by a majority of the community, and to respect the outcome of a new leadership selection process in accordance with Barriere Lake’s Customary Governance Code.

Instead of meeting Barriere Lake’s demands, Pierre Nepton, the Associate Director of the Quebec Regional Office of Indian Affairs, has suggested further violating their leadership customs by imposing an Indian Act electoral governance system on the community, which would be a direct violation of Barriere Lake’s constitutionally-protected Aboriginal Rights.

The Algonquins also want the Government to uphold signed agreements with the community, dating back to the 1991 Trilateral Agreement, a landmark sustainable development, conservation, and resource co-management process praised by the United Nations and the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples. Canada walked away from the agreement in 2001.

Last month, members of Barriere Lake gathered for multi-day protests outside the office of Minister Lawrence Cannon and the Department of Indian Affairs in Gatineau.

“We’ll leave politicians and bureaucrats alone when the Department of Indian Affairs treats our community fairly, honours its agreements, and stays out of our business,” concluded Matchewan. “Until then, we’re not going to stop protesting.”

– 30 –

Photos of the action (for tif files, please get in touch): http://barrierelakesolidarity.blogspot.com/2008/05/occupation-barriere-lake-algonquins-in.html

Media Contacts:

Marylynn Poucachiche, Barriere Lake spokesperson: (819) 435 – 2142

Norman Matchewan, Barriere Lake youth spokesperson: (819) 435 – 2142


For background see
a submission to the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues: http://barrierelakesolidarity.blogspot.com/2008/04/canada-quebec-condemned-before-un.html

Collectif de Solidarité Lac Barrière

*******************************************
www.solidaritelacbarriere.blogspot.com
barrierelakesolidarity@gmail.com


U of T: Evening with Bob Lovelace – saying NO to uranium mining, August 13th

August 12, 2008

You are invited to attend:

An evening with Bob Lovelace

Wed. Aug. 13, 2008 – 7:00 p.m.
Hart House, Debates Room, 2nd floor
7 Hart House Circle , University of Toronto
(direction by subway: go to St. George station, walk south, left on Harbord)

Meet Bob Lovelace, former Ardoch Algonquin First Nation chief and Queen’s University lecturer, who was sentenced to six months in jail for saying ‘no’ to uranium mining on indigenous lands. Lovelace made this stand in defense of the Earth and Creation, which indigenous peoples regard as sacred.
Popular support for this cause contributed to the decision by 22 Ontario municipalities to vote against uranium mining and a promise by the Ontario government to revise antiquated legislation which currently gives mining companies ‘free entry’ to contested indigenous lands and private property. At stake is indigenous sovereignty, protection of the boreal forests from contamination by toxic mine tailings, and the right of indigenous communities to say no development which affects them.

Mr. Lovelace will share his reflections on the events of the last year, the meaning that the land has for indigenous peoples, and the challenges that attend to the current age of mass industrial development and destruction of the land.

Sponsored and promoted by GSU Social Justice Committee (U of T), Toronto MiningSupport Group/Students Against Climate Change, Sam Gindin Chair ( Ryerson University ), University of Toronto Students Union .


Hiroshima and Nagasaki commemorations in Ottawa

August 11, 2008

I have been a longtime member of the Canadian Department of Peace Initiative (CDPI). Earlier this year, I started up the Brampton Chapter. In the meantime, I had been campaigning my City of Brampton to join the 2020 Vision Campaign and become a Peace City. My efforts were successful: in August of last year, Mayor Susan Fennell filled out the paperwork to join the global Mayors for Peace, making Brampton officially a Peace City. Canada has 70 Peace Cities so far. If your city is not on this list, I strongly urge you to read about this campaign and get your mayor on board. Working together toward the abolition of nuclear weapons, we can ensure that the horrible devastation of Hiroshima and Nagasaki are never repeated again. If humans have any hope of survival on this planet, we must work together to abolish nuclear weapons.

The message below from CDPI Co-Chair, Bill Bhaneja, is an update about the Hiroshima-Nagasaki commemorations that were held last week in Ottawa, which is also a Peace City.

Friends,

Ottawa CDPI chapter together with members of other Ottawa peace groups under the umbrella of Ottawa Peace Assembly marked Aug 6 and 9 days of Hiroshima and Nagasaki commemorations. On Aug 6, a petition signing campaign in downtown Byeward Market on nuclear weapons abolition got signatures from over 350 people (plus 50 more on Aug 9). On Aug 9 event at Friends/Quaker House in Glebe the commemoration was attended by over 100 people. The event included preparing of lanterns and the reading of statement from Mayor Akiba, the current Chair, Mayors of Peace. The following excerpt from the statement may be of interest:

“….We who seek the abolition of nuclear weapons are the majority. United Cities and Local Governments, which represents the majority of the Earth’s population, has endorsed the Mayors for Peace campaign. One hundred ninety states have ratified the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. One hundred thirteen countries and regions have signed nuclear-weapon-free zone treaties. Last year, 170 countries voted in favor of Japan’s UN resolution calling for the abolition of nuclear weapons. Only three countries, the US among them, opposed this resolution. We can only hope that the President of the United States elected this November will listen conscientiously to the majority, for whom the top priority is human survival. To achieve the will of the majority by 2020, Mayors for Peace, now with 2368 city members worldwide, proposed in April of this year a Hiroshima-Nagasaki Protocol to supplement the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty….”

Mayor Akiba visited Ottawa four years ago and got support of then Ottawa Mayor for declaration of Ottawa as City of Peace.

Two powerful inspiring presentations were made by the First Nations anti-Uranium mining activist Professor Robert Lovelace and by Murray Thomson on the imminent need of unity among those campaigning to save the planet from environmental degrardation and nuclear destruction. Murray Thomson PowerPoint presentation prepared together with former PGS Director Debbie Grisdale is available for presentations elsewhere. Later in the evening, the group carrying lanterns singing peace songs walked to the nearby pond inlet to float lanterns to commemorate innocent civilian victims of Hiroshima and Nagasaki by dropping of atom bombs 63 years ago.

In Nonkilling Peace
Bill

Bill Bhaneja
Co-Chair, Ottawa Chapter
Canadian Department of Peace Initiative(CDPI)

KI and Ardoch Statement

July 9, 2008

For Immediate Release – July 7, 2008

Court of Appeal Calls on Ontario to Negotiate with KI and Ardoch

On February 15, 2008, Robert Lovelace, retired Chief of the Ardoch Algonquin First Nation, was sentenced to six months in a maximum security prison.  His crime?  He had declared that he could not obey a court order which banned peaceful protest against uranium exploration on his community’s territory in eastern Ontario, because he must obey Algonquin law which forbids uranium mining and exploration.  The government of Ontario had approved the exploration in 2006 without any consultation with the Ardoch Algonquins and without any regard for the sensitive ecology of the area.

On March 17, Chief Donny Morris and five other leaders of the Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug (KI) received a similar six month sentence in a very similar case. In KI’s case Ontario had also approved the staking and exploration of land which KI says is part of its traditional territory, and which should not be subjected to the environmental impacts of mining.  The six KI leaders: Chief Morris, Dpty. Chief Jack McKay, Spokesperson Sam McKay, Councilors Cecilia Begg and Daryl Sainnawap and Bruce Sakakeep – became known as the “KI Six”.  Like the Ardoch Algonquins, they had refused to obey a court order prohibiting them from interfering with mining in their territory.

In both cases, Ontario’s Minister of Aboriginal Affairs, Michael Bryant, instructed Ontario’s lawyers to support the mining companies in seeking the harshest possible punishment for our “disobedience” of Ontario’s laws.  The government made it clear at every step of the legal proceedings that their only priority is to support the 19th century Mining Act which states that mining is always the best use of land, and any peaceful protesters who oppose mining should expect jail and crippling fines.

The incarceration of seven respected community leaders for peacefully obeying their own laws and resisting the destruction of their territories led to an outpouring of support for KI and Ardoch and calls from environmental groups, unions, churches and community activists to reform the outdated Mining Act to allow communities to say ‘no’ to mining.  The support culminated in a rally at Queen’s Park on May 26, followed by a four-day “sovereignty sleep-over” at the legislature.

On May 28, an appeal of our sentences was heard by the Ontario Court of Appeal.  The Court ordered the immediate release of Bob Lovelace and the KI Six, but did not release the reasons for their decision until today.

In today’s ruling the Court of Appeal said that the outdated Mining Act “lies at the heart of this case”.
The Court called the Act “a remarkably sweeping law” which allows prospectors to stake claims on any Crown land, and which allows no role for communities in deciding whether mineral exploration occurs in their territories, even when they have unsettled land claims to those areas.

The Court noted that both KI and Ardoch had consistently asked the government of Ontario to engage in direct negotiations with them to resolve these disputes rather than supporting the mining companies’ efforts to obtain injunctions and then have community leaders jailed for refusing to obey the injunctions.  The Court said:

“Where a requested injunction is intended to create ‘a protest-free zone’ for contentious private activity that affects asserted aboriginal or treaty rights, the court must be very careful to ensure that, in the context of the dispute before it, the Crown has fully and faithfully discharged its duty to consult with the affected First Nations.  The court must further be satisfied that every effort has been exhausted to obtain a negotiated or legislated solution to the dispute before it.  Good faith on both sides is required in this process”

Said Bob Lovelace, “We feel fully vindicated in the position we have taken and remain committed to our position that there will be no mineral exploration within the territories of KI or Ardoch without our consent.  Our laws, which require respect for the land, are entitled to at least as much respect as Ontario’s Mining Act.  We remain open to dialogue, but Ontario has never responded to our proposals for negotiations.  We want negotiations, not conflict, but we will enforce our laws and protect our land.”

KI Spokesperson Sam McKay added:  “The decision of the Court of Appeal proves that we went to jail because of the stubborn refusal of the provincial government to respect our laws and our perspective on development within our territories.  The Premier of Ontario owes an apology to the people of KI and Ardoch, especially to those of us who were jailed for opposing an outdated and immoral law.  A sincere apology would begin a process of healing and reconciliation.”

Background Legal Issues

To encourage mining and exploration, Ontario’s Mining Act is based on a “free entry” system, which means that all Crown lands, including those subject to Aboriginal title claims, are open for staking, exploration and mining without any consultation or permitting required.  Anyone with a prospector’s license may stake claims and prospect for minerals on any Crown land. Once a claim has been staked the Mining Recorder “shall” record the claims.  There is no opportunity or requirement for consultations with affected First Nation communities.  Once a claim is recorded, the prospector can conduct exploratory drilling without any more permits being required.

It is also important to realize that in the 2004 Haida case, the Supreme Court made it clear that First Nations which have asserted rights claims or land claims, but have not yet proven their claims, must be consulted and accommodated, but they cannot “veto” development on disputed land.  Consultations and accommodation can include measures to mitigate the impacts of the project and provide some compensation for the affected communities, but they must lead towards implementation of the project.

The only way to achieve what KI and Ardoch believe is a fair and just solution is through negotiations to withdraw sensitive lands from mineral staking and mining.

Contacts:

Sam McKay, Spokesperson, KI (807) 537-2263
Robert Lovelace, Ardoch FN (613) 532-2166
Chris Reid, Legal Counsel for KI and Ardoch: (416) 629-3117


Please sign petition against proposed Lake Huron nuke dump!

June 16, 2008

Progress Michigan has launched an online petition against a proposed nuclear dump 1/2 mile from Lake Huron in Canada and a massive oil refinery in Sarnia. Unfortunately, at first, Canadians couldn’t sign the petition. It wouldn’t take the Canadian zip codes. That is all fixed, now and Canadians can sign on!

The nuclear dump will take waste from 20 Canadian reactors and have to store it and isolate it from the environment for hundreds of years. Lake Huron is a drinking water source for millions of people in Michigan.

Citizens for Alternatives to Chemical Contamination, (along with many other Great Lakes environmental groups,) has been leading the charge against this proposal. The petition will grow the list of supporters standing with them against these risky projects.

You can sign the petition at: www.greatlakesnotadump.com. Please pass the link on to friends and neighbours.


Action Alert: Please sign onto “No Radioactive Waste Dump in Heart of Great Lakes”

June 16, 2008
Action Alert
Please circulate the following sign-on statement to your email lists. To sign on, simply send an email to kevin@beyondnuclear.org with your name, title, organization, and full contact information. Individuals are also welcome to sign. Please sign on by noon on Wednesday, June 18th so that we can submit our group comment to the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency by the official deadline later that day.
If you’d like to submit additional comments, email them to DGR.Review@ceaa-acee.gc.ca no later than Wednesday, June 18th.
See http://www.acee-ceaa.gc.ca/050/DocHTMLContainer_e.cfm?DocumentID=26204 for additional information.
Thanks!
—Kevin Kamps, Great Lakes United Nuclear-Free/Green Energy Task Force
cell 240-462-3216, kevin@beyondnuclear.org
No Radioactive Waste Dump
in the Heart of the Great Lakes!
The proposal to build a deep underground dump (DUD) for radioactive wastes on the shoreline of the Great Lakes is unacceptable.  Water is the most likely dispersal medium for toxic materials in general, and for radioactive wastes in particular.
Nevertheless, that’s what is being considered at the Bruce nuclear complex on the Canadian side of Lake Huron.  The DUD would be located just over one kilometre (less than one mile) from the Lake, and would house all of the radioactive wastes from 20 commercial nuclear power reactors in Ontario – with the exception of the irradiated nuclear fuel.
It was recently reported that the Canadian Nuclear Waste Management Organization (NWMO) wants to manage the DUD project.  But the NWMO deals exclusively with the long-term management of irradiated nuclear fuel, and has nothing whatever to do with other categories of nuclear waste materials.  Does the NWMO’s involvement mean that the proposed DUD will eventually become a permanent repository for high-level radioactive waste  —  making it the “Yucca Mountain” of the Great Lakes region?
The Bruce nuclear complex currently hosts nine reactors (one of them permanently shut down), with proposals for four more. This would make it the largest nuclear power complex in the world. Already there are 500 outdoor silos for the “interim storage” of irradiated nuclear fuel about one kilometre from Lake Huron, and there are plans to build 2,000 more.
Since the DUD is only 50 miles from Michigan across Lake Huron, leakage of radioactivity from the dump could directly affect tens of millions of residents in Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and New York, and contaminate the drinking water in Port Huron, Sarnia, Detroit, Windsor, Toledo, Cleveland, Erie, Buffalo, Toronto and countless other communities downstream.
Thus, this DUD proposal is not just a Canadian issue, but an international one.  In 1986, Canada protested when the U.S. proposed a high-level radioactive waste dump in Vermont because it was too close to the Canadian border; that proposed dump was subsequently cancelled. Now it is time for U.S. residents to speak out. The Canadian DUD proposal sets a dangerous precedent for the establishment of perpetually hazardous facilities on the Great Lakes, and impacts people on both sides of the border.
The successful emplacement of the DUD for so-called “low” and “intermediate” level radioactive wastes from across Ontario – and potentially from the rest of Canada – will create a threat to the Great Lakes watershed for generations to come. It will also increase the likelihood of the Bruce site becoming a permanent disposal dump for high-level radioactive wastes (i.e. irradiated nuclear fuel), which would increase the risks by many orders of magnitude.
Alarming as this proposal is, the process for assessing its environmental impact is also cause for grave concern.  In Canada, environmental panels reviewing proposed nuclear facilities have always been independent of the nuclear establishment — until now.  But for the DUD, the Government of Canada intends to place the review panel under the control of the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) which is the regulatory authority for licensing nuclear facilities in Canada.
Six months ago, the President of the CNSC was fired by the Canadian federal government for being too strict in her enforcement of reactor safety regulations. The new CNSC President has clear instructions to fast-track all nuclear regulatory approval processes. No environmental assessment panel will be credible if it is dominated by this highly politicized regulatory agency.
Despite the conflict of interest, the CNSC stands ready to chair the environmental assessment panel and to fill two of its three positions. CNSC’s domination of the Full Panel Review is unprecedented, and will undermine the panel’s credibility. We urge CNSC’s exclusion from the Panel, so the panel’s independence is assured.
We ask that the public comment deadline be extended for six months beyond June 18th.  Given the longevity and the unprecedented nature of the hazard that the DUD represents for the entire Great Lakes ecosystem, as well as the minimal outreach to the United States and Native American/First Nations that the Canadian federal government has undertaken, this extension request is reasonable.
Sincerely,
Gordon Edwards (Canadian Coalition for Nuclear Responsibility, Montreal, Quebec)
and Michael Keegan (Coalition for a Nuclear-Free Great Lakes, Monroe, Michigan)
Co-Chairs
Great Lakes United Nuclear-Free/Green Energy Task Force
Kevin Kamps
Radioactive Waste Watchdog
Beyond Nuclear
6930 Carroll Avenue, Suite 400
Takoma Park, Maryland 20912