Thursday, June 19, 2008

Peterborough city council urges provincial government to suspend uranium exploration in the province


City council called Monday night for the province to suspend uranium exploration — the same day the provincial government announced it would build two new nuclear reactors at its Darlington station.

John Kittle, with the Community Coalition Against Mining Uranium, urged council to pass the resolution calling for the moratorium.

Allowing mining companies to explore for uranium in Ontario watersheds is a recipe for disaster, Kittle said.

“They’re not good neighbours,” he said. “The province should treat uranium as a high priority special case.

“We need to make it crystal clear to the province that we don’t want this.”

In addition to the environmental impacts, Kittle said the mining legislation allows companies to stake claims without permission from property owners or municipalities.

“It’s a throwback to the Wild West days and it’s still on the books,” he said of the legislation. “The McGuinty Liberals are determined to allow uranium exploration in Ontario.”

Council unanimously approved the resolution to ask the province for a moratorium untilall environmental and health issues related to uranium mining are resolved.

The gallery erupted with applause after the vote.

Full Story: Peterborough Examiner

Darlington to get 2 new reactors

Robert Benzie
Debra Black

Power-hungry Ontario wants new sources of electricity near Toronto. Hard-hit Durham Region wants jobs. Those factors won out over environmental fears and huge costs yesterday as the province announced that the Darlington nuclear plant will be expanded to accommodate two giant reactors.

Canada's first new reactors in two decades are expected to generate up to 3,200 megawatts of power. That is almost enough to power all homes and businesses in Toronto and nearly doubles Darlington's current capacity.
Toronto Star

Just in case we thought Queen's Park was actually listening... I love this though:
"Phillips declined to give a price tag for the Darlington project other than to say it would fit within the overall $26.3 billion replacement and refurbishment nuclear plan over the next 20 years.

"I won't give you an estimate today. The reason for that is we are going to use this very good, competitive process to get the possible deal," he said, acknowledging that even though the winning company would face "penalties" for some extra costs, ratepayers would be on the hook for the cost overruns. "

Has no one been paying attention to their hydro bills in the last 20 years? We're still paying for the first set of reactors, and not all of them are actually working.

Queen's Park to Grassy Narrows: Organizing to win

"I heard it on the television/ All the talking politicians/ Words are easy, words are cheap/ Much cheaper than our priceless land/ But promises can disappear/ Just like writing in the sand/" – Australian musician Yothu Yindi.

For years, every level of Canadian government has made assurances to the First Nations – most never carried out. But in just a couple weeks, we've seen amazing gains for First Nations communities in Ontario. Leaders have been freed from jail. The third largest logging company in North America has been driven away by resistance from the First Nations community that stakes claim on that land. Finally, diverse communities, organizations and individuals who have been hesitant to work together in the past are working hand-in-hand for Native land rights.


Thursday, June 12, 2008

Peterborough Becomes #20!

Council against uranium mining in watershed

City council wants the province to halt uranium exploration, mining and related processing in the Otonabee River watershed to protect the city's water supply.

Council, sitting as committee of the whole last night, supported a motion presented by an anti-nuclear group -Safe and Green Energy.
Peterborough Examiner

Congrats to SAGE for their excellent work!

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Seven aboriginal protesters granted release by Ontario Appeal Court

May 28, 2008 - 6:28 pm


TORONTO - Moments after the Ontario Court of Appeal decided he'd served enough time behind bars, the last of seven aboriginal protesters jailed over disputes with mining exploration companies walked out of court saying he planned to stroll barefoot in the grass.

The overcrowded courtroom, filled mostly with aboriginal supporters, burst into applause and even a court police officer shook the hand of Ardoch Algonquin First Nation's leader Bob Lovelace who spent 3 1/2 months in jail.

"It feels really good. It feels like justice is on our side," Lovelace said on the front steps of the courthouse, his wife by his side.

"I think I'm going to go out and put my feet in the grass. It's been a long time."

The eastern Ontario aboriginal leader was jailed in February for breaching an injunction that allowed Frontenac Ventures to conduct uranium exploration activities on his community's traditional territory unhindered.

While the ruling does nothing to resolve the dispute, Lovelace said he hoped this "exercise" would prompt the Ontario government to engage in "meaningful" discussion and consultation on the matter which ultimately comes down to an archaic Mining Act that allows companies to stake land anywhere they like.

But Lovelace cautioned he must "continue to protect our land," meaning he may be forced to occupy the disputed territory again if the company decides to proceed with exploration activities - a situation that could land him back in jail.

The court also decided six leaders from Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug (KI) First Nation had served enough time and ought to maintain their freedom.

They had breached a similar injunction involving the company Platinex Inc., which sought to drill on their land some 600 kilometres north of Thunder Bay, Ont.

Chief Donny Morris, deputy KI chief Jack McKay and members Sam McKay, Darryl Sainnawap, Cecilia Begg and Bruce Sakakeep were granted a temporary release last Friday pending the outcome of Wednesday's sentence appeal.

Chris Reid, a lawyer representing the two aboriginal groups, argued aboriginal law dictates the leadership must uphold the wishes of their community, which in this case, is to stop companies from engaging in mining exploration on their land.

"This is not an isolated case," Reid said. "It's something that's going to occur again and again."

He suggested the aboriginal groups are prepared to discuss the matter, but want the right to say no if they don't like what they hear.

The Appeal Court judges ruled that all seven would have their sentences reduced to time served but reserved their reasons for the ruling.

While lawyers representing the two companies supported the release of the KI 6, they contested Lovelace's release, suggesting he had only to agree to abide by the rules of the injunction.

Lawyer Neal Smitheman argued Lovelace's non-status band had a weak claim to the contested land in the first place which makes it a much different case than that of the KI 6.

Another group of Algonquins have been negotiating a land claim that includes the Ardoch territory for more than a decade but negotiations have "failed miserably," he added.

He suggested it's really a matter for the province to resolve, not the mining companies.

"This is not Frontenac's fight. We are not the villains. We are the victim," he said.

"We're just obeying the law."

As for the KI appeal, Smitheman told the court he was "instructed" by Platinex not to oppose it.

"It does not serve any purpose to keep the leaders of KI incarcerated," he argued.

The groups have repeatedly slammed the province for doing nothing on the matter. Aboriginal Affairs Minister Michael Bryant even walked out of a meeting Tuesday with the KI 6 when the conversation turned to Lovelace's fate, Reid said.

Still, the province's lawyer Malliha Wilson, surprised everyone when she spoke out in support of freeing all seven protesters.

She also sparked a waved of laughter and much confusion among the three-judge panel when she suggested a more appropriate punishment than jail would have been to fine them and direct the money to a trust fund to support their communities.

One judge noted the province's original position was to "impose a fine that hurts," and questioned the sudden change in language which was now promoting reconciliation.

"The words 'hurt' and 'reconciliation' are total opposites," Justice James MacPherson said.

Seven aboriginal protesters granted release by Ontario Appeal Court

44 minutes ago

TORONTO — Seven aboriginal protesters jailed over disputes with mining companies have been freed from jail following a decision by the Ontario Court of Appeal today.

Six leaders from the KI First Nation in northern Ontario were jailed March 17 for disobeying court orders in an ongoing dispute with Platinex Inc. A seventh protester from the Ardoch Algonquin First Nation was jailed in February for a similar court breach in eastern Ontario.

The six KI members were freed temporarily last Friday after being sentenced to six months in jail.

The Appeal Court judges ruled that all seven would have their sentences reduced to time served.

The judges reserved their reasons for the ruling.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Platinex Commences Lawsuit Against Ontario Government

CNW Group Portfolio E-Mail


Transmitted by CNW Group on : May 22, 2008 10:55

Platinex Commences Lawsuit Against Ontario Government

TORONTO, May 22 /CNW/ - Platinex Inc. (TSX Venture: PTX) today announced
that it had commenced a lawsuit against the Government of Ontario claiming
$50 million of general damages, $20 million of special damages, plus
and costs. The lawsuit arises out of its mining claims in the Big Trout Lake
area. Platinex has been unable to gain access to its mining claims because
actions by Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug ("KI").
Platinex claims that Ontario failed to discharge its obligation to
consult KI and that it breached its duty to warn Platinex that it would not
enforce the rule of law around the Platinex mining claims. Platinex has
suffered substantial wasted expenditures and economic harm as a result of
being able to access its mining claims.

James Trusler, President and CEO of Platinex, stated, "We felt we had no
choice but to file this lawsuit. Our exhaustive efforts in consultation with
KI over nine years have been rejected by KI despite landmark Supreme Court
rulings which have determined that a First Nation does not have a veto and
also despite recommendations of the recent Ipperwash inquiry. Our court
ordered access to the mining claims has not been enforced."

In addition to the pursuit of access to and exploration of the Big Trout
Lake property, Platinex intends to focus its future exploration efforts on
other areas. On April 22, 2008, Platinex announced that it had staked claims
in Ontario at North McFauld's Lake, South McFauld's Lake, Norton Lake,
Awkward Lake, Core Zone and Tib Lake. Platinex also announced that it had
acquired an option on claims in Churchill, MacMurchy and Asquith Townships,
Ontario. Additionally, on March 3, 2008, Platinex announced that it had
claims on the Muskox Intrusion, in Nunavut Territory.

About Platinex Inc.

Platinex is a Canadian exploration company based near Toronto. Platinex
focuses on carefully selected Platinum Group Element targets in settings
analogous to the JM reef (Stillwater Complex, Montana) and the Merensky and
UG2 reefs (Bushveld Complex, RSA). Platinex is determined to find platinum
sources to be used in the campaign to eliminate the threat of global
Platinex also focuses on opportunistic acquisitions in non-PGE projects
show promise of near term improvement in value. Shares of Platinex are
for trading on the TSX Venture Exchange under the symbol PTX.