LandKeepers News Archive
December 17 2008 | Media Releases
FNs and Enviros Join Forces to Resolve Ontario Mining Crisis
Broad support for Mushkegowuk Resolution to Fix Provincial Mining Act
TORONTO, Dec. 17 /CNW/ – Today seven leading conservation and environmental groups added their resounding support for the mining resolution made recently by Mushkegowuk Council First Nations in Northern Ontario.
The Mushkegowuk Council resolution declares, “that they will accept no new mining activity on their homelands, including staking exploration, advanced exploration or new mine development until there is: 1. Agreement to a new Mining Act that includes provisions for full consent of First Nations. 2. First Nation approved Land Use Plans, developed with adequate funding, which sets out which lands will be available for mining and exploration. 3. Agreement on environmental assessments and permitting requirements for all mining activities.”
The communities further state that Ontario should cease issuance of licences and permits until consent is given. The resolution applies to any mining activities in the Mushkegowuk First Nation homelands that cover a vast area in and around James Bay of the Boreal Forest Region.
“The chiefs have made it clear. They are tired of their homelands being invaded,” said Grand Chief Stan Louttit of Mushkegowuk Council. “The government needs to recognize that First Nations have the legal and constitutional right to be consulted and now we demand that consent be part of the equation,” Louttit added. The Grand Chief also noted that the communities are not opposed to resource development per se only that they require full consultation, accommodation and consent first.
Mushkegowuk Council and environmental groups such as CPAWS Wildlands League, Ecojustice, ForestEthics, Community Coalition Against Mining Uranium, MiningWatch Canada, Ontario Nature and the David Suzuki Foundation hope the Province will heed the resolution when amending its mining legislation.
“We believe it is in the public interest to support the Mushkegowuk council resolution,” said Anna Baggio from CPAWS Wildlands League. “It has all the right ingredients and will position Ontario as a national leader,” Baggio added.
“There is a strong, emerging consensus on what’s needed in a new Mining Act for Ontario from both First Nations, environmental groups, legal experts and industry actors”, said Justin Duncan from Ecojustice, “in order to avoid any future conflicts from mining, we need strong amendments that reflect Mushkegowuk Council’s resolution.”
The First Nations represented by the resolution are: Attawapiskat, Fort Albany, Kasechewan, Moose Cree, New Post and Chapleau Cree. Missanabie Cree First Nation was not present at the Annual General Assembly and therefore the resolution does not apply to them.
“The Mushkegowuk Council’s approach will help to resolve the conflicts between the existing, out-dated mining laws and Ontario’s obligations to respect aboriginal rights, and the need to have a more balanced approach to land use planning. We see these as fundamental elements for reforming how mining occurs across the entire province”, said Ramsey Hart of MiningWatch Canada.
“This is how land management should occur; as the outcome of land use planning processes,” says Rachel Plotkin, from the David Suzuki Foundation.
For a copy of the resolution please visit http://www.wildlandsleague.org.
For further information: Grand Chief Stan Louttit, Mushkegowuk Council,mobile (705) 288-0157;
Anna Baggio, CPAWS Wildlands League, mobile (416) 453-3285;
Justin Duncan, Ecojustice, office (416) 368-7533 × 22;
Marilyn Crawford, CCAMU, (613) 273-4511;
Catharine Grant, ForestEthics, office (416) 597-1904 ext 3;
Ramsey Hart, MiningWatch Canada, office (613) 569-3439;
Jennifer Baker, Ontario Nature, office (416) 444-8419, ext. 224;
Rachel Plotkin, David Suzuki Foundation, (613) 594-9026
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