Nuclear Information and Resource Service, Greenpeace Canada, Mining Watch Canada, Voices Opposed to Environmental Racism and dozens of other organizations sent a statement of support for the Ardoch Algonquin and Shabot Obaadijawan First Nations blockade of sites on territory staked out by Frontenac Ventures Corporation for uranium mining. Aboriginal and jurisdictional title to the land is held by the Ardoch Algonquin First Nation. The statement was sent to Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, Minister of Indian Affairs Chuck Strahl, Ontario Premier, Dalton McGuinty and Ontario Minister of Aboriginal Affairs David Ramsey.
The statement was signed by 81 organizations from 12 different countries and 107 individuals, including members of 11 First Nations or Native American Tribes. These included notables such as musician/activists Bonnie Raitt and Graham Nash, and Ojibwe activist Winona LaDuke.
Since June 28, 2007 members of the Ardoch Algonquin, Shabot Obaadijawan, and other First Nations and their supporters have been conducting a brave nonviolent direct action by occupying a staging site for uranium exploration. 30,000 acres have been staked out for uranium exploration at Sharbot Lake in Algonquin territory.
The mining company filed a $77 million suit against the First Nations seeking a court order for their removal. In response an injunction was issued by the Ontario Supreme Court ordering the First Nations and their supporters to evacuate the property and making them subject to arrest for failing to obey the order.
The Ontario Provincial Police thus far have remained reluctant to exacerbate the situation, and have not enforced the order. There is a provincial election on October 10, 2007. Greenpeace Canada Executive Director Bruce Cox said, Uranium mining and the McGuinty governments $40 billion dollar nuclear power program need to be key issues in the election.
Co-chief Paula Sherman of the Ardoch Algonquin First Nation said, Our opposition to uranium exploration and mining is based on health concerns as well as our inherent responsibility to protect the land. Said Dave Martin, energy coordinator of Greenpeace Canada, Past uranium mining in Ontario left a deadly legacy of 200 million tons of toxic tailings in the Elliott Lake and Bancroft areas. Ontario uranium should be left in the ground. There are too many environmental, safety and economic reasons to oppose both uranium mining and nuclear power.
We are calling for Premier McGuinty to enact an immediate moratorium on uranium exploration and mining for Ontario, following the existing precedent in Nova Scotia, said John Kittle, spokesperson for the Community Coalition Against Mining Uranium.
Joan Kuyek from Mining Watch Canada said “Ontario has to learn to respect the rights of Aboriginal people to protect their lands and resources; the Algonquins provide a model for us all.”
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