Friday, January 22, 2010

Comments from you

This entry will look at some of the comments received on the various entries of Noopemig. Comments are always welcome and from time to time, we will be sharing your comments with others that follow this blog. Keep them coming as the issues are very important and often timely requiring serious thought and discussion.

To the Climate Day Speech entry, Canada Guy writes:

“Yes, we have overshot the carrying capacity of the planet. By drawing down ecological capital, instead of living off the return of that capital, short term growth can be accomplished at the cost of reducing future carrying capacity, with generally disastrous results.”

Dr. R.H. responds to Noopemig-A victory?

Ontario, and Canada will never listen to First Nations unless things are brought to the Crown in a particular manner. As you have discovered with Platinex, that manner is meaningful Consultation. Unfortunately, it is the Crown’s definition of meaningful consultation that matters (one-sided I know) but that definition has come a long way. When one takes the time to review Aboriginal, Common, and international law on meaningful consultation, a very simple process comes to light. I trust our work can be of some help to find a path to reconcile the KI’s rights with that of non-Aboriginal Canadians. It can be done so that both sides win!”

Northshorewoman says to Voices from the Northshore response:

“It seems that the language of government is carefully selected so that some ambiguity exists, albeit inching their way to be more respectful.”

C.R. comments on Disclosure?

“Why is there so much secrecy around agreements made that involve First Nations? Is it at the First Nations request that this occurs, or does industry and government not want to have it public and therefore scrutinized? Also, I expect that the secrecy also prevents any serious challenges for enforcement, if the terms of the agreement aren’t fulfilled. It also comes as no surprise that government and industry once more come to a First Nation with a ‘done deal’ all ready for them to agree to and sign on to…will this colonialism never end?”

It is horrifying that we have to fight our own government to save the environment. ~Ansel Adams

Northshorewoman on Disclosure?

“I am outraged that Platinex get $5million for ‘backing off.’ Imagine if that money was re-directed to KI –where it belongs. And that Platinex gets royalties on any future developments? Oh my. Seems they have powerful lawyers and lobby groups.

And the confidentiality part stipulated to KI and individual defendants is puzzling.

I find this troubling that our government thinks this is a good settlement!”

A.J. says on Disclosure?

“In residential schools they gagged the kids with kerosene-soaked rags, now they’ve developed legal ‘gag orders’ and demand you agree. Nothing has changed.”

On Mining Act receives Royal Assent:

“It sounds as if the ‘new Mining Act’ is the old mining act under a new title – more forked tongue speak!”

On Voices from the Northshore:

“It seems the government can’t remember ‘crown lands’ belong to the First Peoples. If you buy a car and fail to pay for it, it is repossessed. The government failed to pay and sufficient time has passed. The land by rights should revert to the First Peoples. Theft by false information has led to debt.”

C.R. talks Disclosure?

“I think there are some very strong connections between First Nations across Canada and among other Indigenous peoples around the world…and industry recognizes this…so preventing the sharing of information is really quite a good tactical maneuver on their part – a kind of divide and conquer approach…And, it has the potential to pit First Nation against First Nation to see who can get the better deal, rather than allowing folks to work together so all can benefit.(or reject proposals.)

Anonymous writes:

“Thanks for this thoughtful blog about the need for more open consultation in this and related matters. And congratulations to CPAWS for the appearance on BNN TV on January 21. As a small shareholder of a company with interests in the ‘Ring of Fire’ area, I support the line of thinking outlined in your blog and on the BNN appearance.”

Watch  Anna Baggio, Director, Conservation Land-Use Planning on the Commodities portion of the Business News Network commenting on the Ring of Fire through this link:

The voices from Noopemig continue through the Boreal Forest – is there anybody out there?

Monday, January 11, 2010


Happy New Year!

In last year’s final entry of Noopemig, Ontario and Platinex had come to an agreement without the involvement of Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug (KI) where Platinex would be paid $5 Million dollars, Mediation Costs and 2.5 %  Royalty on any mining that will occur within the next 25 years in the disputed zone at Nemeguisabins Lake in Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug territory. Ontario and Platinex both released statements on December 14, 2009 announcing the deal.

Platinex Inc. announced that “it has entered into an agreement with Ontario….where Platinex has agreed to surrender its claims and leases and settle the outstanding litigation ….in exchange for an upfront sum totaling $5 Million dollars in addition to the Company’s expenses throughout the Mediation process. The Company will also be entitled to a 2.5% Net Smelter Royalty in connection with any future development on the property.”

The Ministry of Northern Development, Mines and Forestry on the same day said, “ As part of the settlement, Platinex will drop its lawsuits against the Crown and KI, and surrender all its mining claims and leases at Big Trout Lake. In return, Platinex will receive $5 Million dollars and a potential future royalty interest. The government will withdraw these lands from staking and mineral exploration.”

On December 18, 2009, I received an email that there was to be a conference call to discuss the deal with “Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug and the Individual Defendants.” Apparently, Section 22 of the Settlement Agreement provides that the parties are to keep the terms of the Settlement Agreement completely confidential except for….

(v) disclosure to Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug and the Individual Defendants.

As one of the original “Individual Defendants,” I can receive a hard copy of the Settlement Agreement providing I first sign a confidentiality agreement. The form that was sent to me reads, “I agree not to disclose, directly or indirectly, the Settlement Agreement to any person, other than those persons to whom this Settlement Agreement may be disclosed under Section 22 of the Settlement Agreement and who have also signed a Confidentiality Agreement relating to the Settlement Agreement.”

As one of the “Individual Defendants,” I have not had chance to review the Settlement Agreement between Ontario and Platinex and I was under the impression that this was a done deal. I am unclear why Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug and the Individual Defendants are required to review this agreement under the cover of confidentiality when the two (2) parties have already disclosed to the general public what the terms of the agreement were through their press releases? Moreover, Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug had no say or input into the agreement. For whatever reason,  KI is expected to review the Settlement Agreement under a veil of secrecy.
Legally, the agreement does not require KI’s approval and the agreement will be implemented whether KI approves it or not. Apparently, according to legal counsel, the agreement requires that “KI be asked to drop its legal action against Platinex and in exchange for Platinex dropping its action against KI.”  The Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug Chief and Council have decided that they will seek “input through a community meeting before they sign a release to drop KI’s legal action against Platinex.”
We cannot forget that KI left the court process in October 2007 for financial reasons.

One of the most important lessons out of this conflict is that the principle of Free, Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC) be adopted in provincial and federal law throughout Noopemig. Consultation is not something to gloss over. Governments must be held accountable and FPIC must be the standard. In addition to control, First Nations must also meaningfully benefit from activities that go on in Noopemig.

The formality of being consulted to a foregone conclusion appears to bring the process of  consultation to nothing but an illusory conclusion achieved through manipulation at all levels.  Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug, through their lawyer, will be reviewing the Settlement Agreement the 3rd week of January, 2010.

As the funds get ready to flow out of Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug territory, the impacts of the resulting financial burden where the community cannot maintain its equipment  is evident as the sound of water bursts through frozen pipes mingling with the cries for fairness and justice throughout Noopemig!