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NET NIT: Reader responds to First Nations’ deal

"My understanding is that the Shabot Obaajwan negotiated with the threat of fines and a law suit hanging over them....


“My understanding is that the Shabot Obaajwan negotiated with the threat of fines and a law suit hanging over them. I understand that these were dropped as part of the negotiations. I wonder how it is possible to negotiate in good faith if one of the parties has a big stick,” wrote Eleanor Archer of Wesport, Ontario.

“I have been following the issues related to the exploration for uranium in the Sharbot Lake Area. I live about a one-hour drive from there. There are some disturbing aspects to the ‘deal’ that has been arrived at. One of them is that the Ardoch Algonquin First Nation that has been protesting, including one of them serving jail time for these protests, are not representated by the Chief Randy Malcom who signed the agreement. This is problematic because the appearance is that the government chooses to negotiate with those who will go along with their intentions.

“It also means that the issues that the Ardoch Algonquin have raised are not being addressed. 

Another issue is that when the Shabot Obaadjiwan left the Kingston Court in the spring, they were being held responsible for $109,000 in court costs and Frontenac Ventures had launched a $77 million lawsuit against them. They are not a band that has the financial resources to face these costs. The Province of Ontario has agreed to pay the $109,000 to Frontenac Ventures. (see The Frontenac News, Dec 4th, 2008)  Again, there is a perception that there has been serious coersion involved in arriving at this agreement. It suggests that exploration companies can use the courts to their ends because they have the financial means to do so. There is also the fact that there was no open discussion involved in reaching the agreement and the agreement itself requires the parties to maintain the secretive nature of the process.

“This ‘deal’ risks having a long and unhappy history because of the foundation on which it is based,” Archer concluded.
 

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