Wednesday, June 18, 2008
Friday, May 30, 2008
After a full day of submissions, the court ordered Bob Lovelace and the KI 6 released immediately and stayed the sentences, including fines.
Officially, the court ordered them released for time served, but the court also stressed that although they were ordering the appellants released for time served, they did not want this to imply that they thought that the sentences or the time served portions of the sentences were appropriate. Detailed reasons will follow.
We stressed in our submissions that the root cause of the train wreck proceedings which led to these offensive sentences is the Mining Act and the province's almost obsessive attachment to the mining industry and the free entry system. Since we were only appealing sentences, and not the injunctions or the findings of contempt, I expected the panel (Justices Feldman, Rosenberg and MacPherson) to cut me off and order me to restrict my submissions strictly to sentencing issues, but they allowed us to present the context in adequate detail.
Although they did not give any clear indication as to what their complete decision and reasons would be, they did seem troubled by Ontario's rigid refusal to negotiate or to consider the possibility of FNs having a right to say no to mining and their position of indifference towards the contempt and sentencing proceedings in the lower courts. Of course they were also struggling to come up with alternative sanctions for contempt in similar cases.
At the conclusion Bob, the KI 6 and their families, friends and supporters walked up University to a heroes' welcome at QP. Bob was clear exhausted (he was transfered to the Don Jail at midnight last
night) but said he would take part in tomorrow's march from QP to the lake shore.
I'm en route to the NWT and pretty tired. I'll give a fuller report later.
Christopher M. Reid
Barrister & Solicitor
Thursday, May 29, 2008
Free at Last! KI6 and Bob Lovelace Prevail In Court of Appeal
In an act that may go some way to restoring confidence in the
"whiteman"s courts" the Ontario Court of Appeal released Bob Lovelace
and the KI6 with written reasons to follow.
Those written reasons may be some of the most interesting words put to
paper by a court on the idea of aboriginal reconciliation and the
Those fortunate enough to have seats in the postage stamp courtroom
witnessed the complete meltdown of Ontario's senior legal counsel in
todays proceedings at the court of appeal. The Crown was unable to
explain to the Court's satisfaction how fines that hurt could be part
of reconciliation.Legal insiders were praying that a giant hook or a
gong would simply get her off the stage.
To say that the Crown was unprepared would be charitable.Heads should
roll for this fiasco.Those former valedictorians and Harvard Kreskins
who staff MAA and the AG were justly hoisted on their own petard.
Thinking back to the smug backslapping atmosphere in the Thunder Bay
courtroom, with Owen and Neil exchanging knowing winks and smilesw
while rolling their eyes it was great to see the dynamic duo finally get their just desserts.
The Platinex move to dump KI while keeping their guns on Ardoch was a
predictable trick that failed. Good work by Chris in keeping these issues joined.
Thinking back, it seems to me that we got to this point because of a
systemic failure.Ontario could not see beyond its role as an advocate
of mining. Platinex could not see beyond gaining access to their "property"
at any price.KIs former lawyers OKT had run out of ideas and were left
with simply a dramatic courtroom exit, and a lot of legal bills for
KI.And the judge failed in his responsibility as judge to move beyondt
the stark dichotomy of fines or incarceration.
Maybe all the parties were simply exhausted.Justice Smith, who showed
wisdom and courage in his first injunction decision, simply could not find a
way to turn his mind to a nuanced remedy that would be in the ever
elusive public interest.And certainly no one was providing him any options.
To be blunt, just because contemnors come before you requesting jail
doesn't mean you grant their wishes.Judges have a higher
responsibility.Jail only served to weaken an already weak first nation
faith in the courts.How Justice Smith imagined 6 months in jail would
create a solution to the intractable problem he faced is beyond me.
Let's hope that Justice Smith's vacation time in South Africa is
restorative.An earlier trip may have helped clarify his thinking on
Everybody knows that the jail sentence solved nothing.Platinex claims
and leases remain in good standing and technically they could try to
access their property.Let's hope the Court of Appeal offers us some
thinking on a solution that leads away from future contempts.
The real heroes in this story remain the communities of Ardoch and KI
and the courageous individuals who became prisoners of conscience.
KI and Bob Lovelace animated a mass movement of unlikely allies.Amnesty
CPT, the unions, the powerfully animated Judy Rebick
and the ENGO community.
There are some unsung heroes.I'll just mention them by their first
names. Luke,Eno C., Alvin, Kim, Jackie, Odi, Leah, Vernon, Justin,
Joan, Wendy C., Jim R. and David S.
That's my list.I'm sure you have yours.
Let's celebrate.But the battle is not won. Hundreds of thousands of
hectares of mining claims have been staked in Ontario's far north.No
First Nation has the right to say no.The MNDM bureaucrats remain. And
McGuinty and Bryant continue to occupy the pink palace.
This blog is offering a significant reward to the person or persons
who stake mining claims on the summer cottages of the Premier and
Wednesday, May 28, 2008
Please help to forward this announcement.
* * * * NATIONAL ABORIGINAL AWARENESS DAY * * * *
Last June, Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Peoples from coast to coast to coast came together to rally in support of Aboriginal issues. Since then, not enough has been done, and the government has again shown themselves unwilling to take Aboriginal problems seriously, so we are again rallying on MAY 29, 2008 to show our discontent with federal treatment of Aboriginal Peoples.
We will be leaving Queen's Park on Thursday May 29th at 12:00 pm. We are going to walk down
Date: THURSDAY, MAY 29, 2008
Time: 12noon – 3pm
Place: Meet at
Tuesday, May 27, 2008
Today was the second day of the Gathering of Mother Earth Protectors. After a successful rally of more than 1,000 people yesterday, today settled down to constant presence of the three communities and supporters camping at Queen's Park. It's really something to see three tepees and big tents on the lawns of Queen's Park. Drop by and join in
The highlights today were a Chief's press conference led off by AFN Chief Phil Fontaine. The chief of Grassy Narrows flew down for it and Donny Morris, Sam McKay and Jack Lapointe all spoke. Later in a moving moment 3 chiefs from Northern Manitoba who had flown in said how inspired they were by the KI 6 and presented a substantial contribution from their communities.
Then the leader of the amazing Grassy Walk, Chrissy Swain spoke about their walk and several youth including one from Six Nations who had been on the walk spoke. There were workshops too including one on Tyendinaga and Barriere Lake.
Tomorrow the highlight is the Ardoch KI appeal. There will be a march from Queen's Park to Osgoode Hall at 10 am. Hope to see you there
Monday, May 26, 2008
Grassy Narrows First Nation Walkers to Arrive in Toronto
Group nears the end of 1,850-kilometer walk to protect Native lands
Toronto, ON – Twenty-two members of the Grassy Narrows First Nation will arrive in Toronto today by foot as they complete the last leg of their 1,850 kilometer “Protecting Our Mother” walk. In Toronto they will join representatives of the Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug (KI) and Ardoch Algonquin First Nations for a four day Gathering of traditional ceremonies and teachings at Queen’s Park May 26-29. A large rally will welcome the First Nations communities to Queen’s Park at 5 p.m. on May 26.
Supporters and media are invited to join the walkers on the last leg of their journey. Meet them at the Native Friendship Center on Spadina North of Bloor at 1 p.m. on Monday May 26.
The walkers began their 1,850-kilometer trek in Kenora—80 kilometers south of Grassy Narrows traditional territory—on April 30 to raise awareness about the continued struggles between the province and First Nations groups seeking to safeguard their lands from industrial exploitation.
Crissy Swain, 28, originator of the Protecting Our Mother walk, called it a response to long-standing frustration about “the way our people have been criminalized and imprisoned for protecting the Earth, our future generations and our rights as Anishinaabek and First Peoples of this land.”
The traditional gathering and ceremonies will be held to promote respect for Indigenous rights to say no to economic exploitation and environmental destruction. The ceremonies will also honour First Nations leaders who are in Ontario’s jails for peacefully acting to protect traditional lands, especially Robert Lovelace and the KI 6, Donny Morris, Sam McKay, Jack McKay, Cecilia Begg, Darryl Sainnawap, Bruce Sakakeep.
The UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples formally recognizes the right to give or withhold consent for industrial projects on traditional lands. The three communities have declared moratoria on industrial activity occurring without their consent, but the Province has refused to respect them and continues to issue industrial permits for logging and mining projects that the communities assert are damaging to the health, culture, and future of their people.
For almost a decade, the Grassy Narrows community has been struggling to stop clear-cut logging on its traditional territory by logging giants AbitibiBowater and Weyerhaeuser. In 2002, youth in Grassy Narrows began a peaceful blockade of a major logging road, now the longest standing blockade in North America. Youth also make up the majority of participants in the Protecting Our Mother walk.
“We have to look way ahead into the future,” Ms. Swain said. “That’s how serious this is. What we decide today is going to impact what happens to my great-grandchildren."
Supporters: The Anglican Council of Indigenous Peoples, CAIA, Canadian Federation of Students, Canadian Labour Congress, Christian Peacemaker Teams, CAW-Sam Gindin Chair in Social Justice and Democracy - Ryerson University, CUPE National, CUPE Local 3903, CUPE Ontario, Defence for Children International, Environmental Justice Organizing Initiative, ForestEthics, Greenpeace, KAIROS, Law Union of Ontario, Mining Watch Canada, National Indigenous Anglican Bishop, No One is Illegal Toronto, NOW Magazine, OCAP, OPSEU, OPSEU Local 596, OSSTF, Rainforest Action Network, Ryerson Aboriginal Student Services, Steelworkers Humanity Fund, Tyendenaga Support Committee, University of Winnipeg Students' Association, Toronto Buddhist Peace Fellowship, United Churches Bloor and Spadina ARwg.