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.
Saturday, May 24, 2008
• While the schedule is packed and tight, please keep in mind that it is also flexible and intended to be fluid throughout the Gathering.
• Please attend whatever workshops you like, keeping in mind that there are at least two in every timeslot. Please remember to follow “ground rules” for the Gathering during all workshops.
• Any questions on site can be directed to our programming coordinator who can be contacted through our Orientation & Safety Station (which will be marked and visible, and located at the north end of the camp at queen’s park). Any questions prior to the event should be directed to email@example.com.
• Protest Barrick
o protestbarrick.net is an international network of groups fighting barrick gold. Will be showing films about mining conflicts abroad, or a slideshow/presentation about their tour, which took them from the UN Permanent forum on indigenous issues, to Barrick's AGM in Toronto, to Ottawa with Indigenous communities from the U.S., Australia, Papua new Guinea, and Chile.
• Tyendinaga Support Committee
o The Tyendinaga Support Committee is a group in Toronto working to gather support for the Mohawks of the Bay of Quinte (Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory) in their struggles for land and justice and against criminal prosecution.
• Mining Watch Canada
o Joan Kuyek, Mining Watch’s National Coordinator is presenting a workshop/teach-in on the impacts of mining related to Indigenous struggle.
• “No Olympics on Stolen Land – Resistance to 2010”
o A workshop-presentation on the issues and growing resistance to the 2010 Vancouver-Whistler Olympics.
o Peoples Global Action Bloc Ottawa has already been organizing for 2010 since early this year. www.resistance2010.net
• Algonquin of Barriere Lake and the Trilateral Agreement: 20-years of Struggle
o The Algonquin of Barriere Lake Caravan will be traveling to Toronto as part of a three-city tour to speak out about the history of the current crisis in their community. Spokesperson Marylynn Poucachiche and former Chief Michel Thusky will describe how, for twenty difficult years, the small Algonquin community of Barriere Lake, 5 hours north of Montreal, has been struggling to hold the government to their word. In 1991, they signed a pioneering resource co-management and sustainable development agreement with Canada and Quebec to protect Algonquin land uses, conserve the forest and wildlife, and give them a share in the resource revenue from the logging and hydro projects on their traditional territories. The Canadian government walked away from the agreement in 2001 and the Quebec government has sat on recommendations for implementing its side of the agreement since 2006. Instead of fulfilling their obligations, the Federal Department of Indian Affairs, with the support of the Quebec government, has been playing divide and rule in Barriere Lake, wreaking havoc in the community by ousting the Customary Chief and Council and illegally appointing a small faction as the leadership.
o The Environmental Justice Organizing Initiative and Clayton Thomas-Muller of the Indigenous Environmental Network will host a discussion about Indigenous peoples on the front lines of fighting environmental destruction in Ontario, across Canada, and around the world, examples in Canada including the struggle of Cree and Dene Nations against the tar sands, Mackenzie Valley Pipeline, and coal bed methane in northern BC.
o Will look at how climate change threatens the survival of humanity and most species on earth and how Indigenous people are going to be key to stopping this threat, with the solidarity of social justice and environmental activists, but we need to name the economic order that drives this destruction and imagine alternatives, and what would a green economy look like and how might decentralized, renewable energy production (eg) help Indigenous communities achieve sustainable sovereignty while helping the rest of the world fight climate change.
o http://enjoi.org, www.ienearth.org
• “Haudenosaunee Women and Youth Mobilization”
o Jessica Yee, founder of the Native Youth Sexual Health Network and current chair of First Nations, Inuit, and Métis Committee for Canadians for Choice, will facilitate a workshop on mobilization from a Haudenosaunee perspective, specifically for youth, with the emphasis on women as the land title holders in our matriarchal culture. This would speak to the violence and marginalization that women and children specifically face in our communities and the reclamation of our rights to organize and speak out to respect ourselves and Mother Earth.
• Political Prisoners
o Skyler Williams, from Six Nations will talk about his experience as a political prisoner and resisting state oppression. He may be joined by others.
High Profile Programming
• This is media friendly programming that will happen at 1pm on Tuesday and Wednesday.
• Tuesday will be a presentation from several First Nations Chiefs: Grand Chief Sydney Garrioch from MKO and other Manitoba Chiefs, Chiefs from Pikangikum, Muscrat Dam, and possible others, and Cheif Simon Fobister from Grassy Narrows.
• Wednesday we are hoping to feature Church and Union leaders talking about solidarity with Indigenous communities.
• Nonviolence training will be collaboratively provided by Christian Peacemaker Teams and No One is Illegal-Toronto.
• Studies in Non-Violent Action (SINVA) – musical performance
o Formerly know as Imagine Rainbow Warriors, founded in 1981 “to address, through music, human rights and environmental issues. SINVA has done extensive work for First Nations over the years; in particular, the Oneida Nation in western Ontario, the Cree Nation at Lubicon Lake, the Mohawk Nation at Oka, The Leonard Peltier Defence Committee and the Native Canadian Centre. Currently SINVA consists of two vocals and one guitar.
o http://activistmagazine.com/downloads/music/sinva, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7lhctIQM3QE
• Monster Redlight – Musical Entertainment
o Clayton will be performing Hip Hop which can be sampled at www.myspace.com/claythomasmonsterredlight .
Friday, May 23, 2008
We also need people to marshall at the rally at Queen's Park on Monday, May 26, 5pm-9pm. This involves working in groups to monitor the event to ensure it remains a safe, respectful and non-violent space. There will be a training for marshalls on Sunday, May 25, at 2pm, 85 Bedford Road.
To volunteer your services for the sleepover email: firstname.lastname@example.org
To volunteer your services for the rally or to marshall the rally email: email@example.com
Wednesday, May 21, 2008
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: 647 388-1053
May 21, 2008
First Nation Communities Put Queen's Park on Notice Before National Day of Action
Four days of peaceful ceremonies to be held on Legislative grounds
Kitchenumaykoosib Inninuwug (KI), Ardoch Algonquin, and Asubpeeschoseewagong Netum Anishinabek (Grassy Narrows) First Nations today released a letter directed to the Honourable Steve Peters, Speaker of the House in the Legislative Assembly of Ontario notifying him that the communities and their supporters will conduct traditional ceremonies on the front lawn of the Legislature from May 26 to May 29. May 29 has been called as a National Aboriginal Day of Action for communities across Canada.
In a public invitation to other First Nations and supporters the communities explain that in conducting these ceremonies they are “upholding our duty to protect the land, forest, water, and air and promoting respect for our Indigenous rights to say no to economic exploitation and environmental destruction.”
The letter additionally describes the May ceremonies as a way to “honour our brothers and sisters who are currently in Ontario’s jails for peacefully acting to protect mother earth, especially Robert Lovelace and the KI 6 [Donny Morris, Sam McKay, Jack McKay, Cecilia Begg, Darryl Sainnawap, Bruce Sakakeep].”
In the letter the communities state “[w]e trust that you will respect our rights and not interfere with our peaceful, ceremonial presence.” Hundreds of First Nations and their supporters are expected to camp on the front lawn of the Legislature for the four days of traditional ceremonies including sunrise ceremonies, traditional drumming and singing, and the lighting of a sacred fire by Elders. The speaker of the house directs Queen’s Park Security, the force immediately responsible for security on the Legislative grounds.
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 so far the Province has refused to respect them and continues to issue industrial permits for projects that the communities assert are damaging to the health, culture, and future of their people.
To speak to First Nations representatives please call:
Jack Lapointe, Ardoch Algonquin First Nation: 613-273-3530
Joseph Fobister, Grassy Narrows: 807-925-2071, 807-925-2745
Susan Nanokeesic, Kithenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug: 807-537-2263
The Honourable Steve Peters
Speaker of the House
Rm 180, Main Legislative Building, Queens Park
The Honourable Steve Peters,
We are writing to notify you that our communities of Kitchenumaykoosib Inninuwug, Ardoch Algonquin First Nation, Asubpeeschoseewagong Netum Anishinabek (Grassy Narrows), and our supporters, will be using the front lawn of the Legislature for traditional ceremonies starting on May 26th and ending on May 29th, 2008. We are being welcomed to this land by Elder Gary Sault of the Mississauga Nation and we have a permit from Chief Laforme. In conducting these ceremonies we are honouring our duty to protect our mother earth, and honouring our brothers and sisters who are currently in Ontario’s jails for peacefully acting to protect mother earth, especially Robert Lovelace and the KI 6.
Ceremonies will run for 24 hours each day.
Our ceremonial presence will include:
- four sunrise ceremonies, each with duration of 24 hours;
- drumming, singing;
- the lighting of a sacred fire by Elders;
- erecting tents, teepees, and tarps for shelter;
- serving of cooked meals; and
- speakers, music, workshops, art, banners, and various activities.
We expect from you the following commitments for the events of May 26th – May 29th that:
- security services will not interfere with our ceremonial presence or activities;
- access to electric power outlets will be provided by Queen’s Park;
- access to Queen’s Park washroom facilities will be ensured;
- space for portable toilets will be ensured; and
- access to potable water taps will be ensured.
We intend to establish and enforce the following ground rules for the duration of our stay:
- all of our activities will be peaceful;
- we will not allow any weapons, alcohol, or illegal drugs;
- we will do no damage to property; and
- we will clean up all garbage when we leave.
We trust that you will respect our rights and not interfere with our peaceful, ceremonial presence. We are willing to meet with you to discuss the agenda outlined above in order to help facilitate a safe and comfortable stay for everyone involved. Please communicate with us through our designated liason.
Ardoch Algonquin First Nation
Asubpeeschoseewagong (Grassy Narrows)
Monday, May 19, 2008
- Food donations (fresh, day-olds, prepared, gift certificates, etc…)
- Volunteers to plan and cook meals
- Tents, tarps, pillows, mats, ropes, etc…
- Billets for people who prefer not to stay at Queen’s Park (ie. elders, etc…)
- Cars and drivers to transport food and other gear to and from the site
- Sound equipment $ to go towards food, sanitary infrastructure, programming, equipment, etc…
- Outreach to your networks to attend
We urgently need your support to make the gathering a success! The largest expense is to bring Indigenous community members from KI, a remote fly-in community, to Toronto for the events. The KI community has been seriously traumatized by the arrest of their leaders and attending the rally and sleepover is essential for community members to feel the solidarity for their struggle.
We are seeking at total of $40,000 CDN for travel costs. A full budget is available upon request.
Cheques can be made out to Toronto Social Forum c/o Judy Rebick 350 Victoria St. JOR 420, Toronto On. M5B 2K3. If a charitable receipt is required please make cheque out to Gindin Chair in Social Justice and Democracy.
For more information contact Judy Rebick, firstname.lastname@example.org or 647-388-1053.
- Respect the decisions of the community reps and abide by them.
- Practice nonviolence: bring no weapons, show respect, do no property damage or graffiti.
- No alcohol or illegal drugs.
- Take responsibility for your own actions.
- No racist, sexist, homophobic, or other oppressive behavior.
- Stay sanitary. Wash your hands and clean up after yourself.
- Help out with the tasks that are needed, including cooking, cleaning, etc.
- Children under age 16 need an adult supervisor.
- We ask that you not cover your face or wear camouflage at this event.
- You are at a public action intended to draw public attention. If you don't want your image photographed or on video, please turn away or politely ask the photographer to stop.
Friday, May 16, 2008
Sovereignty Sleepover: Toronto, Queen’s Park May 26th – May 29.
Rally: Queen’s Park May 26th, 5 p.m. – dusk.
Respect the right of First Nations to say no to economic exploitation and environmental destruction.
No jail for saying no. Free Bob Lovelace and the KI Six.
On May 26th Indigenous communities and our supporters will gather at Queen’s Park to uphold our duty to protect the land, forest, water, and air and to promote respect for our Indigenous rights to say no to economic exploitation and environmental destruction. It is time to end the jailing and harassment of our people for protecting mother earth and traditional ways. Please come to our large rally on May 26th at the legislature. We are also inviting supporters to join us in four days of ceremony, speakers, workshops, music, and a three night sovereignty sleep-over directly on the front lawn of the legislature.
Right now Indigenous communities across Ontario are taking a stand to assert our right to protect our traditional territories and the future of our peoples. Our communities are peacefully protesting destructive industrial projects that the government is permitting on our traditional lands without community consent.
Rather than respecting Treaties of co-existence and the UN recognized Indigenous right to withhold consent over industrial projects on traditional lands, the Ontario government is harassing Native people and jailing community activists and leaders including Bob Lovelace, Donny Morris, Sam McKay, Jack McKay, Cecilia Begg, Darryl Sainnawap, Bruce Sakakeep, and others. This cannot stand! Please join us in supporting freedom for First Nations and respect for the land.
NO CONSENT means STOP the DESTRUCTION to MOTHER EARTH!
We Need: volunteers, donations of money, food, tents, blankets, billeting, endorsements, and publicity.
Please let us know if your group wants to organize an event during the Gathering on May 27, or May 28.
To help out, or for information updates contact: email@example.com
Supporters: come prepared to take care of your own needs and to take direction from the communities.
This is an event of: Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug (KI), Ardoch Algonquin First Nation, Asubpeeschoseewagong Netum Anishinabek (Grassy Narrows First Nation) [others may join soon].
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.
Gathering of Mother Earth Protectors: http://gatheringofmotherearthprotectors.blogspot.com
Welcome Rally: http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=16866967546