Thursday, May 29, 2008

Free at Last: Join the Aboriginal Day of Action noon Queen's Park

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
public interest.

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
Minister Bryant.

David Peerla


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