- Catégorie : Nucléaire
- Publié le mercredi 17 avril 2013 07:23
- Écrit par François Lapierre
- Affichages : 2738
An appeal from Saskatchewan: Support Quebec's moratorium on uranium
Amazing things continue to happen in Quebec where on March 28th, Environment Minister Yves-Francois Blanchet announced, with the support of Premier Pauline Marois, a moratorium on uranium development in Quebec "until an INDEPENDENT study on the environmental impact and the social acceptance if extracting uranium is COMPLETED...".
This is extraordinary in and of itself, but also because it amounts to exactly what we [The Committee for Future Generations in Saskatchewan] are attempting to have the Saskatchewan and Canadian governments ordered to do by way of our court case.
Let us not forget that it was the Mistissini Cree Nation that started this ball rolling almost a year ago in June 2012 when Grand Chief Richard Shecapio announced the Cree decision to ban all uranium development. (Remember that to date, Quebec is completely free of uranium mining, which the Strateco Corporation is pushing to change by opening the Matoush mine [in the OtishMountains near the Cree village of Mistissini].)
"Chief Shecapio explained that his Council intends to do whatever it takes to implement a moratorium on uranium development.
"In light of the lack of social acceptability, cultural incompatibility and the lack of a clear understanding of the health and environmental impacts of uranium mining, it would be reckless for us as a people to move forward and allow the licensing of Strateco's advanced exploration project. We are seeking a moratorium on uranium mining and exploration on our traditional lands as well as in the province of Quebec".
Chief Shecapio explained that the Crees "have always been the guardians and protectors of the land and will continue to be. For the Crees of Mistissini, the land is a school of its own and the resources of the land are the material and supplies they need. Cree traplines are the classrooms. What is taught on these traplines to the youth is the Cree way of life, which means living in harmony with nature. This form of education ensures ou survival as a people. Any form of education that leads to survival is a high standard of education. Cree form of education teaches us to be humble, respectful, responsible, disciplined, independent, sharing and compassionate.
Because our people are still active on the land, hunting, trapping and consuming the animals, we are concerned that traditional foods may become contaminated with radionuclides, posing a threat to those who eat them. High levels of radionuclides in moose and caribou tissues have been reported in animals near uranium mines. This indirect exposure can lead to serious health issues for the people who eat contaminated animals."
Since the Mistissini Cree announced this ban, uranium company Strateco applied to a Quebec court to overrule the Crees.
In a demonstration of solidarity between anti-nuclear groups and First Nation governance, on March 11, 2013, a coalition of First Nations, municipalities and environmental activists marked the second anniversary of the Fukushima nuclear disaster by calling on the provincial government to put a stop to uranium exploration in Quebec.
"We'll do whatever it takes to stop uranium development on our traditional territory,"
-Shawn Iserhoff, chief of the Mistissini Cree Youth Council.
"...the Matoush (uranium mine) project would involve the creation of some two million tonnes of radioactive waste which would have to be stored on Cree territory. How much money is necessary to repair the damage that could be caused by a radioactive spill, which would affect not just the aquatic environment but wildlife as well?"
-Ugo Lapointe, spokesperson for Quebec Meilleur Mine
By March 28th, we have the Quebec government declaring a moratorium until an independent study can be carried out.
To me it is no coincidence that this has all happened so closely after the Journey of Nishiyuu, which was walked for all of us on Quebec soil. The miracles started the day the the first young heart had that vision, and with the first footstep began resonating the spirit of healing.
Strateco's stocks have already taken a dive in the wake of the announcement of this moratorium. Knowing the nuclear industry, it will be launching a huge public relations campaign to discredit the Quebec government for its decision.
I know everyone's resources in terms of time and energy are already stretched to the limit, but I firmly believe we need to contact asap the Quebec and Mistissini Cree Nation governance, as well as antinuclear coalition spokesperson Ugo Lapointe (note also Gordon Edwards of CCNR quoted in the March 28 article) with a strong message of solidarity and support from our network.
This would consist of an information package outlining the impact that uranium mining has had on all aspects of our lives in this province, suggestions on how to begin moving in the direction of building renewable infrastructure to create truly sustainable prosperity, and an invitation to contact us regarding any way we may possibly help in this initiative.
What is happening in Quebec could have hugely positive implications for our court case, but deeper than that, is a sign of what is possible when we call on our Creator in gratitude, faith and courage. It's being handed to us on a silver platter and we must respond in solidarity. Keep on praying and opening your hearts in whatever way you know how, for guidance, strength and healing.
We will be meeting tomorrow to discuss this initiative and will soon be following up this email with phonecalls. In the meantime please consider what you and/or your organization have to offer.
Committee for Future Generations
Let's Be Active Participants in the Lives of Our Children's Children
Quebec becomes third province
to impose uranium moratorium
Vladimir Basov, Mining.com, April 4, 2013
Quebec Environment Minister Yves-Francois Blanchet
Quebec became the third Canadian province, after Nova Scotia and British Columbia, to establish a moratorium on uranium development.
Environment minister Yves-Francois Blanchet announced last Thursday no permits for exploration or mining will be issued until an independent study on the environmental impact and social acceptance of extracting uranium has been completed.
The minister delegated authority on uranium development issues to the province's office of public hearings on the environment (BAPE), which has the power to recommend all possible scenarios — from a permanent uranium ban to determining safe ways to develop resources of this radioactive metal.
Thus, unlike Nova Scotia and BC, the uranium moratorium in Quebec looks temporary at the moment as it is conditional to BAPE’s approval in every particular case.
Immediately after the moratorium was announced, the share price of Canadian-based Strateco Resources Inc. (TSE: RSC), which is developing the Matoush uranium deposit in Quebec, slumped by 67%.
Guy Hebert, Strateco's chief executive officer, denounced the moratorium in a written statement.
"Without prior notice and for no good reason, neither rational nor scientific, the government has changed the rules. The minister's attitude is both irresponsible and unprecedented," he said.
Strateco said it has invested more than $120 million in its prospective Matoush project. All required approvals from the provincial review committee, the federal review committee, the federal environment minister and the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission have been obtained after a rigorous review process and a series of public hearings.
Matoush is considered one of the highest-grade uranium projects in the world and is located about 275 km from the town of Chibougamau in central Quebec.
Quebec anti-uranium coalition
calls for exploration ban
CBC News, Mar 11, 2013
Anti-uranium coalition spokesman Ugo Lapointe is flanked by Shawn Iserhoff,
youth council chief of the Mistissini Cree and, to his right, by Ghislain Picard,
Chief of the Assembly of First Nations of Quebec and Labrador.
Right now, there are no uranium mines in the province, and the government has pledged to hold hearings on the issue before allowing a mine to proceed.
However, coalition spokesman Ugo Lapointe says the government is sending a mixed message, by promising hearings even as it grants permits for uranium exploration.
"There is a danger," Lapointe said. "You send a signal that you want it."
The Marois government's first move after taking office last September was to announce it would shut down the Gentilly-2 nuclear power station, and Lapointe says it would be illogical for the government to now allow the mining of the radioactive element necessary for nuclear energy production.
The Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission granted a uranium exploration license to Strateco Resources last October, to allow the company to do advanced exploration for uranium at the Matoush site in the Otish Mountains, about 210 kilometres northeast of Mistissini. Que.
The exploration company is eager to proceed. It launched a lawsuit against the Quebec government in January to try to force the government to make a decision — and to ask the court to void a condition created by the James Bay and Northern Quebec Agreement requiring the company to demonstrate the project has the support of the Grand Council of the Crees.
The Grand Council of the Crees is strongly opposed to the project.
"We'll do whatever it takes to stop uranium development on our traditional territory," said Shawn Iserhoff, chief of the Mistissini Cree youth council.
Iserhoff says the Mistissini Crees do not oppose all mining, but the short-term economic benefits of uranium mining do not outweigh its long-term environmental and health risks.
If Quebec does allow the Matoush project to proceed, Strateco Resources would be required by law to set aside $30 million to defray the costs of future environmental damage.
However, Lapointe says that measure offers little reassurance.
He said the Matoush project would involve the creation of some two million tonnes of radioactive waste which would have to be stored on Cree territory.
"How much money is necessary to repair the damage that could be caused by a radioactive spill, which would affect not just the aquatic environment but wildlife as well?" Lapointe asked.
Cardinal Communications, Inc.
June 05, 2012 20:13 ET
Mistissini Says "No" and
Calls for a Moratorium
MISTISSINI, EEYOU ISTCHEE--(Marketwire - June 5, 2012) - The Chief of Cree Nation of Mistissini, Richard Shecapio, made it clear at the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission's (CNSC) public hearing, held today (June 5) in Mistissini, that his community is firmly against uranium development in Eeyou Istchee. « We want to put an end to the question of uranium development once and for all, right now. We know where this is going and we don't want any uranium mining at all », said Chief Shecapio.
This hearing concerns Strateco Resources Inc.'s (Strateco) application for a licence to develop an underground exploration program at the Matoush Project, located approximately 260 kilometres north of Chibougamau, Québec. In November 2010, the Cree Nation of Mistissini expressed that this project did not have the support of the community. This position was reasserted again in 2011. Today, the Chief confirmed that nothing has changed and that the Cree Nation of Mistissini's position on uranium remains unchanged.
Chief Shecapio explained that his Council intends to do « whatever it takes » to implement a moratorium on uranium development. «In light of the lack of social acceptability, cultural incompatibility and the lack of a clear understanding of the health and environmental impacts of uranium mining, it would be reckless for us as a people to move forward and allow the licensing of Strateco's advanced exploration project. We are seeking a moratorium on uranium mining and exploration on our traditional lands as well as in the province of Quebec », said Chief Shecapio.
In his oral presentation at the hearings, Chief Shecapio explained that the Crees «have always been the guardians and protectors of the land and will continue to be. For the Crees of Mistissini, the land is a school of its own and the resources of the land are the material and supplies they need. Cree traplines are the classrooms. What is taught on these traplines to the youth is the Cree way of life, which means living in harmony with nature. This form of education ensures ou survival as a people. Any form of education that leads to survival is a high standard of education. Cree form of education teaches us to be humble, respectful, responsible, disciplined, independent, sharing and compassionate ».
« Because our people are still active on the land, hunting, trapping and consuming the animals, we are concerned that traditional foods may become contaminated with radionuclides, posing a threat to those who eat them. High levels of radionuclides in moose and caribou tissues have been reported in animals near uranium mines. This indirect exposure can lead to serious health issues for the people who eat contaminated animals>>, expressed Chief Shecapio.
The CNSC, along with Canadian environmental agencies have concluded that this project presents low risk to the environmental and human health. This, however, has not been effectively demonstrated to the people of the Cree nation of Mistissini. If this project goes ahead, the perception of the contamination it will cause will permanently impact the relationship that the Cree of Mistissini have with their land with long term impacts on hunting, fishing and trapping.
No nuclear development
Another point Mistissini opposes is Quebec's investment in the future of nuclear energy. « We do not believe that nuclear energy, which is the primary use for uranium in Canada, is a sustainable form of energy. We do not want to see a resource extracted from our land be responsible for causing pollution and waste. We do not want this to be our impact on the world. The Crees have already sacrificed a great deal, including their rights and their land, for one source of clean and abundant renewable energy: hydroelectricity », added Richard Shecapio.
Lack of communication
Although still in the early phases of its implementation, Strateco's efforts to engage the community since the signing of the CIA have not been, and remain out of synch with the community's expectations. « We signed a Communication and Information Agreement with Strateco in December in good faith, in order to give them the opportunity to do what they should have been doing since 2006 : to address my people's concerns with this project. Nothing, however has changed since the signing of the agreement. Strateco does not have and has never had our support for the Matoush project despite what they may have announced to their investors », said Chief Shecapio.
Uranium mining is not locally accepted in Eeyou Istchee. It was standing room only in the arena where the June 5th hearing was held with community members unable to attend tuning in from home and work to listen to the proceedings on the local FM radio.
« Strateco Resources is far from having the Cree Nation of Mistissini's consent to proceed with this project. We hope for the recognition and respect of our community's concerns and position by the Commission Tribunal in taking its final decision on the issuance of a license to Strateco Resources », concluded Richard Shecapio.
About the Cree Nation of Mistissini
The Cree Nation of Mistissini is one of the largest Cree communities of the James Bay Crees of Quebec, Canada, and is situated at the southeast end of Mistassini Lake. The Council of Mistissini consists of a Chief, a Deputy Chief and seven elected Councillors.
Clarification re. Cree Moratorium on Uranium
In a recent message forwarded from the Saskatchewan-based
Committee for Future Generations, sent just a few hours ago,
there was a bit of confusion with regard to the Cree moratorium
on uranium in Quebec.
Although the Cree Nation of Mistissini was courageously ahead
of the uranium issue by opposing uranium development in their
own backyard, the "nationalization" of this issue was due to the
action of the Grand Council of the Crees, at the request of
Mistissini and other Cree entities.
The Grand Council -- which represents all ten Cree communities
-- is the body that enacted the Cree permanent moratorium in all
of Eeyou-Istchee (the extensive Cree territory spanning much of
The Grand Council of the Crees is now engaged in diplomacy,
litigation, advocacy and other efforts to implement and secure that
permanent Cree moratorium. It appears that the Quebec government
has not been entirely respectful with the Cree Nation in the mandate
given to the BAPE (Bureau des audience publiques sur l'environnement.
Office of Public Hearings on the Environment) to hold "generic" hearings
on the environmental impacts of uranium mining in the province, given
that the BAPE does not have jurisdiction in Cree territory.
See the Grand Council statement of March 28, 2013:
For an eloquent formulation of the Cree position, you can view the
statement made by Shawn Iserhoff, Youth Chief of the Cree, at the
March 11 2013 media conference in Quebec City.
Thanks to friends of CCNR for helping with these clarifications.
Association of First Nations of Quebec and Labrador
The AFNQL strongly objects to the
exploration and mining of uranium
Press Release from AFNQL, April 1, 2013
Wendake, QC, March 28, 2013 – Assembled in the Abenaki community of Odanak on March 13 2013, the Chiefs of the AFNQL adopted a resolution which strongly and definitively opposes the exploration and exploitation of uranium.
“The exploration and exploitation of uranium constitute major and irreversible health hazards to our populations, our territories and the resources it contains. The First Nations have the most sacred duty to protect their populations, their territories and their resources”, stated Ghislain Picard, Chief of the AFNQL.
“I also encourage all the First Nations to clearly and publicly demonstrate their opposition to the exploration and exploitation of uranium on their territories”, concluded Chief Picard.
The AFNQL supports the coalition of more than 300 localities throughout Quebec calling for a moratorium on the exploration and exploitation of uranium.
About the AFNQL
The AFNQL is the regional organization regrouping the
43 Chiefs of the First Nations of Quebec and Labrador.
For information: www.apnql-afnql.com.
For further information:
Tel. : (418) 842-5020
Cell : (418) 580-4442