FOLLOW UP – MAC regrets jailing of native leaders in Platinex dispute

 

FOLLOW UP – MAC regrets jailing of native leaders in Platinex dispute

 

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OTTAWA – Earlier this week CMJ's Net News included an editorial on the jailing of leaders of the Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug (KI) first nation. The Ontario Superior Court in Thunder Bay ordered the band chief, deputy chief and four councillors held for six months on contempt charges.

 

The MINING ASSOCIATION OF CANADA (MAC) issued a statement on March 20 saying, in the words of its president and CEO Gordon Peeling, "No one benefits from an outcome such as this, nor does it solve the issues which are at the heart of this matter. What is in the collective interests of First Nations and the minerals industry are the kinds of industry-aboriginal collaboration and agreements we see around mine developments such as with Diavik, Voisey's Bay, with the oil sands miners, with Cameco in Saskatchewan, with the Victor and Musselwhite mines in Ontario and at many other operations across Canada. These outcomes are achieved through dialogue and respect, not the courts."

 

On Nov. 20, 2007, MAC signed a letter of intent with the Assembly of First Nations to enter into a partnership to address issues of mutual concern, such as the need for a clear approach by governments on consultation and accommodation of First Nations, speedier land claims settlement and Aboriginal participation in mining. In addition, the MAC board has adopted a draft policy that lays out the industry's commitments towards Aboriginal peoples, and is currently consulting about the policy with Aboriginal communities and organizations across Canada ( http://www.Mining.ca/www/Towards_Sustaining_Mining/index.php )

 

"Canada's mining industry is the largest employer of Aboriginal peoples and very likely has had the most success of any Canadian sector in working effectively and successfully with First Nations," added Pierre Gratton, who is MAC's VP sustainable development and public affairs. "This has occurred despite the great uncertainty that can exist around unsettled land claims and the failure of governments to fulfill their duty to consult and accommodate First Nations. The sooner provincial and federal governments start discharging their obligations on a consistent basis, the sooner examples such as this week will become a thing of the past."