Nuclear waste shipment ignores rule of law: Madahbee

UOI OFFICES, Nipissing First Nation, Feb. 8 /CNW/ - First Nations in the Great Lakes watershed are accusing a federal government agency of ignoring the rule of law by approving the shipment of nuclear waste through their territories without even notifying them.

"The Supreme Court has stipulated the requirement for consultation and accommodation with First Nations," said Grand Council Chief Patrick Madahbee, speaking for 39 member communities of the Anishinabek Nation in Ontario. "First Nations have to be accommodated on activities that could have an impact on our traditional territories. The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples says handling of hazardous materials in our territories requires our free, prior, and informed consent."

Madahbee was commenting on a Feb. 4 decision by the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission to authorize Bruce Power to transport 16 decommissioned steam generators from southwestern Ontario to Sweden for recycling.

"When it comes to transporting nuclear wastes through such an important resource as the Great Lakes, there is no such thing as too much consultation. Look at what happened with the oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico. It's irresponsible to take chances with the transport of hazardous goods, and I'm sure all Canadians would like to think that their federal government is concerned about their safety."

The Grand Council Chief noted that Anishinabek First Nation communities occupy all of the Great Lakes shoreline and a significant part of its basin.

"The Great Lakes were never negotiated by treaty and we have inherent and treaty rights to all our waterways. Neither the Nuclear Safety Commission nor Bruce Power can guarantee that a disaster will not happen with this shipment. The spillage of any hazardous waste would infringe on our constitutionally-protected rights to fish, hunt, and gather lake-based traditional foods and medicines."  

The Anishinabek Nation established the Union of Ontario Indians as its political advocate and secretariat in 1949.  The UOI is a political advocate for 39 member communities across Ontario, representing approximately 55,000 people.  The Union of Ontario Indians is the oldest political organization in Ontario and can trace its roots back to the Confederacy of Three Fires that have existed long before European contact.

SOURCE Anishinabek Nation

For further information:

Marci Becking
Communications Officer
Union of Ontario Indians
Phone: (705) 497-9127 (ext. 2290)
Cell:  (705) 494-0735
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Anishinabek Nation

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Union of Ontario Indians

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