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Monday, October 18, 2010

 Canada's duty to consult Indigenous Nations ... cont'd ...

MCA against shipment


Updated 9 days ago

Photo by Bruce PowerBruce Power plans to ship 16 generators used at its nuclear plant through the Great Lakes and Seaway on its way to Sweden, where it will be recycled. A number of groups, including the Mohawk Council of Akwesasne have voiced their opposition to the proposal.

The Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission will set a dangerous precedent if it allows radioactive waste to be shipped through the St. Lawrence Seaway, according to groups based along the waterway.

Bruce Power, which sits on Lake Huron, has asked for a permit to bring 16 generators used at its nuclear plant through the Great Lakes and Seaway on its way to Sweden, where it will be recycled.
But the Mohawk Council of Akwesasne (MCA) said it was not even consulted on the plan that would break a local bylaw."There is a duty to consult," said Henry Lickers, environmental science officer for the MCA. "If they wanted to do this right, they would have talked to us."
However, all the discussion in the world wouldn't change a resolution passed by the council in 1999, stating that no nuclear materials are allowed in their territory, he pointed out.

"It's just in keeping with the MCA and what we've done in the past," said Lickers about their opposition, which was detailed in a letter to the nuclear safety commission (CNSC).

"Your government will be in violation of our community law if you allow this shipment to enter into our territory," wrote Grand Chief Mike Mitchell.
The CNSC held consultations to determine if the transportation permit should be approved, and has promised the shipment is not dangerous.

"The chances of a spill or anything are terribly remote," said Guy Lauzon, MP for Stormont, Dundas and South Glengarry. "They've done analyses. There's no risk to the public or the environment."

While that may be true, the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative -which includes Mayor Bob Kilger in its membership -have come out strongly against the idea.

Though Kilger said he hasn't personally lobbied the commission, the group has sent a letter to the CNSC, along with four pages of questions about the proposal on everything from timelines to qualifications for the ship's pilot.

"I am disappointed that the CNSC has refused to discuss or provide the underlying technical report on the environmental impacts of an accident on the Great Lakes or the St. Lawrence," wrote David Ullrich, executive director of the municipal coalition.

Beyond environmental concerns, Lickers said it just makes sense for the government to develop the capacity to deal with its own nuclear waste rather than shipping it across the ocean.

"Canada should be solving its own problems in its own backyard," he said.
Part of his concern is that Sweden may have more relaxed regulations on what is considered dangerous material.

"The (recycled) steel will go back into the steel source, and we could be getting it back as Ikea furniture," he said.

"I think it's good public policy that if we use it... we should be able to deal with it," added Kilger.

But Lauzon said nations all across the globe send their waste to Sweden because of their expertise. Even this shipment wouldn't be the first time Canada sent materials to the country.

"It should be noted that radioactive materials... are shipped across Canada and around the world on a regular basis without risk to the public or the environment," states the commission on its website.

CNSC spokesperson Aurele Gervais said decisions on permits are generally made 30 days after public consultations, which were held at the end of September on the Bruce Power proposal.

"They will consider information heard through the course of the public hearing," said Gervais. "During their deliberations they will determine if further information is needed or if the commission is ready to proceed with a decision."

Despite reassurances that every danger will be analyzed, Kilger said under no conditions would he accept the shipment through the Seaway, since the lakes and river system "provides potable water for over 40 million people. You just can't take that risk."

"The Seaway is such a crucial part of our Akwesasne and surrounding neighbours," added Lickers. "We can't really afford any problems here. Our experience is a long and painful one (of ) contamination by different industries here."

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My Canada includes rights of Indigenous Peoples.

Two Row Wampum Treaty

Two Row Wampum Treaty
"It is said that, each nation shall stay in their own vessels, and travel the river side by side. Further, it is said, that neither nation will try to steer the vessel of the other." This is a treaty among Indigenous Nations, and with Canada. This is the true nature of our relationships with Indigenous Nations of 'Kanata'.