Media Release: Pinehouse collaboration agreement plaintiffs victorious regardless
October 14, 2014
Plaintiffs in a claim seeking to nullify a so-called "collaboration agreement" signed in 2012 between uranium companies Cameco and Areva, the Northern Village of Pinehouse and Kineepik Metis Local have decided not to appeal a judge’s recent ruling preventing the case from proceeding to trial.
Despite Rothery's ruling, however, the group is viewing the experience as a victory.
"When we filed this lawsuit, we were trying to stop a nuclear waste dump in Pinehouse and area, halt the expansion of uranium mining, facing the intentional gagging of our voices and addressing the illegitimacy of a Métis group speaking for all Métis people in the area,” stated plaintiff, Bryan Lee. “Since then, the nuclear waste dump has been stopped, the expansion of uranium mining has been halted, the court case has confirmed our freedom of expression without gagging and there is no Métis local speaking for all Métis people. We are very proud of our work and the result overall.”
A total of 39 plaintiffs submitted the claim, citing violations of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, Treaty rights, Duty to Consult, the Canadian Charter of Rights and
Freedoms, the Northern Municipalities Act and certain defendants’ fiduciary duties.
“I see myself as a protector of our Land and safe future of our children and grandchildren”, explained Pinehouse resident Fred Pederson, who, together with other plaintiffs from Pinehouse, endured many of the alleged violations first hand. “Just submitting this claim to Court of Queen’s Bench in itself is a victory, because we are an example to others of standing up for our rights. I spoke on behalf of the people who could not speak on their own behalf, because of the grip our leadership has on them.”
Regarding the plaintiffs’ decision not to appeal, "The cost of appealing to a higher court for what we believe is justice, is too high for us. The governments and corporations have far greater resources than we, including $800 million stolen from our lands and taxpayers and stashed in a Swiss bank account”, states English River First Nation member, Candyce Paul. “We have learned, as well, what the court in Prince Albert may accept in the future, as there are other collaboration agreements where the lack of proper consultation affecting citizens has occurred."
Candyce Paul, English River First Nations
Group responds to Sask. uranium deal case being dismissed
SASKATOON – A group of 39 people opposed to a controversial uranium deal in northern Saskatchewan will not take their case to a higher court.
On Tuesday, some of the plaintiffs explained in Saskatoon that they don’t have the money to appeal the judge’s decision to dismiss the case.
READ MORE: Judge tosses ‘frivolous’ lawsuit against Sask. uranium mining deal
The group filed a lawsuit against mining giants Cameco and AREVA after they signed a collaboration agreement with the mayor of Pinehouse, Sask. in December 2012.
The deal is expected to secure community investment but the plaintiffs say it’s undemocratic.
“I compare these collaboration agreements to the small pox blankets, when in the past what appeared to benefit indigenous peoples, really held a deadly force,” said plaintiff Debbie Mihalicz.
Since the group first filed its lawsuit, a number of goals have been achieved including halting the expansion of uranium mines.
Candyce Paul "The main Saskatchewan media (CBC, CTV, Star Phoenix) was very blatantly absent from this Press Conference. They had no problem covering Cameco's response to the ruling last month. I guess we know who pays their salaries. The mainstream media will only inform the public of that which their corporate bosses want you all to know. There was no big important news that morning that required their attention. They are just as useless as the Courts."