Cree, Cree and uranium mining, Cree vs. Strateco, First Nations rights, first peoples rights, indigenous rights, Local governance, Majescor Haiti, Majescor Strateco, Minority Rights, Provincial Rights vs. Federal, Quebec Sovereignty, Sovereignty over the earth, States Rights, stewardship of creation, Strateco Resources, Strateco vs. Quebec, The Right to Clean Air Water and Food, The Still Unanswered Question, Treaty Rights, Treaty violations, Tyranny of the Majority, Uranium Mining Canada, uranium mining Otish mountains, Uranium Mining Quebec
In the context of our site, Strateco is, of course, Majescor’s partner and is operator for their Mistassini uranium property in Quebec. Strateco’s woes will most likely finish Majescor off. Unlike Eurasian-Newmont, VCS Mining, and the Haitian government, who provide virtually no real information about mining, other than some historic, Majescor has offered some more recent information. While we will miss them for that reason, our hope is that if Majescor goes bankrupt, that it will slow down mining in Haiti. This, we believe, will buy time until elections. Certainly it won’t solve the problem, since partner SOMINE will still be on the ground. And, there is still Eurasian Minerals and probably Newmont. As well, there is at least one private company: VCS-Delta Mining. We believe that there is at least one more private, unknown, mining company operating in Haiti.
BIGGER ISSUES AT STAKE
But, there are much bigger things at stake with the Strateco Resources uranium case, than Majescor’s potential bankruptcy, and perhaps their own. There are the critical environmental considerations, like uranium poisoning of the area of the Otish Mountains, which is the source of water for most, if not all, of the Province of Quebec, as well as other environmental dangers which come with uranium mining, and which we have discussed at length elsewhere.
But, the case also deals with questions of indigenous, First Nations rights and local government rights versus Federal and/or Provincial governments, or, in this instance, Federal versus Provincial Government: Canada has said “yes” to uranium mining in Quebec, and the Cree First Nations and the Province of Quebec say “no”. In other countries one might speak of states rights vs. federal government supremacy, cantonal vs. federal, local vs. national supremacy, etc. Many, especially southerners, argue that the US Civil War was actually over states rights versus federal supremacy. Switzerland also fought a very short Civil War in 1847 (Sonderbundskrieg) over this issue. The US Federal Troops smashed the southern secessionist opposition, through overwhelming force, followed by a lengthy occupation. In Switzerland, faced with overwhelming force, the secessionists quickly capitulated, and were also occupied. The Strateco case is particularly interesting in the context of the Quebec sovereignty debate, all the more so, since the current Premier (Prime Minister) of Quebec, Pauline Marois, is from the traditionally separatist-oriented Parti Quebecois (Pequistes). She replaced the Liberal Party’s Jean Charest, last fall. Furthermore, in the Strateco Resources case, one finds the critical issue of whether to uphold or violate treaties with First Nations and other indigenous peoples, as well as indigenous rights under international law. These issues and likely more, are at stake in this case.
We also see what self-centered, pompous “expletive deleted”s (choose your own expletive) are running many, if not all, Mining companies. (Strateco Resources has proven particularly repulsive.) They don’t care for the environment and just try to stomp on everyone in order to get their way! But, then, that’s the way First Nations, American Indians, and other native first peoples-indigenous peoples have been treated by invading peoples throughout most of history. Plus ca change, plus c’est la meme chose (The more things change, the more it’s the same thing).
See for instance a CBC January News Report:
MINING COMPANY ASKS COURT TO VOID TREATY CONDITION: STRATECO RESOURCES MOVES TO FORCE DECISION FROM QUEBEC GOVERNMENT ON CREE REGION URANIUM PROJECT
CBC News Posted: Jan 22, 2013
“The Grand Chief of the Grand Council of the Crees says a uranium mining company is trying to circumvent his people’s treaty rights.
Strateco Resources launched a court action last week to try to force the Quebec government to make a decision about the Matoush uranium exploration project in the Otish Mountains. The Matoush project is located about 210 kilometres northeast of Mistissini, Que. The mining company says it has been waiting for a decision from the ministry since August 2011.
Strateco is also asking the court to void a condition created by the James Bay and Northern Quebec Agreement that the company demonstrate the project has the support of the Grand Council of the Crees.
Comex, the provincial environmental review board for northern Quebec, has declared that no mining company can start work until the people that will be most affected agree. Strateco Resources has said the Crees shouldn’t have the power to veto the exploration project.
The Crees are opposed to the Matoush uranium project and have called for a moratorium against all uranium development in Cree territory. ‘We’ve always supported environmentally and socially sustainable and equitable development in our territory,’ said Grand chief Matthew Coon Come. ‘But at the same time, the social acceptability of a proposed development project has long been recognized by Quebec and was reaffirmed by the Paix des Braves Agreement of 2002, so there is a fundamental principle here that is reflected in the Comex recommendation concerning the Matoush project. So if Strateco is trying to circumvent that, then that will affect our treaty rights.’ Coon Come also said the Grand Council will watch the case closely and if need be, they will be ready to go to court.” http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/north/story/2013/01/22/north-strateco-uranium-motion.html And, indeed, they did decide to intervene in court as discussed in our previous post: https://miningawareness.wordpress.com/2013/08/02/majescors-vanishing-prospects-total-cease-trade-order-on-the-horizon/
THE STILL UNANSWERED QUESTION
How about when mining companies get social or political approval through the ignorance of the population and/or purchasing assent through bribery, economic promises, misleading statements, etc? Is there a right of majorities, whether indigenous, first peoples, or anyone else to poison the minority or to poison the voiceless, voteless, children, plants, animals, future generations and the earth itself? Who gives them that right? And, especially when, as with uranium, the poison is there for eternity, considering a half-life of 4.5 billion years?
We hear much of “democracy” nowadays, but little of the tyranny of majorities. Democracy does not necessarily protect minorities or voiceless non-voting creation, whether children, plants, animals, future generations or the earth itself. How about Hitler’s rise to power in a democratic Germany? Was it right that the Jews, Roma, disabled, political dissidents, etc. were starved and poisoned in gas chambers, simply because they were voiceless and/ or minorities. Can a majority rightfully poison a minority? Can they choose that everyone’s food, air, and water be poisoned with mining? Can a majority choose to poison and ultimately exterminate everyone and everything? Does anyone have that right?
When there is no clean water, food or air left, and everyone is dying painful deaths of cancer, will we only then reflect, as Pastor Niemoeller belatedly did about Nazi Germany?
“When the Nazis came for the communists,
I remained silent;
I was not a communist.
When they locked up the social democrats,
I remained silent;
I was not a social democrat.
When they came for the trade unionists,
I did not speak out;
I was not a trade unionist.
When they came for the Jews,
I remained silent;
I wasn’t a Jew.
When they came for me,
there was no one left to speak out.” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/First_they_came…
As far as we know, the majority of religions believe that humans are either part of the earth and that the earth itself is sacred and/or that we were put here to be stewards or caretakers of the earth. And, if it is written in Genesis that we should fill the earth, it does not say that we should overfill it and destroy the earth, but rather implies stewardship of creation.
The only religion we know of that promotes destruction, as opposed to stewardship of the earth, is worship of the money-god:
“Canada, the most affluent of countries, operates on a depletion economy which leaves destruction in its wake. Your people are driven by a terrible sense of deficiency. When the last tree is cut, the last fish is caught, and the last river is polluted; when to breathe the air is sickening, you will realize, too late, that wealth is not in bank accounts and that you can’t eat money.” Attributed to Alanis Obomsawin, “an Abenaki from the Odanak reserve, seventy odd miles northeast of Montreal”, Quebec, Canada. http://quoteinvestigator.com/tag/prophecy-of-the-cree-indians/
Stories from the Rainbow Warrior: A Cree Prophecy (video switches quickly to English). Harmony Lambert-Greenpeace Video