Photos of this event by Garth Gullekson
The first in a series of hearings into the impacts of the uranium cycle began yesterday in the little town of Sharbot Lake, drawing a large and attentive audience.
The hall was rented, the presenters readied, the panelists in place and the people came! By the end of the day, hundreds of people had come to see what their community had to say about uranium. The venue had to be changed part way through the morning, to allow for the growing crowd.
The proceedings began with an opening prayer from Danka Brewer of the Shabot Obaadjiwan First Nations. She spoke of the need for all of the different communities to work together to protect Mother Earth and explained that "Just because something in the ground is worth millions of dollars, does not mean that we should use it."
Carol Pepper, chairperson for the Sharbot Lake session, introduced the three panelists:
Janet Gutowski: Mayor of Central Frontenac, with nine years experience as a councilor - six in the City of Thorold and three in the Township of Central Frontenac; an advocate for sound planning and sustainable economic development, Janet has been active in supporting the work of lake associations and community groups.
Fraser McVie: Retired from senior positions in the Canadian justice system, Fraser helped develop modern and humane approaches to corrections based on rehabilitation and treatment. He has extensive experience in international projects and peacekeeping, including work as an expert with UN Interim Mission in Kosovo.
Cameron Smith: Writer of the Toronto's Star's environmental column for twelve years; former managing editor of the Globe and Mail; a two time winner of the National Newspaper award; best selling author of "The Lewis Family, An Unfinished Journey." Cameron has also worked underground as a hardrock miner and as a lawyer.
The panelists spent hours attentively listening to presenters, while taking notes and occasionally asking questions. They will submit their observations and recommendations, which will be included in a final report to government agencies and other interested parties as well as online at www.uraniumcitizensinquiry.com
Thirty-five people made presentations on behalf of themselves and/or the organizations that they represented.
The presenters for the Sharbot Lake uranium inquiry included:
Jocelyne Steeves, Pamela Giroux, Larry McDermott (Shabot Obaadjiwan First Nation and Plenty Canada), Helen Crowe, Joel Klassen (Christian Peacemaker Team), Carmi Gallant, Helen Forsey, Elizabeth Nielsen Ph.D., Dave Nielsen, Jerry Ackerman, Shabot Obaadjiwan First Nation's Chief Doreen Davies, Earl Badour Sr. (Shabot Obaadjiwan First Nation), Emily Conger (A2A-Algonquin to Adirondacks Conservation Association), Howard Robinson (Mississippi Valley Field Naturalists & Buckshot Lake Cottage Association), Bob Miller, Sulyn Cedar, Steve Kotze, Andy Fisher, Willa Murray, Frank Morrison, Marilyn Crawford, Don Hanam, Maren Molthan (Peacework Band), Ardoch Algonquin First Nation's acting co-chief Mireille LaPointe, John Drozdowski, Winnifred Spuehler, Oskar Graf (Blue Skies Cultural Community Center), John Kittle, Martina Field, Steve Rymal, Mary Stinson, Larry Lightstone, Ken Fisher, Terry Tufts and Dwain Scudder.
Many of their presentations will be added to the Uranium Citizens' Inquiry website over the next few weeks.
CCAMU would like to acknowledge the following people for their contributions:
Garth Gullekson: For photographing the event. His photos of this and other uranium events can be found on the CCAMU website.
Danka Brewer of the Shabot Obaadjiwan First Nations: For doing the opening prayer ceremony for the inquiry.
Lissa Rissanen and Sheila MacDonald: For acting as our film crew and documenting many of the presentations. Carol Pepper: For chairing/hosting the Sharbot Lake session and taking care of all the details that come with this role.
St. Andrew's Anglican Church: For donating the hall and then quickly responding to our need of more space by opening up the church. Liz Scott went out of her way to come and help make a smooth transition to the new location and stayed on to help with the facilities and the cleanup.
Graham Beck of Little Stream Bakery: For providing the tasty organic baked goods.
The Christian Peacemaker Team: For providing dinner for our panelists and organizers.
Cheryl Nash and Dawn King: For providing homemade baked goods.
CCAMU would also like to acknowledge the extraordinary contributions of Donna Dillman, Marilyn Crawford and Wolfe Erlichman who have spent hundreds of hours organizing the Citizens' Inquiry. Donna also facilitated the inquiry, ensuring that everything remained on schedule.
Thank you, as well, to everyone who took the time to make a presentation. Your participation was key to making the Citizens' Uranium Inquiry a success!
The "Citizens' Inquiry into the Impacts of the Uranium Cycle" is brought to you by The Community Coalition Against Mining Uranium (CCAMU) which thanks the following for their assistance:
Sisters of Providence
The First Six Years
Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment
Toronto Climate Campaign
Students Against Climate Change
David Suzuki Foundation
Mining Watch Canada
Voice of Woman
Canadian Coalition for Nuclear Responsibility
Sierra Club of Canada
And the many private individuals who have donated funds to help make the inquiry a success.
The upcoming hearings:
April 8th: Kingston
Queen St. United Church (Corner of Queen and Clergy)
While the schedule is currently 'full' for Kingston, it is expected that those who wish to go on standby will most likely be heard. Some people will cancel and not everyone will use their 10min time slot, thus leaving extra time at the end of the day for late registrants. In Sharbot Lake, everyone who wanted to be heard ended up having a chance to speak.
April 15th: Peterborough
Sadleir House (751 George St.)
April 22nd: Ottawa
Rideau Park United Church (2203 Alta Vista Dr. Near Kilborn)
There is still time to write a submission! Email yours to firstname.lastname@example.org