Ontario premier approves logging in Grassy Narrows territory

Brent Patterson
6 years ago

A Grassy Narrows First Nation media release states, "Today the Wynne government approved plans for another decade of clearcut logging in Grassy Narrows Territory against the will of this Indigenous community. The decision has ruined Christmas in a community already struggling with the long term health impacts of mercury poisoning. The Whiskey Jack Forest Management Plan 2012-2022 plans for dozens of large clearcuts on Grassy Narrows Territory, some nearly the size of pre-amalgamation Toronto."

"The plan sets out a schedule to clearcut much of what little mature forest remains on Grassy Narrows Territory after decades of large scale industrial logging. Clearcut logging elevates mercury levels in fish - deepening the tragedy caused when 20,000 lbs of mercury poison were dumped into Grassy Narrows' river by a paper mill upstream in the 1960's. This logging will further erode the Aboriginal and Treaty Rights of the community which depends on the forest to sustain their families and to practice their culture through fishing, hunting, trapping, medicine harvesting, ceremony and healing for all generations."

"We were not properly consulted and we do not accept any application of this plan to our traditional lands. The Chief and Council along with community Elders stand united on this issue and are determined to protect the community’s way of life; Aboriginal and Treaty Rights."

In August, Council of Canadians chairperson Maude Barlow stated, "The people of Grassy Narrows continue to suffer the effects of the mercury contamination of their rivers and streams which was first discovered more than forty years ago. Industrial clear-cut logging has not only destroyed trap lines and wiped out medicinal plant picking areas, it has almost certainly also contributed to new mercury leaching into their rivers and streams."

The Council of Canadians first began expressing its solidarity on this issue in April 2010.

Today's media release notes, "The Supreme Court of Canada will hear Grassy Narrows' case against Ontario in May, with a decision following by six months or more. The legal action argues that Ontario does not have the right to unilaterally permit logging on Grassy Narrows land due to promises made by Canada in Treaty 3. The new logging plan takes effect in April."

Further reading:
Premier Wynne: Give Grassy Narrows A Mercury Free Future For Christmas
Council of Canadians stands with Grassy Narrows
Grassy Narrows emblematic of water injustice in Canada
Will you eat the fish? Grassy Narrows demands justice from the Province

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