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Sudbury chapter disappointed injunction not granted to stop logging of the Benny Forest

The Sudbury chapter was at a Sudbury court house yesterday to support an injunction against logging in the Benny Forest. Photo by John Lappa/Sudbury Star/Postmedia Network.

The Council of Canadians Sudbury chapter supports ongoing efforts to protect the Benny Forest, which is on the territorial lands of the Atikameksheng Anishnawbek First Nation.

Chapter activist Andre Clement tells us, “The forest is located approximately sixty kilometers, north of Sudbury. Logging operations have been slated for two large tracts of land that are considered by some to be part of contested traditional lands that were not clearly surveyed at the time of treaty negotiations. An earlier agreement had intended to postpone logging operations until a resolution to the dispute, but operators were discovered starting preparations for winter logging. The chapter supports [efforts] to protect a significant part of the diminishing Boreal Forest that stretches across the northern hemisphere.”

In August 2015, the Sudbury Star reported, “The spraying of herbicides on replanted forests is raising alarm among First Nations people from west of Blind River to north of Cartier. …The Vermilion Forest Management Company maintains the two types of herbicide it applies — a glyphosate of the Roundup family and a Garlon product — only target vegetation that competes with the planted pines and won’t poison water or enter the food chain. …Opponents point out glyphosate has been classified as ‘probably carcinogenic to humans’ by the World Health Organization, and cite research indicating both it, and the triclopyr-based Garlon product, can have dire consequences for fish and frogs.”

The Council of Canadians helped with the effort to win an injunction against the logging.

On March 18, the Sudbury Star reported, “Clyde McNichol, Art Petahtegoose and Barbara Ronson McNichol will take their concerns about logging in Benny Forest to the Superior Court of Justice in Sudbury on [March 18], to get an injunction to stop tree-cutting and spraying of defoliants. The three are asking the court to stop three companies from cutting trees in the forest area north of Cartier. The demand is based on the theory that the area was promised for survey by treaty in the late 1800s and must be protected ‘to uphold the integrity of the Crown and Canada’, they said in a release.”

But yesterday the Sudbury Star reported, “A Superior Court Justice has dismissed an injunction to stop logging around the Highway 144 community of Benny, northwest of Greater Sudbury. ‘The applicants have made impassioned and effective submissions’, Justice Edward Gareau wrote in his three-page decision. ‘I have reflected on the information provided by them to the court, but do not conclude that the facts of this case or the jurisprudence, including the test of interlocutory injunction, supports the granting of an interlocutory injunction. Accordingly, for written reasons to follow, the motion for an interlocutory injunction brought by the applicants is dismissed.'”

Ronson McNichol says, “We may have lost, but we are not giving up.”

For more, please see the Save the Benny Forest Facebook page here.