Algonquin First Nations Do NOT CONSENT to a giant radioactive landfill on the shores of Kitchi Sibi in their unceded territory

Five Algonquin First Nations are saying they have not been adequately consulted about the NSDF or not been consulted at all.

Kebaowek First Nation (KFN)

The Kebaowek First Nation’s letter to the CNSC  (Jan. 31, 2022) states that the CNSC’s decisions “pose significant and long-term impacts [to] Kebaowek’s constitutionally protected Aboriginal rights,”  and that “The CNSC as yet, has not discharged its duty to consult nor undertaken consultation with Kebaowek before deciding to proceed with the licensing and EA hearing for the NSDF.”

From KFN’s supplementary submission to the CNSC April 28, 2022:

“United Nations Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples

Although the mandate of the CNSC does not mention a mandate to examine the relationship between the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) and the NSDF, the Committee should be reminded of your government’s adoption of UNDRIP at the UN assembly and incorporate the “minimal standards” developed by States and Indigenous peoples from around the world with respect to the protection of waters used and valued by Indigenous people. 

Article 32 of UNDRIP recognizes the right of Indigenous Peoples’ to control development of their traditional territories and resources. Among that development is the exploitation and use of water resources. In fact, States such as Canada should be engaged in good faith processes with Indigenous peoples affected by development projects in their territories in order to obtain the free, prior and informed consent prior to the approval of any project affecting Indigenous water resources.

KFN takes the position that the CNSC has not engaged in consultation via a good faith process intended to obtain the free, prior and informed consent of our community with respect to the Environmental Assessment (EA) of the NSDF. We further take the position that the duty to consult and accommodate has been eliminated and/or seriously reduced.

The Commission is not in a position to make either of the determinations required in order to approve CNL’s application. The CNSC has not fulfilled the DTCA with KFN and consequently, it cannot satisfy itself that the requirements under the CEAA or the NSCA have been met. The Commission has no option at this point but to either deny CNL’s application or defer its decision to allow for the proper fulfillment of its DTCA. Proceeding otherwise would result in the Commission’s violation of the Crown’s constitutional obligations and potentially the greater and unknown impacts to both the environment and our inherent and projected rights.”

Mitchikanibikok Inik, Algonquins of Barriere Lake (ABL)

The Algonquins of Barriere Lake state in their letter to the CNSC (April 1, 2022) that: “it appears to us that your Agency’s approach to fast tracking the NSDF hearing without fully and meaningfully consulting affected Algonquin Anishinaabeg communities is unreasonable and falls considerably short of fulfilling the Crown’s duty to meaningfully consult.”

From ABL’s submission to CNSC (May 4, 2022):

“We have lived in the Kishi Sipi watershed from time immemorial…The Algonquin Nation have been on the territory for over 8000 years…Never once was ABL directly contacted or consulted by the CNSC or CNL…ABL has always taken on our role as protectors of the land and resources on our traditional territory seriously.”

“ABL submitted a request for ruling to the CNSC on April 1, 2022, in accordance with rule 20 of the Canadian Nuclear Safety Rules of Procedure in favour of an adjournment of this public hearing for a period of 12 months. We made this request on the basis that we are extremely concerned about the NSDF project’s and its potential impacts and considering our community’s deep-seated ecological and environmental knowledge, acquired through a long and intimate association with the Kitchi-Sibi, as we know the Ottawa River, and surrounding sites are not reflected in the baseline studies conducted by CNL. We also took issue with the aggressive timeline that has led to the negotiation of participant funding agreements being undertaken in an informational vacuum. Despite this, the Commission determined that an adjournment was not merited and that it would be premature to adjourn the proceedings at this time…”

“While the CNSC staff have recommended that the Commission determine that the NSDF project is not likely to cause significant adverse environmental effects referred to in the CEAA and conclude pursuant to the NSCA that CNL’s application with respect to the NSDF should be approved, the Commission cannot make this determination and fulfill its DTCA absent ABL’s input and engagement with this process. The Commission simply does not have any of the information it needs to make these determinations. Both ABL’s lack of opportunity to provide this input and CNSC’s resulting inability to consider and address this information mean that the DTCA has not been met.”

“The Commission is not in a position to make either of the determinations required in order to approve CNL’s application. The CNSC has not fulfilled the DTCA owed to ABL, in fact it has not engaged with us at all and consequently it cannot satisfy itself that the requirements under the CEAA or the NSCA have been met. The Commission has no option at this point but to either deny CNL’s application or defer its decision to allow for the proper fulfillment of its DTCA through the creation of an engagement framework that properly recognizes ABL as an equal jurisdiction in this matter. Proceeding otherwise would result in the Commission’s violation of the Crown’s constitutional obligations and potentially the greater and unknown impacts to both the environment and our inherent and projected rights.”

Kitigan Zibi Anishinabeg(KZA)

The Kitigan Zibi Anishinabeg, in its submission to the CNSC (April 11, 2022) stated: “we do not give our consent for this project in its current form. . . . As mentioned above we also do not consider that we have been adequately and meaningfully consulted and especially not accommodated on this project.”

Wolf Lake First Nation (WLFN)

The Wolf Lake First Nation, In its  recent submission to the CNSC dated May 4, 2022, states: “We do not agree with the NSDF disposal mound proposal on our Title territory alongside the Ottawa River. We view this alarming situation as clearly inconsistent with the federal objective of advancing reconciliation. Moreover, the commission bypassing our and other Algonquin communities’ participation in the CEAA 2012 environmental assessment ignores our rights under section 35 of the Constitution Act, 1982 and the Crown’s duty to consult and accommodate WLFN’s concerns.”

Algonquins of Pikwakanagan First Nation (AOPFN)

AOPFN say they are not ready to provide their free prior and informed consent (FPIC).

Here are some excerpts from this AOPFN submission to the CNSC May, 19, 2022: 

“Engagement on critical issues – the location of the facility, planning for management of wastes,importation of wastes, respect for AOPFN’s consent requirement, and what impacts are likely should the Project proceed – has been superficial or dismissive and has not led to reconciliatory actions”

“AOPFN has never been engaged by AECL or CNL in site planning activities to date.”

“The importation of radioactive waste from other facilities, is opposed to the AOPFN’s nuclear sector principles and the Anishinabek Nation and Iroquois Caucus (2017) Declaration on Nuclear Wastes which calls for ‘no imports or exports’ of nuclear wastes”

“The Project as proposed is not ready”

“The AOPFN is not ready to provide its FPIC due to Project uncertainties and lack of evidence of adequate mitigation and accommodation, and that consent is paramount”

“Further work is required to: 

• Confirm with impacted parties this is the best location for CRL waste storage

• Remove incoming waste streams from the Project plan

• Show that impacts on rights are properly predicted, minimized and accommodated for 

• There is no emergency requiring immediate action; Canada and its contractor should take the time it takes to develop a Project acceptable to impacted parties

• The CNSC can play a key role in this by requiring additional work be done prior to making a decision or deeming the Project is not ready to proceed as proposed”

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