June 5, 2017
Hon. Kathleen Wynne
Legislative Bldg Rm 281
Toronto, ON M7A 1A1
Dear Premier Wynne,
Re: Refrain from Issuing a Drilling Permit & Work with Moose Cree First Nation to Permanently Protect the North French River and South Bluff Creek
We support the right of a community to say NO to mineral exploration and mining projects that threaten the health of people and ecosystems in Ontario, Canada. We support the Treaty, inherent and international rights of Indigenous Peoples to protect their lands and water.
It has come to our attention that Ontario is about to decide on the James Bay Niobium Project (drilling) Exploration Permit Application PR-6-10977 on the South Bluff Creek Watershed, located in the Moose Cree Homeland in the Boreal Forest. In 2003, the community rejected drilling activities here and reiterated its position to Ontario in 2016 and again a few weeks ago. Its go-ahead would violate the community’s laws and protection plans for the North French River and South Bluff Creek.
We, therefore, call on the Ontario government to refrain from issuing the exploration permit PR-6-10977 and work with Moose Cree First Nation to make sure these lands and waters are permanently protected.
The North French River and the South Bluff Creek, a tributary that flows across the Moose Cree First Nation Reserve #68 located in the heart of the Moose Cree Homeland, are environmentally and culturally important to guarantee the survival of the Moose Cree people and are important to us all. The North French is one of the last sources of clean drinking water for this part of the province. Both these areas provide critical habitat for threatened boreal caribou, migratory birds and aquatic species. And both have wetlands which act as a giant carbon sink that will need to be maintained as part of the world’s plans to meet ambitious targets from the historic Paris agreement to combat climate change.
Working with Moose Cree to permanently protect the North French River and South Bluff Creek is also consistent with Ontario’s participation, along with other Provinces and Territories, in the Pathways to Target 1 process for meeting our international obligations under the Convention on Biological Diversity to protect 17% of lands and freshwater by 2020 (Ontario is currently at 10.3%) and with meeting requirements for critical habitat protection under Canada’s Species at Risk Act for boreal caribou.
Finally, it would be a sign of good faith as we all need to travel on the road to reconciliation together.
Director Conservation Planning
CPAWS Wildlands League
Director of Conservation and General Counsel
Omushkegowuk Women’s Water Council
Canadian Program Coordinator
FNWARM (First Nations Women Advocating Responsible Mining)
Boreal Songbird Initiative
Dr. Faisal Moola
Ontario and Northern Canada
David Suzuki Foundation
Canada Project Director
Natural Resources Defense Council
Dr. Anne Bell
Director of Conservation and Education
Head of Forest Campaign
Environment for the Americas
Cc: Honourable Catherine McKenna, Minister of Environment and Climate Change Canada
Honourable David Zimmer, Ontario Minister of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation
David deLaunay, Deputy Minister, Ontario Ministry of Northern Development and Mines
Desmond O’Connor, Director of Exploration, Ontario Ministry of Northern Development and Mines