The Sudbury Star is the City of Greater Sudbury’s daily newspaper.
Re: Miners racist, natives charge — Nov. 8.
This article was shockingly unfair and inaccurate towards Solid Gold Resources. Wahgoshig Chief Dave Babin says his band is taking a legal and principled position to defend their rights. That’s fine. But when Solid Gold takes a legal and principled position to defend their rights, he disgracefully accuses it of waging a “racist media campaign” against them, the better to shut down free speech on this important issue and avoid any critical inquiry of his and his band’s behaviour.
And Chief Babin’s assertion that the Ontario government is somehow supporting Solid Gold in this is false. The Ontario government allied itself with Wahgoshig in the original injunction proceeding, where it was Wahgoshig and the Ontario government on the one side, and little Solid Gold on the other (its shares are now trading at under three cents thanks to Wahgoshig and Ontario).
Solid Gold sought and was granted leave to appeal the injunction ruling. In its court filings, the Ontario government again supported Wahgoshig, arguing that it, and therefore its de facto delegatee, Solid Gold, had a duty to consult Wahgoshig, which Solid Gold failed to meet. Solid Gold argued, as was its right, that it didn’t have a duty to consult — that the 2004 Supreme Court judgment referred to in the article, (called Haida Nation), did not extend through the Crown to exploration companies like Solid Gold with already-existing rights under previously and validly staked claims.
In a recent ruling, Justice Wilton- Siegel, in granting Solid Gold’s application to appeal the injunction, ruled that there was good reason to doubt that the injunction had been properly granted — that there was good reason to believe that the Ontario government, and therefore Solid Gold, never had any duty to consult in the first place. It’s amazing that neither Chief Babin nor the story disclosed this important legal ruling, which calls into question a great deal of the Ontario government’s anti-Crown sovereignty behavior in our natural resources sector since Haida Nation was decided.
The Ontario government, as a direct response to the ruling, rushed into law a whole new set of “consult and accommodate” Mining Act regulations that, in effect, cancelled Justice Wilton-Siegel’s ruling. This government action, to me, constitutes a wrong-headed, economically harmful and possibly gratuitous surrender of necessary and desirable Crown sovereignty, which won’t help the vast majority of vulnerable, powerless natives in the end (only their elites will prosper) and which definitely harms the economy and all the citizens of Ontario.
Solid Gold Corp. president Darryl Stretch’s only “sin” was to not sit back passively and let his company’s pocket get picked, where, in his opinion, subsequently confirmed by Justice Wilton- Siegel, there was very possibly no legal basis for it. There’s not an ounce of “racism” in that, and I say shame on chief Babin and The Sudbury Star for framing the issue in that way.
For the rest of this article, please go to the Sudbury Star website: http://www.thesudburystar.com/2012/11/14/no-racism-in-mining-firms-actions-with-native-band