Mine CEO [Darryl Stretch] accuses chiefs of slander – by Jonathan Migneault (Sudbury Star – December 17, 2012)

The Sudbury Star is the City of Greater Sudbury’s daily newspaper.

The president of a gold prospecting company has accused two First Nations chiefs of making “slanderous and defamatory remarks” against him in the media.

Darryl Stretch, the president of Solid Gold Resources Corporation, has given Dave Babin, chief of the Wahgoshig First Nation, and Harvey Yesno, grand chief of the Nishnawbe Aski Nation, until today to issue a public apology for comments they made at a Sudbury press conference on Nov. 7.

“In the event that you do not respond to this notice I will take whatever action is available to me,” Stretch said in his letter to Babin and Yesno. Babin has said he has no plans to respond to Stretch’s request for a public apology. The three parties have feuded over Stretch’s requests to do mining exploration on First Nation territory.

In March, Stretch told the Globe and Mail the Wahgoshig First Nation wanted his company to pay $100,000 to study whether its drilling would be on a burial ground.

“It’s not my obligation to go find arrowheads for those people, period,” Stretch told the Globe. “If they don’t like you, you don’t work. What kind of deal is that? Because I didn’t do it right, the way the Indians wanted me to? Because I didn’t give them money? Because I didn’t beg them for permission to go? It’s just ridiculous, the whole concept.”

In 2004, a Supreme Court of Canada judgment said the provincial or federal government has a “duty to consult” First Nations about work they want to do on a band’s territory.

Governments can pass along the duty to consult to natural resource companies that want to operate on the band land.

Babin said in the Nov. 7 press conference that his First Nation has only ever had problems dealing with Stretch’s company. “We haven’t had issues with anybody else,” he said. “We’ve had other companies contacting us saying they want to work with First Nations. They are learning the rules coming in. They seem to understand our issues.

For the rest of this article, please go to the Sudbury Star website: http://www.thesudburystar.com/2012/12/17/mine-ceo-accuses-chiefs-of-slander