Wabauskang First Nation
December 20, 2012
Wabauskang First Nation’s lawsuit opposing Rubicon Mineral’s proposed Phoenix Mine at Red Lake, Ontario has been filed at the Ontario Superior Court of Justice.
“We will oppose Rubicon’s mine until our Treaty rights are respected,” said Wabauskang Chief Leslie Cameron. “We would rather not go to court, but until Canada and Ontario fulfill their responsibilities to us, we have no choice.”
Wabauskang’s lawsuit asks the court to either suspend or entirely cancel the approval of the closure plan, which is the primary authorization that will let Rubicon go into production. The lawsuit relies on last year’s court win by Grassy Narrrows First Nation in Keewatin, where the court found that only the federal government can justify an infringement of Treaty rights.
“We know that Ontario has been informing companies that any authorizations they get in the Keewatin lands may not be valid because the court has found that Ontario doesn’t have jurisdiction to issue authorizations. We think Rubicon’s closure plan is an example of an authorization that will ultimately be cancelled by the court.”
Wabauskang also argues that even if Ontario has jurisdiction to approve Rubicon’s closure plan, it unlawfully delegated its responsibilities to Rubicon. The courts have been clear that government, not companies, are ultimately responsible for fulfilling the duty to consult.
“Rubicon talks about their consultation, but where’s the government’s consultation? Ontario relied on Rubicon. That’s not right,” said Chief Cameron. “Our situation with Rubicon is similar to Wahogshig First Nation’s court case against Solid Gold Resources.
We’re going to be closely following that case because there are many similarities with our situation. We can’t stand by and let the federal government and Ontario delegate their duties to mining companies. It’s the Crown’s responsibility to respect our Treaty rights.”
For more information please contact:
Chief Leslie Cameron