Grassy Narrows takes Ontario to court for issuing mining exploration permits – by Logan Turner (CBC News Thunder Bay – November 17, 2021)

Grassy Narrows says it wasn’t consulted before province granted 9 permits

Members of a First Nation in northwestern Ontario are accusing the government of breaking the law in granting nine permits for mineral exploration in traditional territory without consulting them — a requirement under the Canadian Constitution and Ontario’s Mining Act.

Asubpeeschoseewagong (Grassy Narrows) First Nation wants all nine permits quashed and a declaration that the government “breached the honour of the Crown,” according to legal documents filed with the Ontario Superior Court of Justice on Monday.

The permits were issued between September 2019 and February 2021 for land that’s been subject to a moratorium on industrial activity by the people of Grassy Narrows since 2007. But the First Nation only learned about them in May, according to the legal documents.

“When the government issues mining permits behind our backs, that’s not reconciliation. That’s destruction,” Grassy Narrows Chief Randy Fobister told CBC News.

Early exploratory activities allowed by the permits, such as the drilling of holes and “mechanized surface stripping which involves the use of heavy equipment to remove all vegetation and soil from areas of rock,” could cause harm to the lands that make up the traditional territory of the First Nation, said Fobister.

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