Chris Benjamin may be supporting Ontario's measures regarding protection of the boreal forest in "Ontario's wild ideas," (Sustainable City, Aug. 21). But Ontario Premier Dalton MacGuinty said "protect" and "develop" in the same breath.

The protected area will be developed regardless of the use of the term "sustainable." There is no consideration for the desire to just leave the area alone. This is accompanied by other words like "consultation" when speaking of Native land rights issues. Whether you are Native or a private land owner, you won't be included in consultation unless you agree to development. You have no right to say "no" to development.

Case in point: Ontario's review of the Ontario Mining Act, a 145-year-old provincial legislation that provides mining interests the right to free access to private and crown land for staking and exploration. This piece of antiquity trumps property rights and native land rights.

When some interest wishes to "develop" native land, or private land, the province now wants to have meaningful consultation initiated, but no one is sure who has to do the consulting: the province? The miners? The exploration companies? There's no mention of Crown land, which belongs to the people, not the province or the feds. The province says that consultation is up to the miners and the miners say it's up to the province and the province responds that Native and certain issues, such as uranium, are in the fed's court and the feds are too busy posturing for an election and bumping up their stock portfolios.

The reason that the miners don't want to consult is that they fear claim-jumping. Currently, an exploration interest must give property owners scant hours notice before they can come in and remove 1,000 tonnes of material to assess whether it's worth continuing to trash your property. There is no obligation to repair any damage. Notification can consist of dropping a letter in the mail hours ahead of exploration activities. They could be on your land long before the letter arrives notifying you of their intent.

Your dingbats are no better of worse than ours. It's all for money and it's at the expense of all species---even humans.

Let's install stocks outside every legislature and on Parliament Hill. Some berating from the public would go nicely with these sociopathic megalomaniacs.

By Terry Tufts

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