To whom it may concern,
I am writing to you today as a concerned citizen, but more importantly as a young person whose life you have the power to greatly impact - for good and for ill. This message is in response to the Deep Geologic Repository Project that Ontario Power Generation (OPG) is proposing to construct in the municipality of Kincardine.
I grew up in the Township of Chatsworth, only a short drive from Kincardine. While education and economic opportunity have led me away from the area, my parents and extended family all remain there and I visit as often as possible; to me, this will always be home. That is part of why I find this project so troubling.
While I can understand and sympathize with the difficulties of managing radioactive waste materials, I hope that you also can reflect upon the uneasiness or even fear that many experience at the idea of having radioactive waste materials buried within or near to their community. To be clear, I do not look at this as a not-in-my-backyard appeal. This is statement of not-on-my-planet.
I urge you to indicate publicly that you reject this project in order to signal to OPG, the Ontario government, the federal government, and the world, that nuclear is not an acceptable future. Reject this project, not because some pleasant folks from the countryside asked politely, but because the waste material of nuclear power is too great a threat to the collective future of any life that may accidentally come into contact with it.
Reject the project; signal the shift; defend the Great Lakes.
Perhaps the strongest reason that I urge you to reject this project is contained in a single word: reconciliation. Our Prime Minister has signalled to his Cabinet and to Canadians that we - the non-Indigenous people on these lands - have entered an historic period of reconciling ourselves to our own history of genocide and dispossession, and of reconciling ourselves to the Indigenous peoples who have lived in these territories since time immemorial.
The Saugeen Ojibway First Nation has officially voiced its opposition to the Repository Project, because in the words of former chief Randall Kahgee: "Water is life. The First Nations in these parts and elsewhere on the Great Lakes have depended on it for thousands of years. At this point, we're not going to do anything that would potentially condemn it forever."
Beyond a doubt you have witnessed the standoff at the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation in North Dakota over the past year. This is the result of a state that rejects reconciliation in favour of extractive industry. I do not want Canada to be that state.
The Saugeen Ojibway are likely to have a treaty-based interest in this project, and are thus potentially in a position to veto the project - or at the very least to enter into a drawn out court-battle on the matter. This does not have to happen, however; there is no need to waste valuable time and financial resources in continuing to fight against Indigenous peoples.
Of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission's 94 calls to action, items 92(i-iii) call upon the Canadian government to fully implement the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and to thereby honour the principle of free prior and informed consent in all development projects effecting Indigenous peoples. For Canada to be in a reconciliatory and consensual relationship with its treaty-partners at Saugeen Ojibway First Nation requires that your office reject the Repository Project and begin to chart a new path forward.
Do this for us today, and for the next seven generations to come.
PhD (Candidate), UVic
Treaty No. 45 1/2, Territory of the Anishinaabeg of the Saugeen Ojibway First Nations, Bruce-Grey-Owen Sound, ON