ERFN CLC meeting: No real answers, no real welcome

March 19, 2013. Message from Candyce Paul, member of the English River First Nation and the Committee for Future Generations:

After a year and a half of waiting for our Band, English River First Nation (ERFN), and after numerous requests to be informed of meetings regarding the Nuclear Waste Repository we heard through the grapevine that there was to be a meeting with the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) today. It took several phone calls to confirm this.
We, as concerned Band members, decided to put our jobs on the line and go attend. There was a definite air that we were not welcome at this meeting but we noted that another Band member was in attendance who was not part of the ERFN – Nuclear Waste Management Organization (NWMO) Community Liaison Committee (CLC). When one of us stated our concern that this initiative is putting our children at extreme risk and that the Elders had warned us to monitor the activities of any outfit that would use bombs as the nuclear industry had done in Japan. We were told that this has nothing to do with the past and that we cannot make our concerns heard at this meeting. The Chairperson of the CLC had the police called in. The other unaligned Band member demanded that the policeman be sent out as there was no need as we were doing nothing wrong. We were told we could only ask questions of the CNSC.
Well, I am very glad we went, because if we hadn’t we would never have witnessed how poorly prepared these Community Liaison Committee people were to ask the kinds of questions that the people have been wanting answers to and how when CNSC danced around the question without answering they would just let it ride. We revealed that they will not give direct answers to questions like, “Can you give us a comparison of the radiation fallout and effects of the Nagasaki and Hiroshima bombs and the meltdown in Chernobyl? After a stumbling 4 minute history lesson on how they used the Japanese people to study the effects of radiation exposure and how there are now many wild animals in Chernobyl exclusion zone (of course there is no human activity) I finally asked him to please answer the question. He finally admitted he didn’t know. I answered as since this is of extreme importance to anyone who has children, grandchildren and hopes for their healthy futures, we have been researching this. By comparison the bombs caused a lot of radioactivity over a small area whereas the Chernobyl meltdown caused radioactive fall-out to spread over an area equal to the northern half of Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba and the southern regions of the NWT and Nunavut. They said they could if we want them to bring technical experts to answer this but admitted that the information is available over the internet. We noted that the CNSC turn into clams when it comes to how they deal with plutonium.
I am appalled and deeply concerned that people who have had a year and more and who claim to be here to learn, have so obviously not taken it upon themselves to do research into something that would leave our people living with the prospect of the world’s most lethal substance for eons to come.
So Treaty Ten people and everyone living in this region be aware that we cannot trust that this will be done in the best interest of our children nor of the children of the world. One of the things I asked, and I asked it because one of the members of the CLC had said to us before that if we take this nuclear waste we can make them stop producing it, does the CNSC have a plan in place to shut down the nuclear industry since the waste is not safe? NO. They have no control over that. Only the provinces that produce it do (thanks Ontario).

~ Candyce Paul

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