Legal action seeks transparency from Northern Village of Pinehouse regarding uranium contracts
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 27, 2014
Plaintiffs D’Arcy Hande, Valerie Zink, and Andrew Loewen filed a statement of claim in the Court of Queen’s Bench today seeking compliance with the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act on the part of Mayor Mike Natomagan of the Northern Village of Pinehouse. Mayor Natomagan has refused to release documentation requested under the Act despite the urgings of the Information and Privacy Commissioner in a public report released last November.
The statement of claim comes in response to the Mayor and Village Council’s persistent failure to respond to two Freedom of Information Requests filed in April 2013 by Valerie Zink, then-Editor/Publisher of Briarpatch Magazine. The requests were submitted as part of ongoing research for an investigative story by Saskatoon-based journalist and researcher D’Arcy Hande on a controversial agreement between the Village of Pinehouse, Kineepik Métis Local #9, and uranium giants Cameco and Areva for mining contracts valued at approximately $200 million.
On November 18, 2013, Saskatchewan Information and Privacy Commissioner Gary Dickson released a Review Report recommending that the Minister of Justice and Attorney General “consider prosecution pursuant to section 56(3) of The Local Authority Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act in respect to the refusal of the Northern Village of Pinehouse to comply with a lawful requirement of the Commissioner.”
More than 250 days have now passed since the FOI requests were first filed. Seeing no action on the part of the province, the plaintiffs have proceeded as individual citizens with a statement of claim that seeks to hold the Village Council accountable to its obligations under the Act.
“Mayor Natomagan has had ample opportunity to comply with a straightforward request for documents pertaining to monies paid by Cameco and Areva,” says D’Arcy Hande.
“We know that Cameco and Areva have paid large amounts of money to the Village council and its subsidiary corporation, Pinehouse Business North,” says Valerie Zink. “Pinehouse residents deserve to know where these infusions of cash are going, and what strings are attached.”
Tuesday January 28th at 11:00AM
2425 Victoria Avenue
valeriezink [at] gmail.com
andrew [at] briarpatchmagazine.com
Review Report from the Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner
“Courting collaboration,” Briarpatch Magazine, November/December 2013
Pinehouse in the News:
“Privacy Commissioner says Pinehouse remiss,” StarPhoenix, November 25, 2013
“Uranium’s chilling effects,” The Media Coop, November 21, 2013
“Legal actions challenges uranium industry agreement,” The Media Coop, June 25, 2013
“Pinehouse residents denounce nuclear waste, uranium mining at Idle No More workshop,” Prince Albert Daily Herald, March 11, 2013
“‘Collaboration Agreement’ with uranium giants sparks opposition in northern Saskatchewan,” Council of Canadians, December 3, 2012