Mayoralty Candidates Position Regarding Farming Of Rice In The Kawartha Lakes

Dear Concerned Residents of Selwyn

 

As you are aware, an election is coming up. The person who gets elected as Mayor will have an opportunity to fight on our behalf in finding solutions to our continuing battle, re the issues pertaining to the farming of rice in the Kawartha Lakes.

 

I asked each candidate what they would do if elected. Below are their responses. The quality of these candidates speak for itself,  as each one enthusiastically agreed to respond and in writing.

 

Our thanks for putting your names forward.

 

Sincerely

 

Larry Wood

 

 

 

 

Mayoralty Candidate Linda Marlene Eales

 

Dear Larry,

 

I sincerely apologize for my delay on my response. The reason for my response is that it is very important for me to review all background information I could obtain in order to most thoroughly and fairly respond to your request.

 

I have been in contact with Selwyn Township about this and support all of Selwyn Council’s Resolutions to work with our MP Monsef to continue to strongly urge the Federal Government through Parks Canada to Finalize a Wild Rice Management Plan, including:

 

Establish a method for harvesting the wild rice that considers the needs of adjacent waterfront property owners as the current mechanical method of using an air boat generates excessive noise that is disturbing to waterfront property owners and is affecting the enjoyment of their property.

Establish time limits on mechanical harvesting by limiting the hours per day for harvesting and establishing no harvesting on Sundays.

Additionally, in reviewing the response letter January 11th, 2018, from Jewel Cunningham, Director of Ontario Waterways Parks Canada: I will directly contact her in relation to her response, that “…further work on a wild rice management plan progresses…” and that  “Parks Canada will establish a forum in which cottagers and residents will be able to liaise and discuss concerns directly with the Trent Severn Waterway… Through education and collaboration, everyone’s interests can be heard and understood and possibly accommodated. On the specific concern raised related to the use of mechanical harvesting and the issuance of aquatic vegetation removal permits, Parks Canada and the Steering Committee will advance discussions pertaining to these topics. We appreciate your useful suggestions and will consider them at the table. ” [underlining is my addition]

 

I also think it may be wise for Selwyn Council to request a meeting with our Curve Lake Nation Chief and Council to discuss the wild rice on behalf of both of our community members, as we are all affected by this use of the shared lakes and shared land. At my requests for information, I have not received any confirmation that this has happened yet.

 

I have read about, and listened to your story of your family history on Pigeon Lake and understand that this is very upsetting for you and your family. I have received a number of other requests for my position on the wild rice seeding and harvesting on Pigeon Lake and will respond to those emails now. As you and yours well know, this is a challenging issue as it involves our Federal Government and our Williams Treaty First Nations, and there is a long history that is being considered at the Federal level prior to decisions being made now.

 

Please let me know when and where the candidates responses will be posted on your website so that I can direct other inquiries to your site. This may also help to garner more support for you.

 

Sincerely,

 

Linda Marlene Eales

 

 

Mayoralty Candidate Ron Black

 

 

Good morning Larry, as per our conversation, I am providing you with my comments regarding the seeding of wild rice on Pigeon Lake.  This seeding practice started almost ten years ago and it appears that our Federal government, their local representatives and the Trent Severn Waterway have done little to support the Selwyn residents who have been negatively impacted.  As the Trent Severn Waterway is a Federal jurisdiction, it is their responsibility to mitigate this issue to ensure fair and equal treatment of all residents.

Selwyn Township has a long history of cooperation and partnerships with its neighbouring townships and Curve Lake First Nations Council.  Our partnership with Curve Lake includes bi-annual Tri-council meetings with Trent Lakes Township, economic development and tourism initiatives, public transportation planning, provision of fire services to the reserve etc…  Selwyn Township values our relationships with our neighbours and wants to enhance future partnerships that will directly benefit residents in all of our communities.  Successful partnerships depend on all parties actively working together to find solutions to local issues that impact residents.

If elected Mayor of Selwyn Township, I will request an urgent meeting with Curve Lake Council to work on a compromise solution that is agreeable to both communities.   Partnerships are dependent on both parties having empathy and understanding of the needs of everyone involved.  Future partnerships with the Township of Selwyn may be negatively impacted based on support for these basic principles of negotiation and cooperation. I am prepared to urgently and actively work towards a solution for the residents of Selwyn Township.

 

Regards

Ron

 

 

Mayoralty Candidate Andy Mitchell

Larry

 

Thank you for taking the time to talk with me.

 

As always I appreciated hearing your perspective and I understand the frustration you are experiencing.

 

I believe one of the fundamental responsibilities of the Township is to take measures that work to facilitate residents having the opportunity to enjoy their property. As Mayor I would work hard to ensure this takes place.

 

As you point out in your letter indigenous harvesting rights is not the issue. You and your neighbours recognize this activity is consistent with the Williams Treaty.

 

What you are seeking are answers to a number of questions about the exercise of this right and the need to receive answers in a timely and clear manner.

 

More specifically you have asked:

 

  1. Is it legal to seed rice on Federal waterways
  2. Is it legal to harvest rice for commercial purposes
  3. Is it legal to harvest rice using mechanical devices

 

As Mayor of Selwyn I will champion your efforts to be provided answers. As you know I have extensive experience dealing with senior levels of government in general and indigenous issues more specifically. I have a long track record of getting things done.

 

In moving forward I would propose the following:

 

  1. Engage the Federal and Provincial government at both a political and bureaucratic level. As Municipal representatives our perspective needs to be heard and considered. I am prepared to go to Ottawa and Toronto to make our case
  2. As a Township we should engage FCM, AMO and ROMA to garner municipal allies in approaching the Federal and Provincial governments to outline approaches to assist municipalities in accommodating the exercise of Treaty rights
  3. Reach out to other municipalities to identify best practices in addressing similar situations
  4. Engage with the First Nations covered by the Williams Treaty to identify concerns and to develop an appropriate and respectful dialogue
  5. In the context of the Williams Treaty and subsequent affirmations, use the joint council meetings with Curve Lake to discuss perspectives and seek common understandings
  6. Advocate that the Township have a meaningful role on any working group developed to address the issue of wild rice
  7. In order to ensure property owners are kept up to date and have a venue to express their concerns, as Mayor I would strike a working group of property owners and the ward councillor to keep residents informed on progress and to receive input. This process could begin with a town hall meeting to allow a fulsome exchange of perspectives

 

In closing I believe that the resolution of the situation requires the respectful engagement of all parties. As challenging as the past relationship has been, the path forward requires the Township to make an aggressive effort to find common ground and to continue to engage all parties.

 

I would be pleased to discuss this further with you and your neighbours.

 

Andy

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To Jewel Cunningham-Director of Ontario Waterways -Parks Canada

Dear Jewel

Please advise when you will be able to update us. Yesterday, Monday September 17, we went  through another day of upset caused by Whetung, not only harvesting by mechanical means but also  seeding the lake approximately 50 to 75 feet off the shoreline in pristine water with no rice. To aggravate the situation even more he made a rude gesture at us. We then taped a video which clearly shows the seeding taking place which is attached.

Surely this action is not acceptable! All we read about is the need for reconciliation between the First Nations and the rest of Canada. How can there be reconciliation when one individual from the Curve lake reserve takes it upon himself to destroy the southern part of Pigeon Lake. Our  position is – enough is enough. If we have to take things into our own hands and create media attention to the fact that our Government’s are not prepared to take a position on this matter we are prepared to do so. There is nothing in the treaty settlement that addresses the issues below.

We have been in contact with our Governments since 2011 and the answer has always been…WE ARE WORKING ON A SOLUTION THAT WILL TAKE INTO CONSIDERATION THE FIRST NATION AND SHORELINE STAKEHOLDERS NEEDS…WERE WORKING ON A WILD RICE MANAGEMENT PLAN. These responses appear to be meaningless as we are now in a worse position than when we first started to voice our concerns. SEVEN years of communication and we still do not know ;

A. If it is legal to seed the Kawartha Lakes with wild rice?
B. If it is legal to harvest rice for commercial profit ?
C. If it is legal to harvest by mechanical means (air boat)

We are Canadians and need the protection of our rights;  our homes are loosing value, the use of the waterways are being lessened, plus the annual cycle of the growth of rice is causing more sedimentation that will eventually turn the southern part of Pigeon Lake into a swamp.
This is supported by the fact that the amount of rice has increased from an estimated growth of  200 acres to 1500 acres in the past seven years caused mainly by the admitted seeding of Mr. Whetung.

IT IS TIME FOR OUR GOVERNMENT TO REMEMBER, WE TOO DESERVE THEIR HELP IN ENSURING WE ARE TREATED FAIRLY!  WE ARE CANADIANS WHO NEED YOUR HELP IN STOPPING THE SEEDING AND MECHANICAL HARVESTING OF RICE FOR PROFIT. WE SUPPORT AND ENCOURAGE THE HARVESTING OF WILD RICE IN THE TRADITIONAL METHOD FOR PERSONAL AND CEREMONIAL USE.

FARMING (SEEDING AND HARVESTING BY MECHANICAL MEANS FOR PROFIT) OF RICE IN THE KAWARTHA LAKES SHOULD NOT BE PERMITTED!

Looking forward to meeting with you.

Sincerely
Larry Wood
Spokesperson for the Save Pigeon Lake Initiative

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PLEASE PAY ATTENTION….NO MATTER WHAT LAKE YOU ARE ON….THIS COULD HAPPEN TO YOU!

Dear Residents surrounding the Kawartha Lakes:

 

PLEASE PAY ATTENTION….NO MATTER WHAT LAKE YOU ARE ON….THIS COULD HAPPEN TO YOU!

 

On Monday, September 17th our rice problem reached a new level! Two individuals in an airboat were seen and videoed SEEDING the Eastern Shore of Pigeon Lake just feet off of our docks! This went on for about 4 hours and they continued to SEED all of the open water areas. ENOUGH IS ENOUGH….This is horrifying and totally unacceptable!

 

As you are aware, we have been trying to find a solution to the rice growth in the Kawartha Lakes. We have been in contact over the last 7 years with our Governments in the hope they would do something about the seeding and commercial harvesting. To date no solution has been found.

 

I have sent the attached letter to the Director of Ontario Waterways, Parks Canada with cc.’s To The Prime Minster of Canada, The Ministry of the Environment, The Ministry of Aboriginal Affairs, The Federal MPP of Peterborough County, The Ontario MP Of Peterborough and Selwyn Council.

WE NEED YOUR HELP TO END THIS ATROCITY!

  1. The only way we can make a difference is if we all SPEAK UP! You can help by writing your thoughts to all of the above or anyone else that will listen. Have your kids, grandkids and friends write a letter too.

 

  1.  We need to reach out and find some professionals or volunteers who can help us with this mess. Surely someone in this great country of ours would step up to help stop this injustice.

 

  1.  Please forward this email to others you know who are enjoying the pristine Kawartha Lakes. Seeding has taken place in all three tri-lakes plus Stoney Lake. Your lake could be next!

 

  1.  Do you know anyone who would have an interest in reviewing this Issue and advising us how to approach our Government for assistance?

 

  1.  You can also help by asking your friends to send a note to savepigeonlake@gmail.comrequesting to be put on our mailing list.

For those of you who have not been affected by this….Try to imagine how it would feel after working long and hard to acquire your lakefront dream home and having someone just feet off the end of your dock dropping seed into the water.  How would you feel?  PLEASE HELP!

Larry Wood

Spokesperson – Save Pigeon Lake Initiative

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Reconciliation with Williams Treaty First Nations – Is it Possible?

Dear Right Honourable Justin Trudeau Prime Minister

We have read with interest the reconciliation process and the settlement between the Governments of Ontario and of Canada. Of particular interest to us, shoreline stakeholders residing on the shores of Pigeon, Buckhorn and Chemong lakes in the Kawartha’s, is that the harvesting rights of the First Nations remained.

As proud Canadians we respect the need for Reconciliation and hopefully it will move forward in an honourable way, respecting  each other, resulting in a stronger Canada.

Unfortunately, we are concerned that respecting each other and reconciliation may not be possible in the present environment.

We reside near The Curve Lake First Nations Reserve and are quite familiar with the Williams treaties harvesting guide which states; ” First Nations have traditionally harvested for medicine, food, social and ceremonial purposes, including but not limited to harvesting of manomin-wild rice, wiigwaas-birch bark, miinaan-berries, medicinal plants and maple syrup.  The harvesters of the Williams Treaty First Nations recognize the importance of conservation and protection and will only harvest for personal and community use.”

We do not have any issue with the above; however, not all First Nations people who gather wild Rice, honour the Williams Treaty Harvesting guide which brings us to the reason we are requesting your assistance.

Mr. James Whetung of the First Nations Curve Lake Reserve, well known for his quest to fill the lakes with wild Rice, has admittedly seeded the lakes with thousand of lbs of rice expanding the rice fields on Pigeon Lake from approximately 200 acres in 2011 to in excess of 1500 acres today. He harvests the rice to sell commercially on line through Black Duck Wild Rice, as well as to people in markets and to wineries. His method of harvesting (farming) is by an airboat with  a sound decimal exceeding 100.

We have been in contact with all levels of Government since 2011, no action, just promises that their working on solutions. Seven years later still no answers from our Government. The following questions have gone unanswered.

  1. Is it legal to seed Federal Waterways?
  2. Is it legal to harvest rice for commercial purposes?
  3. Is it legal to harvest by mechanical means?

    Please take the time to review our website www.savepigeonlake.com and  the letters below. They will provide you with further insight  as to why we are requesting your assistance.

    We have met with Hon. Maryam Monsef who has shown little interest in our plight and therefore are requesting a meeting with you to explain more clearly our concerns.

    Thank you for your consideration.

    Yours truly
    Larry Wood
    Spokesperson- Save Pigeon Lake Initiative

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