Saturday, February 5 · 6:00pm – 7:00pm
The Westin Hotel (11 Colonel By Drive, attached to the Rideau Centre), Ottawa
Provincial Tourism and Culture Minister Michael Chan has the power to issue an emergency stop work order for cutting of the Beaver Pond Forest, under the Ontario Heritage Act section 62. Please consider joining us at 6pm for a rally outside the Westin, where the provincial Liberals are gathered from Feb 4-6, and where Dalton McGuinty is set to deliver a speech at 6:30pm Saturday.
This is part of a letter from Minister Chan dated February 4, 2011:
“The Ministry of Tourism and Culture’s role in this situation is limited to the regulation of archaeology. The ministry is not an approval authority in respect of any development project.
The ministry regulates archaeology by licensing archaeologists under the Ontario Heritage Act and reviews archaeological assessment reports as a condition of licensing in accordance with Part VI of the act.
The assessment ofthe property in question was completed under the 1993 technical guidelines, and on June 1, 2004 the ministry issued a letter confirming that the assessment report met all of the requirements.
We recognize the City of Ottawa’s efforts to foster dialogue between the development proponent and the Aboriginal community on this issue.”
The assessment referred to, prepared for the developers and accepted by the Ministry in 2004, was reviewed by an independent archaeologist, Dr. Robert McGhee, in 2010: click here to read the review. More recently, a review of the assessment was conducted by the Groupe de recherche archaeologique de l’Outaouais (GRAO) for the Algonquins of Ontario: read Ottawa Citizen article here.
Both reviews of the initial assessment are strong grounds for Minister Chan to issue a stop order on cutting so that further archaeological study can be done.
The South March Highlands have the highest density of bio-diversity in Ottawa and have been recognized as provincially significant for its ecological value for 20 years.
We have found physical evidence that the SMH is also provincially significant for pre-contact aboriginal cultural heritage, possibly containing sites not found elsewhere in Ontario.
Despite the recommendation of its own Advisory Committee on Arts & Culture, the City of Ottawa has to-date failed to properly assess this evidence and the sites that we have reported, saying that it is the responsibility of the Minister of Culture to require a new study.
To-date there have been 2 independent reviews conducted by eminent archaeologists of the situation. Dr. Robert McGhee and Dr. Marcel LaLiberte are highly respected across Canada and around the world. They have concluded that the Minister needs to order a new study and that the entirety of the South March Highlands are of extremely high archaeological potential.
The Algonquin First Nations in both Ontario and Quebec have all demanded that their cultural heritage be protected by the Minister – yet he refuses to fulfill his responsibility as a Minister of the Crown to accommodate the legitimate request of First Nations.
Minister Chan has not explained why he chooses to ignore their scientific assessments and why his Ministry refuses to consider the new evidence at hand.
We are here to ask him “why not?”
Contact Minister Michael Chan:
Ministry of Tourism and Culture
9th Floor, Hearst Block
900 Bay Street
Toronto ON M7A 2E1
450 Alden Rd., Unit 5
Markham ON L3R 5H4