First Nations join together against Chalk River disposal project

A demonstration was held in Ottawa on Feb. 14 to ask the federal government to stop the Near Surface Disposal Facility (NSDF) project in Chalk River, Ontario.

The Assembly of First Nations Quebec-Labrador (AFNQL) expressed its support for the Kebaowek First Nation and all other First Nations, municipalities, environmental groups, political parties, and thousands of citizens rallying in their opposition to this project, saying that it threatens the main source of drinking water of many Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities.

Despite the opposition of multiple First Nations and more than 140 municipalities in Quebec and Ontario, the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) has made the decision to authorize the project of a new nuclear waste dump site in Chalk River.

In a statement, the AFNQL said the decision is a violation of the rights of the Anishinabeg First Nations, whose unceded ancestral territory is directly affected by the operations at Chalk River. The AFNQL expressed its solidarity with these communities, particularly with the Kebaowek First Nation, which filed an application for judicial review with the Federal Court last week.

 “As First Nations, we have a deep respect for our responsibility to protect our land. We expect governments to recognize that. Today, we reiterate our call on the Canadian government to act in accordance with its obligations to First Nations, and to intervene to stop this project,” said AFNQL chief Ghislain Picard.

The AFNQL joined several other civil society groups, both Indigenous and non-Indigenous, in calling for urgent action.