When the first uranium mines opened on his grandfather’s trapline, elders tasked Marius with keeping watch on these companies that make “big bullets” (nuclear bombs). Youth tasked Candyce to protect their futures from nuclear waste burial. Along with other concerned people, they formed the Committee for Future Generations, to raise awareness throughout Saskatchewan and network globally.
What are the most significant issues?
Dene traditional knowledge is that the “black rock,” should stay underground — on pain of unleashing “demons” — and kept in its place by “Thunder Beings,” its continuously burning “sacred fire” acknowledged as a deity and never touched.
Promises of close monitoring pushed those ancient concerns aside. A case study done on the Environmental Quality Committee showed government and industry failed to take concerns seriously and omitted critical information.
After the uranium mines opened, the incidence of previously uncommon cancers and other rare diseases started to rise. Most people who worked in the mines suffered and died young of cancers. Physicians noting increases in diseases like lupus began asking for a baseline health study. That’s never been done. Cancer rates are at least one in seven people.
Studies on moose, caribou, fish and berries show these dangerous substances in foods people depend on. In communities around Lake Athabasca, where tailings from mines that fuelled Cold War nuclear weapons continue blowing and flowing into the lake, there are “limit fish intake” warnings on the docks. This may help limit the impact of heavy metals but doesn’t stop damage from ingested radionuclides. The World Health Organization admitted that even low doses of radiation exposure can lead to increase cancer risk.
Industry sets its own “as low as reasonably achievable” limits. Since the Fukushima meltdowns, many countries raised acceptable safety limits to accommodate additional global exposures.
When a physician asked for a baseline study at the October, 2012 Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission hearings for the relicensing of Rabbit Lake and McArthur River mines and the Key Lake uranium mill, the CNSC consulted Dr. James Irvine, northern medical health officer. He asked for a wellness study. It was funded with uranium mining companies Cameco and AREVA.
The Northern Health authority’s close relationship with the uranium mining companies — the Community Vitality Monitoring Partnership — is decades-long. Cameco funds a lot of community health care. It makes them look like good corporate citizens while masking the effects of the non-stop radionuclides and heavy metals they release into the environment…
|Founding members of the Committee For Future Generations – Marius Paul, Candyce Paul, Doreen Docken, Debbie Mihalicz, Sandra Cuffe and Max Morin.|
|Committee For Future Generations with ICAN in Australia for Walk Against Nuclear Waste, 2011|
It was an honor to stand in the House yesterday to commend the work of the Committee for Future Generations, which has succeeded in keeping nuclear waste out of all communities of northern Saskatchewan.