Monday, January 27, 2014

Briarpatch magazine investigation of uranium deal escalates with freedom of information claim

Refusal by a Saskatchewan village council to produce information sought as part of an investigation for Briarpatch magazine has resulted in the filing of a statement of claim under the The Local Authority Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act. It's fronted by two people, acting as individuals: Valerie Zink, until last year the editor and publisher of Briarpatch; and D'Arcy Hande, the journalist working on the story.

Briarpatch was trying to get information from the Village of Pinehouse about a controversial agreement between the village and two uranium mining companies, Cameco and Areva, in relation to approximately $200 million in mining contracts.

After pressing two freedom of information requests for the better part of year and despite support from the Saskatchewan Information and Privacy Commissioner, who recommended the province consider prosecution, it was decided to file a statement of claim as individual citizens demanding that Mayor Mike Natomagan and the village comply with 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.”

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