Judicial investigation

Dear editor,

January 29 2019, Gowling delivered a 12 page draft opinion to a working group formed to look into the wood rights allocated under SFL No. 542245 (Crossroute SFL).

Gowling advised that they had found reference to a 2017 Crossroute IFA being completed on the MNRF website, however they could not find it.

Gowling emphasized the significance of this IFA and that a copy of the 2017 Crossroute IFA be obtained for their review.

A Memo to Mayor and Council, dated November 8 2021, filed by Councillor Judson to record the chain of custody for those members having direct access to the draft opinion from Gowling. This Memo indicates Councillors Judson and McTaggart had received directly, copies of this draft opinion on February 2 2019. I feel Councillors Judson and McTaggart, representing the interests of the residents of Fort Frances, should have requested Gowling to find and review a copy of the 2017 Crossroute IFA.

The alleged 2017 Crossroute IFA was not public in February 2019. This audit, notwithstanding the quote from Councillor Judson below, is material to the Crossroute SFL expiring on March 31 2017. Unfortunately, Councillors Judson and McTaggart chose not to make this request. In February 2019 Resolute still owned the mill.

Mr. M. Willick RPF, President and Chair of Boundary Waters Forest Management Corporation was quoted in the July 24/21 edition of the Fort Frances Times:

“(Resolute) played us well. They knew how the game was played.” – Mike Willick

I have done a fair amount of research over the past two years or so looking into the history of the amalgamation of the Sapawe and Crossroute Forests.

I have yet to come across any evidence of a Resolute employee doing or for that matter not doing anything related to this issue.

However, I do agree that Resolute has benefited from this “game”.

In a recent email, Councillor Judson informed me that he was advised by the forest management corporation that the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry “…has a process to keep compliant licenses “evergreen”. The intention is for regular reviews and extensions if the licensee is in compliance with the terms of the license. As such, SFL 542245 was not expired in December 2017, as you allege.”

The foregoing information represents the basis for my request to Council to seek a judicial investigation. An investigation into the “evergreen” process referenced above, is essential for the sustainability of the communities in northern Ontario dependent on the stewardship of the Crown Forest.

It is unfortunate that we could not save the Kraft Mill building.

Thank you,
David Kircher