APTN: After court loss, Elsipogtog braces for SWN’s return

SOURCE: http://aptn.ca/news/2013/11/18/court-loss-elsipogtog-braces-swns-return/

After court loss, Elsipogtog braces for SWN’s return

Uncategorized | 18. Nov, 2013 by | 0 Comments

Sockandburkcourt

(Elsipogtog lawyer T.J. Burke (left) stands next to Elsipogtog Chief Aaron Sock. APTN/Photo)

By Jorge Barrera
APTN National News
FREDERICTON–There were tears outside a courtroom in Fredericton Monday after a New Brunswick judge ruled against Elsipogtog First Nation which was seeking an injunction to stop a Houston-based energy company from continuing its controversial shale gas exploration work north of the community.

Weeping supporters hugged Elsipogtog Chief Aaron Sock after Justice Judy Clendening handed down her ruling, effectively clearing the way for SWN Resources Canada to continue the last phase of its shale gas exploration work about 46 kilometres north of the Mi’kmaq community.

“I think we’re still in shock, we’re nervous and scared about what’s going to happen,” said Judie Miksovsky, from the St. Mary’s First Nation Maliseet community near Fredericton.

Elsipogtog was seeking to convince the judge to issue the temporary injunction against SWN arguing the province had failed to consult properly and that a conflict, echoing the heavily armed RCMP raid on Oct. 17, loomed on the horizon.

Clendening, however, found that Elsipogtog failed to adequately make its case.

“In my view and at this stage, and without any real evidence of the irreparable harm that may be occasioned on (Elsipogtog), it is apparent that SWN is suffering monetary losses,” said Clendening. “There is no evidence of the degree of harm to (Elsipogtog) that is related to the Crown’s request to consult.”

Clendening also dismissed Elsipogtog’s argument that a violent conflict loomed on the highway if the company was allowed to continue its work.

“The respondents (SWN, the province) are not inciting this reaction and there is no evidence that the respondents will interfere with a peaceful protest,” said Clendening, in her oral ruling. “The threat of radical elements converging is not a reasonable factor to be considered. SWN needs to complete this phase of the work and there is no evidence that the consultation and accommodation cannot be recommenced between the Crown and (Elsipogtog).”

SWN has faced months of protests and blockades from a persistent opposition of Mi’kmaq people from Elsipogtog and sister communities who are supported by Acadians from surrounding communities. The Mi’kmaq-led opposition fear shale gas exploration will eventually lead to hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, threatening the area’s water.

Mi’kmaq-led demonstrators have twice turned back SWN and its contractors on Hwy 11, which is the last area where the company wants to conduct shale gas exploration before winter. They have vowed to stop SWN at all costs and have set up a camp just off the highway.

On Oct. 17, heavily armed RCMP tactical units descended on an anti-fracking camp on another highway called Route 134 which was blocking SWN’s vehicles in a compound owned by JD Irving Ltd. The RCMP arrested 40 people and seized three rifles, ammunition and crude explosive devices in an operation that lead to a day-long clash with Elsipogtog residents. Several RCMP vehicles were also torched in the melee.

Chief Sock said he hoped violence could still be avoided.

“I just hope and pray that it remains peaceful,” said Sock.

Sock said there was little he could do to stop the violence if it flared.

“I am just one man, I can’t really commit to anything,” said Sock.

Elsipogtog has pulled out of the Assembly of First Nations Chiefs of New Brunswick (AFNCNB) over the ongoing controversy surrounding SWN’s exploration work. The AFNCNB was named in the band’s application for the injunction. The band argued that the AFNCNB had failed in its delegated duty to act on behalf of the community in the consultation process.

AFNCNB’s lawyer Kelly Lamrock said the organization did not oppose the injunction. He said the judge’s ruling came with a lesson.

“Take all that opportunity to build evidence and then take your shot in court, because if you are going to take a shot at the government in court, don’t miss,” said Lamrock.

Back in Elsipogtog and at the anti-fracking camp, many waited nervously for the judge’s decision. They know the people will again be out to stop SWN’s machinery on the highway.

“Profits over lives is the rule of law now,” said Brian Milliea. “Our people have been put on crosshairs now.”

And at the campsite, people were preparing for the return of SWN.

“We will still be out there until it stops,” said one of the warriors at the camp.

CBC: Shale gas injunction ruling to come Monday

First Nation seeking court injunction to halt shale gas exploration in Mi’kmaq territory

CBC News Posted: Nov 15, 2013 10:42 AM AT Last Updated: Nov 15, 2013 9:13 PM AT

RCMP and protesters clashed on Highway 11 near Kouchibouguac National Park this week over controversial shale gas exploration in the Rexton, N.B., area.RCMP and protesters clashed on Highway 11 near Kouchibouguac National Park this week over controversial shale gas exploration in the Rexton, N.B., area. (Jen Choi / CBC)

The Elsipogtog First Nation and SWN Resources Canada will learn Monday whether a judge will force the energy company to stop shale gas exploration in a large swath of New Brunswick.

Lawyers with the band, the company and the province spent Friday afternoon arguing over the case in Court of Queen’s Bench in Fredericton. Justice Judy Clendenning has reserved her decision until Monday.

While lawyers battled in court, the protest site on Highway 11 near Laketon was quiet — a far cry from Thursday when protesters stood toe to toe with police and one woman was arrested.

The trucks used for seismic testing were not out Friday. Instead, they sat parked behind a fence at the Caledonia Industrial Park in Moncton.

“We’re peaceful warriors,” said protester Judd Poulette. “People are like ‘Oh, warriors are violent, they’re the ones that go in right away.’

“Warriors are here to protect the elders and kids. That’s what I’m here for.”

In court, Elsipogtog lawyers argued the injunction is urgently needed as “outside radical elements” create the risk of more violent confrontations like those in Rexton, N.B., last month between protesters and police.

They also said the province didn’t properly consult aboriginal communities on shale gas development, a legal requirement.

Elsipogtog lawyer T.J. Burke said with the decision delayed until Monday, SWN is free to conduct seismic testing for now.

“They still can continue at this time to explore over the weekend,” Burke said. “We just hope everything remains peaceful.”

Premier David Alward has called the fight a “beachhead” in his vision of economic development.

He argued again Thursday that testing is low-impact — and that SWN will comply with a higher standard of consultation if it finds enough shale gas to develop.

“There will be a very significant consultation process that will be required to be undertaken by them,” he said.

But First Nation representatives argue it’s not SWN, but the province that has to consult. Since positive tests would lead inevitably to development, the province has already failed and testing should stop now, they say.

Alward has also warned the same groups protesting in Kent County this week will also oppose mining and pipeline projects in the province.

He said the ongoing opposition to SWN Resource’s shale exploration puts at risk not only the company’s plans, but also a proposed mine north of Fredericton and a planned pipeline to bring Alberta crude to the Irving refinery in Saint John.

“The unlawful protests that have taken place in Kent County cannot be accepted by any New Brunswicker,” he told reporters.

‘There is credible evidence that outside radical elements are converging in significant numbers on New Brunswick.’– Elsipogtog First Nation 

The Elsipogtog application contends there is “a very real danger that, as active seismic exploration is recommenced in the coming hours and days, outside radical elements, the respondent SWN and the RCMP, other police and even military forces,” would interact to create a repeat of the “unacceptable and dangerous events” that happened in Rexton on Oct. 17.

Dozens of protesters were arrested and six RCMP vehicles were destroyed by fire in a clash on the protest line that day. Protesters had prevented SWN from accessing its exploration equipment for almost three weeks and the company had obtained a court injunction ordering an end to the protest.

SWN Resources has been laying lines and placing geophones this week near Kouchibouguac National Park to carry out seismic testing for potential shale gas deposits. The continuation of exploration has been met by protests.

Laketon protestShale gas protesters and RCMP were nose to nose on Highway 11 near Kouchibouguac National Park in New Brunswick on Thursday. (Jen Choi / CBC)

On Thursday, a 46-year-old woman was arrested for mischief, assaulting a police officer and resisting arrest.

Cpl. Jullie Rogers-Marsh said the RCMP is investigating several incidents of vandalism as a truck belonging to a private company working in the area and several pieces of equipment were damaged.

“Most people that were there at the Laketon side that were protesting were doing so in a peaceful manner, but there were some obviously that were not,” said Rogers-Marsh on Thursday. “There were threats of illegal acts today and some crimes obviously were committed.

“So we’re certainly asking people that want to continue to protest to do so in a safe, peaceful and lawful manner.”

A few protesters were in Laketon on Friday morning should exploration activities resume, but there were no seismic exploration trucks or RCMP evident in the area of Thursday’s events.

The RCMP’s commanding officer for New Brunswick said the force moved in on the protesters on Oct. 17 because the situation had turned dangerous.

The premier said “outside forces” within the protest camp had escalated the situation.

“When outside forces came in, it’s certainly intimidating on many different sides,” Alward said at the time.

In its application for an injunction, Elsipogtog argued the New Brunswick government is “engaging in what amounts to impermissible self-help” to SWN Resources by permitting shale gas exploration without sufficient consultation with the aboriginal community, as required under the Supreme Court of Canada’s ruling in Haida Nation v. British Columbia in 2004.  It seeks a court order to suspend all exploration activities in the Signitog District of Mi’kmaki, which covers most of New Brunswick south of the Miramichi River and a portion of Nova Scotia, where it borders New Brunswick.

“This behaviour, in violation of the supreme law of Canada, takes the form of unrelenting and uncompromising Crown affirmation of the rights it purported to grant to SWN, without regard for the rights of the applicant,” states the band in its application.

Alward and Energy Minister Craig Leonard have repeatedly stated that SWN’s ongoing work is exploratory in nature to determine if there is potential for feasible shale gas production in New Brunswick. They have said more consultation would take place if SWN, or any other company, wants to move into production in the province.

Shale gas is extracted through injecting a mixture of sand, water and chemicals into the earth under high pressure to fragment shale rock and release the natural gas that is otherwise inaccessible. Opponents fear the potential impact of that process on the groundwater supply.

TS: The often-ignored facts about Elsipogtog

SOURCE: http://www.thestar.com/opinion/commentary/2013/11/14/the_oftenignored_facts_about_elsipogtog.html

The often-ignored facts about Elsipogtog

The majority of Canadians have been woefully under-informed about what is really going in Elsipogtog.

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Demonstrators rally against shale gas exploration in Halifax on Friday, Oct.18, 2013. The effort was in support of protesters at Elsipogtog.

Andrew Vaughan / THE CANADIAN PRESS

Demonstrators rally against shale gas exploration in Halifax on Friday, Oct.18, 2013. The effort was in support of protesters at Elsipogtog.

By: Chelsea Vowel
Published on Thu Nov 14 2013

Despite the plethora of informative articles about the ongoing struggle at Elispogtog First Nation, north of Moncton, New Brunswick, and the RCMP raid there last month, most mainstream media outlets have been underemphasizing some very important aspects of the conflict. As a result, many Canadians are focusing solely on the image of burning vehicles, and some are even going as far as to brand native protestors as terrorists.

Before engaging in a back and forth about who is more in the wrong, I suggest addressing some outstanding issues that for some reason are not treated as central to these events.

First is the issue of the way in which mainstream Canadian media so often fail to comprehensively report on indigenous issues. In their book, “Seeing Red,” Mark Anderson and Carmen Robertson researched English-language portrayals of indigenous peoples in the mainstream media since 1869. They found that media reports since that time have remained essentially the same, too often depicting natives as inferior morally, physically, mentally and historically.

What that research could not take into account, is how social media has made alternative media a viable option for a wider range of people. Thus, for those interested in this issue, there is much reportage and commentary that can be easily accessed beyond what little we’ve seen in mainstream media.

It is essential that we dig deeper, and form our opinions based on as wide a range of perspectives as possible. The majority of Canadians have been woefully under-informed about what is one of the most important outstanding issues related to the events in Elsipogtog: land and resource ownership.

In 1997, the landmark Supreme Court Decision in Delgamuukw finally clarified that even under Canadian law, Aboriginal title to most of the land within British Columbia’s provincial borders had never been extinguished. This ruling had immediate implications for other areas of the country where no treaties ceding land ownership were ever signed. One day, Canadians woke up to a legal reality in which millions of acres of land were recognized as never having been acquired by the Crown, and that elephant has been occupying our national room ever since.

Unfortunately, this glaring issue did not seem to percolate into the wider Canadian consciousness, and many people remain unaware of it. In 1999, the Supreme Court passed down another judgement confirming that the Peace and Friendship Treaties of 1760-1761 did not cede land or resources. This cannot be emphasized strongly enough: the Mi’kmaq never gave up legal rights to their land or resources. Canada does not own the land that the people of Elsipogtog are defending.

This is not conspiracy theory, or indigenous interpretation. This is Canadian law, interpreted by the Supreme Court of Canada, applying Canadian constitutional principles. Yet somehow, this most important fact is left out of most reports on Elsipogtog as though it is barely relevant.

Often misunderstood by the general public, too, is that the people of Elsipogtog have widespread support from Acadians and Anglos in the area. In fact, the majority of people living in New Brunswick support a moratorium on fracking, in direct opposition to Premier David Alward’s wholehearted embracing of shale gas exploration. Opposition to fracking is not a fringe position; it is the majority position in the Atlantic provinces and elsewhere throughout Canada.

So here you have a group of people who never gave up ownership of their land or resources, opposing widely contested shale gas exploration, which was approved by a government that does not own the land or resources, acting with the support of their non-native neighbours and being reported on by mainstream media outlets that often fail to address the substantive issues.

All of this is extremely problematic, even if you do not take into account the violence and the timing of the Oct. 17 RCMP raid.

None of these facts are changed by burning cars, by the presence or absence of rubber bullets, or by whether or not Canadians like indigenous peoples. Those attempting to paint the people of Elsipogtog as law breakers must not be allowed to ignore the wider legal context which calls into question the legitimacy of resource exploitation without consent anywhere in Canada, particularly on unceded lands.

Earlier this week, SWN Resources’ lawyer offered to withdraw a lawsuit against several community members if the company could finish exploration. Indigenous and non-Indigenous allies in the area reaffirmed their intention to stand together in defence of the land.

Today, the people of Elsipogtog and their allies stand again with their drums, their eagle feathers and their concerns for the land and for the legacy of all future generations. A line of armed RCMP officers face them, ostensibly to protect public safety as SWN Resources attempt to move exploration vehicles back into the area. Using the #Elsipogtog tag, social media has made it possible for people throughout Canada and the rest of the world to access real time information from mainstream and independent media sources as the situation develops. Many hope that this immediate scrutiny will encourage the RCMP to avoid moving in with overwhelming force once more.

Fears of renewed violence should not blind us to the underlying issues: unresolved land claims, resource development without prior and informed consent, concerns of environmental degradation and inadequate economic benefits to residents. Elsipogtog is just one area of the country coming face to face with the consequences of these problems. This is not a “native” issue; this situation impacts every single one of us living on these lands.

Chelsea Vowel (BEd, LLB) is a Métis writer and educator from Lac Ste. Anne, Alberta and currently lives in Montreal.

CBC: Elsipogtog seeks shale injunction, warns of ‘radical elements’

SOURCE: http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/new-brunswick/elsipogtog-seeks-shale-injunction-warns-of-radical-elements-1.2426414

Elsipogtog seeks shale injunction, warns of ‘radical elements’

One arrest made as SWN Resources continues exploration work in Kent County

CBC News Posted: Nov 14, 2013 11:13 AM AT Last Updated: Nov 14, 2013 5:42 PM AT

The Elsipogtog First Nation is seeking a court injunction to suspend all exploration by SWN Resources, and warns “outside radical elements” are converging on the area where the latest work is being done.

The band says in a court application filed Thursday afternoon there’s a real risk of a repeat to clashes between police and protesters near Rexton last month.

This comes as anti-shale gas protests erupted along Highway 11 near Laketon on Thursday, with a blockade closing at least part of the roadway for some of the day. The road had reopened by early evening, according to the RCMP.

Officers also arrested a 46-year-old woman and accuse her of assaulting an officer and resisting arrest. Police also say they are investigating reports of vandalism, including damage to trucks and equipment.

RCMP close Highway 11 in Laketon due to shale gas protestRCMP have closed Highway 11 in Laketon “for public safety” due to anti-shale gas protests in the area. (Google Maps)

Despite the demonstrations, the resumption of seismic testing is getting support from New Brunswick Energy Minister Craig Leonard.

“Basically they’ve been able to get, from what I understand, some work done today,” he said. “And yet there are protesters out there.

“As we’ve said all along we hope that protests remains peaceful and lawful. Hopefully SWN will be able to get their work done in the allotted time that they’re looking at.”

The notice by the band was filed in the Court of Queen’s Bench in Fredericton. It names the Attorney General of New Brunswick, the Minister of Energy and Mines, SWN Resources Canada Inc, and the Assembly of First Nations’ Chiefs in New Brunswick as respondents.

The application is asking — on what it calls “an extremely urgent basis” — to have an order suspending all SWN operations under oil and gas licences.

Tension building

It says that’s required to preserve the peace and rights of the First Nation. It says the exploration by SWN is illegal and unconstitutional because it violates aboriginal and treaty rights.

“On the other hand, there is credible evidence that outside radical elements are converging in significant numbers on New Brunswick [in] the vicinity of the shale gas exploration work that the respondents SWN proposes to recommence,” the application says.

Tension is building in Kent County again as opponents to shale gas exploration and development set up a new camp on Highway 11 near the community of Laketon.

A number of protesters, SWN Resources employees and RCMP officers were on the scene Thursday morning and into the afternoon.

SWN Resources has begun the next phase of exploration and on Wednesday more than 30 protesters had gathered.

There was also a strong police presence with 20 police cars in the area.

Protester David Goodswimmer, of Sturgeon Lake Cree Nation in Alberta, said on Wednesday they were going to wait for the seismic trucks to pass, and when they did they would not stand back and watch.

“We’re going to do everything in our power to either stop it or prevent it from happening,” Goodswimmer said.

SWN workers remove geophonesWorkers from SWN Resources Canada removed geophones used in seismic testing from near the new protest camp set up by opponents of shale gas exploration and development.

“Some of us are willing to go to jail, some more than others, and I’ve even heard around the fires, ‘I’m even willing to die for my land.'”

Other protesters, including Judd Poulette of Cape Breton, stressed the demonstration would be peaceful.

“We can’t really do much about it … We all promised peaceful protests. That’s all I can say.”

SWN Resources employees had been laying geophone lines used in their testing, but late Wednesday afternoon they removed all of the equipment that was near the new camp.

RCMP officers also visited the site and tried to talk with some of the protesters, who told officers they were upset about what was going on.

Several weeks of shale gas protests and highway barricades near Rexton ended on Oct. 17 with a violent clash between protesters and RCMP.

Dozens of protesters were arrested in that altercation and six police vehicles were destroyed by fire.

APTN: Elsipogtog grassroots declare “victory” on the highway, while leadership aims to stop SWN in courtroom

SOURCE: http://aptn.ca/pages/news/2013/11/15/elsipogtog-grassroots-declares-victory-highway-leadership-aims-stop-swn-courtroom/

Elsipogtog grassroots declare “victory” on the highway, while leadership aims to stop SWN in courtroom

National News | 15. Nov, 2013 by | 0 Comments

Elsipogtog grassroots declare “victory” on the highway, while leadership aims to stop SWN in courtroom

APTN National News
ELSIPOGTOG FIRST NATION, NB–Mi’kmaq demonstrators declared “victory” Thursday after stopping thumper trucks belonging to a Houston-based energy company from conducting shale gas exploration north of Elsipogtog First Nation.

While about 100 Mi’kmaq and supporters faced a line of RCMP officers as SWN Resources Canada’s thumper trucks idled in the background, the Elsipogtog band council was 200 kilometres away in a Fredericton courtroom seeking an ex parte injunction to stop SWN from continuing the exploration work. A hearing on the injunction is set for Friday.

On Hwy 11 tensions ran high as Mi’kmaq demonstrators from Elsipogtog and other communities along with non-First Nations supporters tried to block SWN from operating their thumper trucks while the RCMP tried to intervene. SWN eventually decided to turn the trucks around with plans for another attempt expected Friday.

A well-known Elsipogtog fracking opponent Lorraine Clair was arrested during the protest for mischief, assault a police officer and resisting arrest, according to New Brunswick RCMP.

Still, spirits were high among people from Elsipogtog who watched SWN’s trucks roll away as dusk began to set.

“It is a small victory, but a victory nonetheless,” said Brennan Sock, from Elsipogtog. “We will take anything right now. We got the trucks to leave, we managed to slow them down as much as we can.”

T’uma Bernard, a Mi’kmaq Warrior from Prince Edward Island, said he saw renewed unity among the demonstrators.

“It was a great victory, it was a great day,” said Bernard.

RCMP spokesperson Const. Jullie Rogers-Marsh said there were acts of vandalism throughout the day that are under investigation.

“A truck belonging to a private company working in the area and several pieces of equipment were damaged,” said Rogers-Marsh.

She said the RCMP had video of “somebody wearing a mask” pulling up geophones along Hwy 11. Rogers-Marsh there “also threats of illegal acts.”

Rogers-Marsh said the police officers are there to maintain public safety.

“Being safe and peaceful and lawful is very important and we are in the area continuing to monitor the situation,” said Rogers-Marsh. “Our role is public safety and we are there to protect everyone.”

Thumper trucks interact with geophones, which are strung along the ground, to create imagery of shale gas deposits underground.

In Fredericton, the Elsipogtog band was seeking an injunction to stop SWN arguing “outside radical elements” were converging “in significant numbers” as a result of the company’s continuing shale gas exploration.

The band’s filing said military forces are at play on the police side of the operation and warned a repeat of the Oct. 17 raid in Rexton, NB., by RCMP tactical units is looming.

“The circumstances combine to create a very real danger that, as active seismic exploration is recommenced in the coming hours and days, outside radical elements, the respondent SWN and the RCMP, other police and even military forces, all interact so as to cause a repeat escalation of the unacceptable and dangerous events that took place in Rexton,” said the filing.

The filing also names provincial Energy Minister Craig Leonard and the Assembly of First Nations Chiefs in New Brunswick (AFNCNB).

The filing argues that the province failed in its duty to consult and that the AFNCNB, which Elsipogtog gave authority to consult on its behalf, failed in its responsibility by “inaction and inadequate engagement.”

AFNCNB’s lawyer Mike Scully has told APTN National News that the province set the terms of the consultation and the AFNCNB had to act within those limited parameters.

While the band leadership will continue its legal battle in the courtroom Friday, the grassroots are vowing to be back on the pavement with their bodies to stop the thumpers.

“Nobody is going nowhere, they can’t bully us and use force tactics against the people of the land,” said Bernard.

Sock said people would be out all night keeping a watchful eye.

“We have a lot of people who are dedicated and will be out there all night to make sure they don’t come back,” said Sock.

news@aptn.ca

APTN: NB chiefs group, Mi’kmaq district council received contracts from SWN and Irving-owned security firm

SOURCE: http://aptn.ca/pages/news/2013/11/14/nb-chiefs-group-mikmaq-district-council-received-contracts-swn-irving-owned-security-firm/

NB chiefs group, Mi’kmaq district council received contracts from SWN and Irving-owned security firm

National News | 14. Nov, 2013 by | 0 Comments

NB chiefs group, Mi’kmaq district council received contracts from SWN and Irving-owned security firm

By Jorge Barrera
APTN National News
The main New Brunswick chiefs organization received a contract from a Houston-based energy company facing ferocious opposition from Elsipogtog First Nation residents over its shale gas exploration.

SWN Resources Canada also “did everything right” under the consultation process agreed to between the provincial government and the Assembly of First Nations Chiefs in New Brunswick, according to the lawyer for the chiefs organization.

The AFNCNB has been receiving funding from SWN for the past two years to provide environmental monitoring for the company while it explores for shale gas in the province, said Mike Scully, who is the consultation liaison for the AFNCNB.

Scully said six people have been hired to follow SWN’s workers as they work exploration lines in their search for shale gas deposits.

Scully also said that Industrial Security Ltd (ISL), which is on contract with SWN, issued a subcontract to the North Shore Mi’kmaq District Council for nine people to do “security related work” associated with SWN. Elsipogtog First Nation is not part of the district council which includes seven Mi’kmaq communities in the region.

The council includes the communities of  Bouctouche First Nation, Eel Ground First Nation, Eel River First Nation, Fort Folly First Nation, Indian Island First Nation, Pabineau First Nation and Metepenagiag First Nation.

ISL also subcontracted work to Chief to Chief Consulting. 

The Irving shadow

ISL is owned by JD Irving Ltd. and it is part of a corporate empire headed by the Irving family which dominates New Brunswick.  The Irvings have cast a large shadow over the ongoing Mi’kmaq-led anti-fracking protests.

Along with owning ISL, JD Irving also owns the compound at the centre of the RCMP’s heavily-armed Oct. 17 raid. The raid freed SWN’s trucks which were in the compound that had been blocked by an anti-fracking camp along Route 134 in Rexton, NB.

ISL is also expected to play a key role in the upcoming trial of six members of the Mi’kmaq Warrior Society. Some of the warriors face charges for allegedly confining up to seven employees of “Irving security” in a compound holding SWN’s vehicles on Oct. 16, according to RCMP charge sheets.

Irving Oil , which is operated independently from JD Irving, has an interest in seeing the development of shale gas deposits as a source of cheap energy to expand its refining capacity to handle Alberta mined bitumen which is expected to flow to the province if TransCanada’s Energy East pipeline project gets approved. TransCanada and Irving Oil announced a joint venture in August to build a new $300 million marine terminal in Saint John.

AFNCNB says forced to consult on NB’s terms

Scully couldn’t say how much money the contracts with ISL and SWN are worth.

Scully was asked to speak to APTN National News on behalf of the AFNCNB by Eel Ground First Nation Chief George Ginnish. Ginnish is co-chair of the AFNCNB.

Dozens of Elsipogtog residents and their allies turned back SWN’s exploration trucks Thursday after an hours long standoff involving the RCMP on Hwy 11, about 46 km north of the community. One woman was arrested for allegedly “causing a disturbance,” the RCMP said.

Elsipogtog Coun. Craig Sock said the band had also filed for an injunction Thursday against SWN with the New Brunswick Court of Queen’s Bench in Fredericton. Sock said the band is seeking to have a judge stop SWN’s work until the company conducts more consultation.

“They never did any consultation with our community,” said Sock.

Scully also said Elsipogtog gave the AFNCNB the mandate to conduct consultation on the community’s behalf about two years ago.

“The assembly has delegated authority from the member bands to conduct the procedural aspects of consultation on their behalf,” said Scully.

Sock said that delegated authority was signed over by a previous band council.

“This is a whole new chief and council and the community wasn’t consulted properly,” said Sock.

But Scully said SWN did everything it had to do under the phased in consultation process agreed to by the AFNCNB and the province which focused exclusively on exploration. Scully said SWN only received licenses from the province to explore which narrowed the scope of the consultation.

“In my view SWN did everything right,” he said.

Scully said the chiefs weren’t happy with that approach and wanted consultation on all aspects of the planned project, from exploration to extraction, but the province wouldn’t budge.

“(The province) asserted the decision was to issue permits for seismic exploration and that is the decision that technically and legally we were limited to consult on,” said Scully. “There is a reciprocal duty to consult…we didn’t like it but we worked within the parameters that were proposed.”

The AFNCNB have belated called on the province to suspend SWN’s licenses following the Oct. 17 raid.

Ginnish said in a statement that the “phased approach to consultation is incompatible with the Aboriginal perspective.”

The statement did not mention the AFNCNB receiving a contract from SWN as part of the consultation process or that SWN paid for AFNCNB staff to visit the company’s operations in Arkansas.

Scully said people from Elsipogtog also went to Arkansas on the company’s dime, but he would not reveal who they were.

jbarrera@aptn.ca

@JorgeBarrera

APTN: RCMP officers arrest Elsipogtog woman as SWN’s thumper trucks return

SOURCE: http://aptn.ca/pages/news/2013/11/14/rcmp-officers-arrest-elsipogtog-woman-swns-thumper-trucks-return/

RCMP officers arrest Elsipogtog woman as SWN’s thumper trucks return

National News | 14. Nov, 2013 by | 0 Comments

RCMP officers arrest Elsipogtog woman as SWN’s thumper trucks return

(Elsipogtog resident Lorraine Clair arrested by RCMP officers Thursday morning. Photo courtesy of Charmaine Sock)

APTN National News
LAKETON, NB--A woman from Elsipogtog First Nation was reportedly arrested Thursday morning as SWN Resources Canada resumed its controversial shale gas exploration north of the community.

RCMP officers reportedly arrested Lorraine Clair, a high-profile Elsipogtog resident who has consistently opposed SWN’s exploration work.

New Brunswick RCMP spokeswoman Const. Jullie Rogers-Marsh confirmed one person was arrested for “causing a disturbance.” Rogers-Marsh said no charges have yet been laid.

“Things are continuing to be peaceful other then the arrest,” said Rogers-Marsh. “We are going to continue to stay in the area and monitor the situation. We are going to continue to ensure public safety.”

SWN’s thumper trucks returned to an area about 46 km north of Elsipogtog. The thumper trucks work with geophones, which were strung along Hwy 11 by SWN Wednesday, to capture images of shale gas deposits underground.

RCMP officers were videotaped loading riot gear earlier in the day in Moncton, NB, which sits about 100 km away from SWN’s current exploration area.

Heavily armed RCMP tactical units raided a Mi’kmaq-led anti-fracking camp on Oct. 17 to free SWN exploration vehicles which were trapped inside a compound owned by JD Irving Ltd.

 

APTN: Elsipogtog prepares to confront SWN’s machinery

National News | 13. Nov, 2013 by | 0 Comments

Elsipogtog prepares to confront SWN’s machinery

(Elsipogtog Warriors and supporters along Hwy 11 where SWN Resources Canada laid down geophone lines Tuesday. Photo courtesy of Charmaine Sock)

APTN National News
LAKETON, NB–Warriors from Elsipogtog First Nation were preparing Tuesday evening to confront the machinery owned by a Houston-based energy firm conducting shale gas exploration work just north of the Mi’kmaq community.

SWN Resources Canada is expected to roll out its thumper trucks Wednesday in an area along Hwy 11 and about 46 kilometres north of Elsipogtog First Nations. The company laid out a string of geophones Tuesday which will be used to capture the vibrations emitted by the thumper trucks to create imagery of shale gas deposits in the area.

The majority of residents in Elsipogtog want to stop SWN’s exploration work fearing its completion would lead to the extraction of shale gas deposits through hydraulic fracturing, or fracking.

Several warriors and supporters gathered around a fire Tuesday evening along Hwy 11 preparing for Wednesday’s appearance of the thumper trucks. Several planned to stay at the site overnight, with some sleeping in tents and others beneath tarps strapped to branches.

“When the sun rises I will be there waiting,” said Sequoyah Bernard, 19, one of the Warriors. “Whatever we decided to do that at that time, we will do.”

Bernard said the tactic could simply be standing the way of the trucks.

“We are not planning anything violent, it will be peaceful, we are going to stand together,” said Bernard.

The RCMP warned people at the encampment earlier in the day that they would be charged with mischief if they impeded SWN’s machinery from doing its work, according to video of the encounter which was posted on Facebook.

Bernard said the threat of charges did little to dampen their resolve.

“With all due respect, we are not listening to what they say. If they want to run us over, they can try,” said Bernard.

Bernard said the RCMP was in the area and a cruiser with its lights flashing was parked nearby along the highway.

“It is just something I feel I have to do,” said Bernard. “I am here for my people, protecting my people. That is what my job title is here.

RCMP Const. Jullie Rogers-Marsh said the RCMP is monitoring the situation.

“Based on things that have happened previously, it would be irresponsible for us not to be in the area,” said Rogers-Marsh.

Rogers-Marsh said the RCMP is not there to protect SWN.

“We are not private security,” she said.

The Canadian military also tried to dispel rumours it’s involved in ongoing police operations in the area.

“Currently, there is no official request for military support to RCMP,” said Capt. Clayton Myhill, with the Canadian Joint Operations Command.

SWN referred calls to communications firm Cape Consulting. Calls to senior consultant Tracey Stephenson went to voice mail.

SWN is planning to conduct 14 days of exploration before leaving the region, according to one of the lawyers hired by the firm.

Michael Connors, who is a partner with East Coast law firm McInnes Cooper, met with several dozen people from Elsipogtog and the surrounding communities late Sunday afternoon. He said the company would resume operating their thumper trucks Wednesday.

Connnors said they would face violence if they confronted the company with a blockade.

“Unfortunately, blockades lead to violence,” said Connors, according to a video of the meeting posted on Facebook.

Elsipogtog War Chief John Levi told Connors that the community would not be backing down.

“We are going to be there. Whatever happens, the ball is in your court. Whatever happens, you’re the ones who are going to make the calls,” said Levi, according to the nine-minute video. “Us as Natives and the protectors of this land, we are going to protect it, it is our land, we never ceded this land and we are going to protect it before these waters are contaminated.”

A woman in the crowd, who identified as non-Native, also pledged opposition to the exploration.

“As non-Natives we are going to protect the future of our children,” said the woman, in the video. “So non-Natives and Natives are together.”

SWN has faced intense and prolonged opposition to its shale gas exploration work around Elsipogtog First Nation which exploded after heavily armed RCMP tactical units raided an anti-fracking camp along Route 134 on Oct. 17.The camp was blocking several of SWN’s vehicles which were in a compound owned by JD Irving Ltd.

While the raid freed SWN’s trucks, it sparked day-long clashes between Elsipogtog residents and the RCMP. Several RCMP vehicles were torched and about 40 people were arrested.

A camp still remains on Route 134, which sits about 15 km southeast of Elsipogtog.

People in Elsipogtog and surrounding communities fear the discovery of shale gas would lead to hydraulic fracturing, or fracking. The controversial extraction method is viewed by many as posing a dire threat to water sources.

APTN: SWN returning to thump Wednesday: Elsipogtog War Chief

SOURCE: http://aptn.ca/pages/news/2013/11/11/swn-returning-thump-near-elsipogtog-wednesday-war-chief/

APTN National News
ELSIPGOTOG FIRST NATION, NB–SWN Resources Canada is planning to resume its controversial shale gas seismic exploration work on Wednesday, according to Elsipogtog War Chief John Levi

Levi said SWN’s lawyer Michael Connors, who is a partner with East Coast law firm McInnes Cooper, met with several dozen people from Elsipogtog First Nation and the surrounding communities late Sunday afternoon.

Levi said Connors told the people that SWN would withdraw a lawsuit against several community members if the Houston-based firm was allowed to finish its exploration work unimpeded.

“We said no, we are going to be there,” said Levi, in an interview with APTN National News. “What we told him was we are going to be there Wednesday.”

The meeting was held at a longhouse erected at an anti-fracking encampment used over the past summer. The area sits off Hwy 116 near Elsipogtog First Nation.

Connors told the people in the longhouse that SWN would be working for 14 days and warned them not to block the company’s movements or they would face violence.

“I’m not asking anyone not to protest, but I am asking that we don’t do anything that would lead to violence,” said Connors, according to video of the meeting posted on Facebook by Brian Milliea. “Unfortunately, blockades lead to violence.”

Connors said SWN just wants to finish its work and leave the area.

“We don’t want violence and if we can get through two weeks then we will go away for awhile,” said Connors. “I am not saying we are not going to come back, we may not come back, but I think everybody needs some time, you know a break.”

Levi told Connors that the community would not be backing down.

“We are going to be there. Whatever happens, the ball is in your court. Whatever happens, you’re the ones who are going to make the calls,” said Levi, according to the nine minute video. “Us as Natives and the protectors of this land, we are going to protect it, it is our land, we never ceded this land and we are going to protect it before these waters are contaminated.”

A woman in the crowd, who identified as non-Native, also pledged opposition to the exploration.

“As non-Natives we are going to protect the future of our children,” said the woman, in the video. “So non-Natives and Natives are together.”

SWN has faced intense and prolonged opposition to its shale gas exploration work around Elsipogtog First Nation which exploded after heavily armed RCMP tactical units raided an anti-fracking camp along Route 134 on Oct. 17. The camp was blocking several of SWN’s exploration vehicles in a compound owned by JD Irving Ltd. in Rexton, NB.

While the raid freed SWN’s trucks, it sparked day-long clashes between Elsipogtog residents and the RCMP. Several RCMP vehicles were torched and about 40 people were arrested.

A camp still remains on Route 134, which sits about 15 kilometres southeast of Elsipogtog.

SWN was initially expected to resume its exploration work last Monday. Elsipogtog Chief Aaron Sock told reporters last Sunday that SWN’s lawyers had informed him the company was planning to finish its seismic exploration work along Hwy 11.

While community members mobilized to confront the company, the thumper trucks, which are used in the seismic exploration, did not appear.

Levi said Connors told the meeting that the company would be laying out geophones on a section of Hwy 11 on Tuesday and that the thumper trucks would return on Wednesday.

Geophones pick up the vibrations from thumper trucks to create imaging of shale gas deposits.

The exploration area is about 46 kilometres north of Elsipogtog.

People in Elsipogtog and surrounding communities fear the discovery of shale gas would lead to hydraulic fracturing, or fracking. The controversial extraction method is viewed by many as posing a dire threat to water sources.

“They are pretty desperate for trying to arrange something like that,” said Levi. “We are not taking the bait and we are going to be there protecting mother earth.”

CBC: Idle No More group in Akwesasne protests fracking

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/montreal/idle-no-more-group-in-akwesasne-protests-fracking-1.2421198?cmp=rss

Idle No More group in Akwesasne protests fracking

CBC News Posted: Nov 09, 2013 2:45 PM ET Last Updated: Nov 09, 2013 3:47 PM ET

About a dozen people from an Idle No More group based on the Akwesasne Mohawk reserve are marching today against shale gas exploration.

They blocked the Seaway International Bridge, also known as the Three Nations Bridge, connecting Cornwall, Ont. and Massena, NY for about an hour early on Saturday afternoon.

The group gathered to raise public awareness about the dangers of fracking, the process used to extract gas from the earth by injecting fluid into shale rocks to release the natural gas inside.

The demonstrators also wanted to show solidarity with the Mi’kmaq protesters in Rexton, N.B., where tensions exploded three weeks ago after the RCMP tried to dismantle a blockade set up by protesters.

The Mohawk Council of Akwesasne posted a note to its Facebook page on Nov. 6 saying its members had met with the group of protesters prior to the march and they confirmed bridge traffic wouldn’t be disrupted.

The council said in the note that the group vowed instead to undertake an educational campaign and pass out leaflets during the demonstration. However, the protest veered onto the bridge, forcing local police to close it.

According to Cornwall police, the bridge has since re-opened and traffic is flowing freely.

No arrests have been reported so far. Akwesasne police were unavailable to comment.

Akwesasne straddles the border between Quebec, Ontario and New York.

 

CTV: Protesters hope sacred fire will put a stop to shale gas exploration

CTV Atlantic
Published Wednesday, November 6, 2013 6:31PM AST

Anticipation is growing as protesters await the arrival of SWN Resources to resume shale gas testing in Rexton, N.B.

When they do, First Nations members plan to light a sacred fire that, according to tradition, can’t be crossed without permission for four days after it is lit.

“We believe there’s spirits there and ancestors arrive here to help use and to protect us,” says sun dancer Louis Jerome. “This is why the sacred fire is very important.”

Photos

Shale gas protesters gather in Rexton, N.B. on Nov. 6, 2013. (CTV Atlantic)

The protesters hope the lighting of the sacred fire will stop shale gas exploration in Rexton.

“They have to really respect that because we cannot move, even the RCMP, they can’t move that,” says Jerome.

Police say they don’t have a problem with the sacred fire, as long as it’s off the road.

However, police say the protesters could be breaking the law if they light the fire too close to the highway, which could endanger motorists and the public.

“I think it’s really important for people to understand that public safety is paramount and that anybody lighting a fire or blocking a road is certainly putting people’s lives at risk,” says RCMP Const. Julie Rogers-Marsh.

SWN Resources was supposed to resume shale gas testing this week but the easily recognizable thumper trucks are nowhere to be seen.

However, geophones lining sections of the highway suggest the company is present.

As support for the protesters continues to grow, it appears neither side is backing down.

On Tuesday, Premier David Alward reconfirmed his commitment to shale gas exploration and protesters reconfirmed their commitment to stopping it.

With files from CTV Atlantic’s Jonathan MacInnis

 

CBC: Hundreds of shale gas opponents demonstrate at NB legislature

SOURCE: http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/new-brunswick/hundreds-of-shale-gas-opponents-demonstrate-at-legislature-1.2415397

Hundreds of shale gas opponents demonstrate at legislature

Crowd of between 350 and 650 call for ban on exploration

CBC News Posted: Nov 05, 2013 12:29 PM AT Last Updated: Nov 05, 2013 6:19 PM AT

An anti-shale gas rally was held at the legislature on Tuesday, just as the legislature was set to begin a new session.An anti-shale gas rally was held at the legislature on Tuesday, just as the legislature was set to begin a new session. (Catherine Harrop/CBC)

Hundreds of protesters crowded the front of the provincial legislature in Fredericton on Tuesday, demonstrating against shale gas exploration in New Brunswick.

The protest coincided with the day of the throne speech, in which the Alward government pledged to forge ahead with exploiting the province’s natural resources.

Outside, protesters demanded a stop to shale gas exploration and development of the industry in the province, which they fear could cause environmental damage, including contamination of groundwater supplies.

“They go into the community to exploit the people of the community,” said protester Charles Richard. “Once they exploit them, take everything, they pack their bags and they go. That’s why they call them carpetbaggers.”

Police estimated there were between 350 and 400 protesters. The Council of Canadians say they counted 650.

The anti-shale gas protesters headed out for a march in the city, ending with speeches and songs on Fredericton’s green, just down the street from the legislature. A native longhouse and three teepees lined the Saint John River.

Twelve-year-old Isaac Cyr was one of the youngest protesters. He’s from the Elsipogtog First Nation, which has been at the centre of major anti-shale demonstrations in Rexton, including a violent clash with RCMP on Oct. 17 that ended in 40 arrests.

“At the Rexton site I was the fire keeper for four days,” he said. “I maintained the fire, the sacred fire.”

Anti-shale gas protesters weren’t the only demonstrators outside the legislature. A small group of paramedics gathered, unhappy with cuts to the night shift in the Chipman area.

“Our concern is that a trial layoff will impact emergency services throughout the greater Fredericton and Grand Lake area,” said Trent Piercy, president of the paramedic union.

CBC: Stage set for shale gas showdown

SWN Resources to resume exploration this week while aboriginal leaders vow to continue protests

By Jacques Poitras, CBC News Posted: Nov 04, 2013 6:37 AM AT Last Updated: Nov 04, 2013 6:37 AM AT

It could be another contentious week in New Brunswick on the issue of shale gas development.

Premier David Alward has confirmed that SWN Canada is planning to resume exploration for shale gas in Kent County in the coming days and weeks.

John LeviElsipogtog warrior chief John Levi says protests will start again if SWN Resources resumes exploring for shale gas this week. (Jacques Poitras / CBC)

​And that has prompted warnings from aboriginal activists that there will be more protests in an attempt to stop the company.

Continue reading

CBC: SWN set to resume shale gas exploration Monday, chief says

SOURCE: http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/new-brunswick/swn-set-to-resume-shale-gas-exploration-monday-chief-says-1.2325522

SWN set to resume shale gas exploration Monday, chief says

Elsipogtog First Nation Chief Aaron Sock calls on Premier David Alward to impose 6-month moratorium

CBC News Posted: Nov 01, 2013 5:17 PM AT Last Updated: Nov 01, 2013 5:53 PM AT

SWN Resources Canada intends to resume shale gas exploration near Rexton on Monday, just two weeks after a violent clash between RCMP and protesters, says Elsipogtog First Nation Chief Aaron Sock.

The company informed him of its plans, an angry Sock announced during a news conference, held Friday afternoon at the Moncton Casino.

Sock is calling on Premier David Alward to intervene.

He wants a six-month moratorium to allow time for meaningful negotiations, he said.

If the premier does not intervene, Sock could not speculate whether there will be more protests and blockades.

On Oct. 17, an anti-shale gas protest near Rexton turned violent after RCMP moved in to enforce a court injunction obtained by SWN against a blockade.

Six police vehicles were destroyed by fire and 40 people were arrested. Explosive devices, firearms, knives and ammunition were seized.

Sock met with the premier the following day and both sides agreed to a cooling-off period.

On Friday, Sock told reporters he felt deceived. He said Alward had told him he would contact SWN officials about postponing exploration, but it seems that did not happen.

In addition, Sock said no meaningful discussions have taken place since police raided the protesters’ camp on Route 134.

He said although the province has appointed a lawyer to deal with the matter, every time he has contacted the lawyer, the lawyer has claimed to be unaware of what he’s supposed to do.

On Saturday, members of Elsipogtog First Nation plan to begin reclaiming Crown land in Kent County by placing plaques on 50 separate 100-acre lots.

But Serge Rousselle, a professor of aboriginal law at the University of Moncton, contends it will be a symbolic exercise with no legal consequences.

Jailed protesters mistreated, lawyer says

Shale gas protester Jason Augustine says protesters are being treated unfairly by the RCMP. (Jessica Doria-Brown/CBC)

Meanwhile, earlier in the day on Friday, at another news conference held on the steps of the Moncton Law Courts, a lawyer representing five of the protesters jailed on Oct. 17 said their rights are being violated.

Alison Menard said four men are still in custody. “It’s been two to three weeks that these people have been detained, and it doesn’t seem like things are necessarily changing for the people who have been in detention,” she said.

Menard contends the arrested protesters have been mistreated while in custody.

“Is it normal for people to be held in segregation while waiting for their first court appearances? Is it normal for them to have access to no programs? Is it normal for them to not even have shampoo and in some cases toilet paper? Is it normal for them to be hit by somebody when they’re being handcuffed?

“I don’t think any of these things are normal,” she said.

“They are presumed innocent and I think regular folks would be very concerned by the way these people, and other people, are treated when they’re in the detention centre.”

Menard is urging citizens to write the provincial ombudsman and ask that the allegations of mistreatment be looked into, saying such actions should concern all New Brunswickers.

Jason Augustine, one of the arrested protesters who has since been granted bail, says he wants ordinary citizens to know how he was treated while detained.

“I was in the hole, we called it the hole, for eight days. I was denied a lot of access there. Each time I said, ‘I want to talk to my lawyer,’ they said, ‘No, you’re not allowed, it’s after hours, you can’t talk to your lawyer.’ With the rights I know, I am obligated to talk to my lawyer … the rights they were denying me of. That was uncalled for,” he said.

APTN: Mi’kmaq Warrior Society members say they were beaten, roughed-up after arrests

SOURCE: http://aptn.ca/pages/news/2013/10/31/mikmaq-warrior-society-members-say-beaten-roughed-arrests/

Mi’kmaq Warrior Society members say they were beaten, roughed-up after arrests

National News | 31. Oct, 2013 by | 0 Comments

Mi’kmaq Warrior Society members say they were beaten, roughed-up after arrests

(Mugshots of Mi’kmaq Warrior Society members arrested during Oct. 17 raid.)

By Jorge Barrera
APTN National News
Two members of the Mi’kmaq Warrior Society say they were roughed up and beaten by RCMP officers and jail guards after they were arrested following a heavily-armed raid on a Mi’kmaq led anti-fracking camp in New Brunswick earlier this month.

Jason Augustine, Warrior Society district chief, said he was kicked in the head by an RCMP officer after he was cuffed and arrested during the Oct. 17 raid.

Augustine said he was later diagnosed with a concussion at the hospital in Moncton, NB.

“I was kicked in the head three times when I was taken down,” said Augustine. “I wasn’t resisting arrest, I had my hands behind my back, and this one RCMP started bashing my head in.”

Augustine said he was nodding-off while he was held in one of the cells with other warriors at the Codiac RCMP detachment in Moncton. He claimed his head was hit against the wall as he was being taken to the ambulance.

“One of the guys called the guards up and said I needed an ambulance,” said Augustine. “The RCMP picked me up, they roughed me up and hit my head against the wall when they were taking me to the hospital.”

David Mazerolle, another Warrior Society member, claimed in a YouTube video that Aaron Francis was beaten while handcuffed as he was being taken to a cell at the South East Regional Correction Centre in Shediac, NB.

“After we got split up and put into solitary confinement, my buddy Aaron as he was getting transferred, got beat up while he was in handcuffs,” said Mazerolle, in the video.

Augustine and Mazerolle, who were released from custody last Friday, both said they were denied use of the telephone.

Augustine said all six of the warriors kept in custody following the raid were put into solitary confinement.

An official at the correction centre referred queries on the allegations to New Brunswick’s Public Safety department. The department did not return telephoned and emailed requests for comment.

RCMP spokesperson Const. Jullie Rogers-Marsh said she would look into the issue before providing a response.

A total of 40 people were arrested the day of the raid which spiralled into chaos after members of the Elsipogtog First Nation clashed with police.

The RCMP raid, which included tactical unit members wearing camouflage and wielding assault weapons, freed several vehicles owned by a Houston-based company doing shale gas exploration work in the region. The anti-fracking camp was blocking SWN Resources Canada’s trucks from leaving a compound in Rexton, NB.

Augustine and Mazerolle face several charges including forcible confinement, mischief, assaulting a peace officer and escaping lawful custody.

Augustine also denied RCMP allegations that the warriors forcibly confined security guards employed by Industrial Securities Ltd in the compound holding SWN’s vehicles.

Augustine said the security guards were escorted by the RCMP at the beginning and end of their shifts.

“They were not held unlawfully,” he said. “They stayed there until their shift changes.”

Augustine also denied RCMP allegations that the warriors uttered death threats or brandished weapons at the security guards.

“There were no death threats, we had nobody in confinement and we had no weapons,” he said.

The RCMP held a press conference following the raid where they displayed three rifles and ammunition seized during the raid. The RCMP said officers also found crude explosive devices.

Augustine claimed the guns and explosives were planted after the raid.

“I do believe they were planted, they knew we wanted peace,” said Augustine. “They had a one track mind to hurt the warrior society.”

Augustine said the warriors were prepared to negotiate the release of SWN’s vehicles.

“They kept telling me, ‘we just want the trucks out’ and I said I was going to our War Chief to tell him to get the trucks out,” said Augustine.

Augustine said he was shot four times by RCMP officers using bean-bag rounds.

He said two RCMP officers presented the warriors with tobacco bundles the night before the raid.

Augustine said his main defence against the charges will be to demand a hearing before an international court.

“Under our treaty laws we have to go to international court,” said Augustine. “We can’t be under the Crown because we are not under the Indian Act, we are treaty people.”

Since spring 2013, RCMP in New Brunswick arrested 82 people in connection with anti-fracking related protests.

jbarrera@aptn.ca

@JorgeBarrera

CBC: Mi’kmaq urged to reclaim all Crown land

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/new-brunswick/mi-kmaq-urged-to-reclaim-all-crown-land-1.2288214

Band Council issues resolution in midst of shale gas dispute, plans reclamation day for Saturday

CBC News Posted: Oct 30, 2013 11:52 AM AT Last Updated: Oct 30, 2013 12:07 PM AT

Shale gas Rexton barricadesAn anti-shale gas protest began near Rexton on Sept. 30 and turned violent on Oct. 17 with RCMP vehicles burned, 40 people arrested. (Jennifer Choi/CBC)

Mi’kmaq Band Council is urging it members to reclaim all Crown land in the midst of the shale gas dispute in New Brunswick.

It plans to hold a “reclamation day” on Saturday. “We will become steward of the land,” a resolution issued on Wednesday states.

The resolution comes one month after First Nations people began an anti-shale gas protest near Rexton, which has since been relocated to across the street from the provincial legislature in Fredericton.

The band says it felt “compelled to act.”

“Whereas we have lost all confidence in governments for the safekeeping of our lands held in trust by the British Crown; and whereas a notice of eviction from our Keptin has been totally ignored by the provincial government and Southwestern Energy (SWN Resources),” which was conducting seismic testing for shale gas near Rexton.

​”Today we have instructed all our people to go out and stake their claims for land they intend to occupy,” it states.

People of Elsipogtog have received a form in the mail, asking them to sign up to become stewards, the resolution states.

CBC: N.B. First Nation says it will take land claims to court

SOURCE: http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/new-brunswick/n-b-first-nation-says-it-will-take-land-claims-to-court-1.2223423

The chief of the First Nation at the centre of an ongoing dispute over shale gas development says his community will go to court to try to take control of Crown lands in New Brunswick.

Elsipogtog First Nation Chief Aaron Sock made the announcement Thursday after meeting with the Assembly of First Nations National Chief Shawn Atleo.

“It’s gone past the SWN stuff,” Sock said, referring to the dispute between protesters and SWN Resources Canada. “It’s gone past the fracking. Right now, we’re at a point, we’re staking claim to the lands. We’re reclaiming the ownership and that’s where it’s at. Let’s settle it once and for all. Let’s go to court.”

‘At the end of the day, the real question is the title of the land.’– Elsipogtog First Nation Chief Aaron Sock

Sock said he and his community members came to the decision after prayer and discussion. They say legal action is the only way to resolve the impasse with the province.

Sock said the concern shouldn’t be with blocking roads or fighting with companies.

“Because at the end of the day, the real question is the title of the land,” he said. “Once we can distinguish who actually is the rightful owner, then we can start talking about extracting natural resources.”

CBC’s Jennifer Choi reported that if legal action is taken, all shale gas development in New Brunswick could be put on hold.

‘Longstanding non-recognition’

Atleo said Thursday the federal government must work with all bands to ensure treaties are implemented in the aftermath of violent clashes last week between the RCMP and members of the Elsipogtog First Nation near Rexton.

NB Shale Gas Protest 20131021Chief Aaron Sock of the Elsipogtog First Nation says legal action is the only way to resolve the impasse with the province. (Canadian Press)

He told CBC News from Elsipogtog that the dispute is about “a long-standing non-recognition of treaties that were forged before Canada was even formed, that the United Nations Declaration of Rights of Indigenous Peoples reflects back to Canada are still in full force and effect. And that the people of Elsipogtog, like indigenous nations across Canada, have the right to free, prior and informed consent over all aspects of their lives, including on issues of resource development.”

Some members of Elsipogtog were arrested a week ago when the RCMP enforced a court-ordered injunction at the site of a protest outside a compound where SWN Resources stored exploration equipment and vehicles. Police said they seized guns and improvised explosive devices when they enforced the injunction to end the blockade of the compound.

Six police vehicles were burned and police responded with pepper-spray and fired non-lethal beanbag-type bullets to defuse the situation.

Atleo said the situation in New Brunswick provides an opportunity to spark discussion and action.

First Nations have won over 150 court cases across the country, he said. “This is why we’re pressing all levels of government, particularly the federal and provincial governments, to sit down meaningfully with First Nations on a nation-to-nation, treaty-by-treaty basis, to work together to see the implementation of those treaty nights, which belong to First Nations and in fact they belong to all Canadians as well.”

Paul Martin weighs in

Former prime minister Paul Martin also weighed in on Thursday, saying that there has been inadequate consultation between First Nations and government over resource development.

He said the federal government has ignored fundamental issues that the First Nations have asked them to address for “quite some time.” The provincial government has defended its level of consultation, but Martin said it hasn’t been enough.

“Consultation isn’t simply a question of saying all of a sudden, ‘We want to do something, let’s go in,'” he said from Fredericton, where he was receiving an honorary degree from the University of New Brunswick. “Consultation is something that you build on; you’ve got to build confidence in order for it to function.”

6 remain in jail

Meanwhile, six men arrested during the Rexton clash remain in jail as bail hearings proceed at a snail’s pace.

The six men — David Mazerolle, Jason Michael Augustine, Coady Stevens, Aaron Francis, Germain Junior Breau, and James Sylvester Pictou — face 37 charges, including uttering threats, forcible confinement, and obstructing a police officer. The Crown spent Tuesday and Wednesday presenting evidence in the case.

On Thursday, bail was denied for Stevens. He was remanded and scheduled to appear in court on Nov. 1 to enter a plea to the charges against him.

The six were among 40 people arrested when RCMP broke up a weeks-long protest against shale gas exploration on Route 134 in Rexton. The protesters were preventing SWN from accessing seismic testing vehicles and equipment in its compound in the area. The exploration company had obtained a court injunction ordering that it be allowed access to its vehicles and be allowed to carry out exploration work without harassment.

Susan Levi-PetersSusan Levi-Peters thinks the slow pace of bail hearings for six men arrested in the Rexton protests is a delaying tactic. (CBC)

The slow pace of the bail hearings had supporters crying foul. About 40 people, many from Elsipogtog First Nation, have been in court to show support for the accused.

“It’s too long,” said former Elsipogtog chief Susan Levi-Peters. “This is the seventh day the boys, the men, have been incarcerated.

“I think they need to find out if they are going to be let out on bail or not and we have to put up money or not, but we’re here to get our men and we want our men home.

“It’s just a delaying tactic,” she said. “Just release them and then we’ll go to trial”.

Non-native protesters are also upset. Peter Dauphinee believes the police wanted to send a message with their intervention in the protest on Route 134 on Oct. 17

“I think the whole thing was to scare the protesters — ‘People that want to protest, stay away,'” said Dauphinee.

At a bail hearing, there are three grounds the Crown can use to ask that an accused be held in custody:

  • There is a significant chance the accused may flee.
  • There is concern the accused may reoffend.
  • The public would lose confidence in the administration of justice if the accused were released on bail.

The Crown’s arguments can not be reported due to a publication ban involving the evidence presented in the bail hearing.