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.

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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.

 

Major Elsipogtog benefit concert in Halifax, November 30

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From the Facebook notice:

As promised!! Elsipogtog Benefit Concert time and venue details for Halifax, Saturday, November 30th!! **2 parts, 2 venues, 2 mins from each other lol**

First Location:
Mi’kmaq Native Friendship Center
6-8:00pm: Cultural Showcase, Vendors & Silent Auction!

Our Cultural Showcase features an internationally renowned group of Mi’kmaq singers, Eastern Eagle, as our host drum group. We also have All Nations Drum Group, dancers from all powwow styles and a Hoop Dance Exhibition. The Silent Auction will include Artwork, Fancy Shawl and Jingle dresses, hand drums, earrings, and anything else people would like to donate to help the benefit raise funds. All vendors are welcome and can contact me to reserve a table!

Second Location:
The Marquee Ballroom (19&Up)
8pm-2am: Fashion Show, Stand-Up Comedy, Solo Singers and 4 Live Bands!

To start, we have one super funny Mi’kmaq.. who was recently voted as Halifax’s Best Comedian, nominated by the ECMA’s, and host of “The Candy Show”, Candy Palmater, as our nights event host!! The Fashion Show will showcase HeadRush, The Vault and InkStarz Native designs by “Natasha Patles” and “Dwayne Ward”- which will include both female and male Mi’kmaq models. We then have special guest, “Ryan McMahon”, a very hilarious Ojibway Comedian, who’s flying in from Winnipeg to do Stand-Up Comedy for us! Our stacked music line-up includes Listiguj’s very own “Melissa Girven” and “Gmanwolf Productions”, “Kicking Krotch”, and two Aboriginal Hiphop Music groups who were recently nominated by the East Coast Music Awards for Aboriginal Recording Of The Year, “City Natives” and “Black & Grey” to perform for us LIVE!!! 🎤

This is a great cause and one East Coast event you don’t want to miss!! You can contact myself, Shelley Young, Molly Jean Peters, Sarah Swasson, Charmaine Sock, Savvy Simon and Marina Ann Young if you would like to purchase tickets. You can also order them from me via EMT, and have them mailed to you right away. Tickets are selling fast, so get em before they’re gone.

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.”

Mi’kmaq Warriors Jailed Before Trial Plead Not Guilty

SOURCE: http://halifax.mediacoop.ca/newsrelease/19678

Mi’kmaq Warriors Jailed Before Trial Plead Not Guilty

Three Mi’kmaq Warriors Plead Not Guilty to Charges Stemming from Oct. 17th Violent Raid by RCMP

by Mi’kmaq Warrior Society

Moncton, NB—Three (3) members of the Mi’kmaq Warrior Society, held in custody since the day of the violent raid by RCMP officers on a peaceful anti-shale gas encampment, plead not guilty in the New Brunswick Provincial Courthouse on Friday Nov 8th.

Aaron Francis, Germaine “Junior” Breau and Coady Stevens have now been held in custody for three weeks, currently at the Southeastern Correctional Centre, with no date for trial set at this time.

Alison Menard, the lawyer who is representing the three Warriors in court says “We would like to see them get their trial dates as quickly as possible, as they have been remanded without a trial.”

The three young men have been refused access to phones and visits, and some have even been assaulted by corrections officers in custody.

“I know these men are not guilty of the charges being laid here by the Crown.” states Annie Clair, who is Junior’s mother and was also present the day of the raid, “They are peaceful men with good hearts. Thanks to everyone who has continued to give us the support we’ve needed.”

The courtroom was packed on Friday with supporters from Elsipogtog, surrounding Mi’kmaq communities, and non-native supporters from Moncton and elsewhere.

Susan Levi-Peters, former Chief of Elsipogtog says, “I am happy they have entered their plea of Not Guilty and I am saddened that they are still locked up for protecting our women and elders who were for fighting for our water and land.”

“Our warriors should be free, not locked up. We are not the savages”, states Susan in reference to RCMP treatment of Mi’kmaq people on the morning of the police raid, where police used sniper teams, and brought in officers from multiple provinces to enforce an injunction on the anti-shale gas encampment.  The former Chief of Elsipogtog goes on to say that the RCMP violated an agreement of Peace and Friendship made with the Mi’kmaq people only hours before, “As the trial begins, we will find out why the RCMP ambushed our people in the early hours of the morning when they had offered tobacco in Peace and Friendship the night before.” -30-

Emergency Advisory: Mi’kmaq say, “We are still here, and SWN will not be allowed to frack.”

SOURCE: http://halifax.mediacoop.ca/newsrelease/19570

Sacred Fire blockade to begin at noon on Nov. 4

Emergency Advisory
For Immediate Release

Mi’kmaq say, “We are still here, and SWN will not be allowed to frack”

What: Sacred Fire blockade in response to SWN development
Where: Highway 11, outside of Laketon, NB
When: Monday, Nov. 4 at 12pm

Media Contact: Amanda Lickers, 705-957-7468

ELSIPOGTOG — The Elsipogtog community and the people of the Mi’kmaq nation are responding to SWN’s stated intention to resume shale gas exploration in New Brunswick. Community members and traditional people will come together to light a Sacred Fire to stop SWN from passing, in order to ensure that the company cannot resume work to extract shale gas via fracking. The Sacred Fire will last a minimum of four days and is supported by the Mi’kmaq people and the community of Elsipogtog. This comes as part of a larger campaign that reunites Indigenous, Acadian & Anglo people.

This is also an act of reclamation, as Mi’kmaq people are using the land in a traditional way, and are exercising their treaty rights, which includes ceremonial practices. The Mi’kmaq people have not been sufficiently consulted over shale gas exploitation and do not support SWN working on their territory.

The Sacred Fire blockade is also supported by the Mi’kmaq Warrior Society and the Highway 134 encampment.

“SWN is violating our treaty rights. We are here to save our water and land, and to protect our animals and people. There will be no fracking at all,” says Louis Jerome, a Mi’kmaq sun dancer. “We are putting a sacred fire here, and it must be respected. We are still here, and we’re not backing down.”