HMC: Gone for the summer – SWN Resources Canada folds ’til September

Gone for the summer – SWN Resources Canada folds ’til September

Shale gas company allowed to detonate 11 more un-exploded shot holes – charges against 25 of 35 will be dropped.

by Miles Howe

» Download file ‘johnlevi.mp3’ (3.4MB)

Eslipogtog War Chief John Levi. [Photo: Miles Howe]
Eslipogtog War Chief John Levi. [Photo: Miles Howe]

ELSIPOGTOG, NEW BRUNSWICK – Minutes ago, afternoon negotiations between the RCMP, Elsipogtog Chief Arren Sock, Elsipogtog War Chief John Levi, former Elsipogtog Chief Susan Levi-Peters, Mi’kmaq Warrior Society Chief ‘Seven’ and others concluded with a few key announcements.

  • SWN Resources Canada will be permitted to detonate 11 un-exploded shot-holes along ‘Line 5’, the backwoods seismic testing line west of highway 126 that the company is currently attempting to test for shale gas. A team of observers from Elsipogtog First Nation, which will include 8 scouts, 3 Grandmothers and 2 Elsipogtog Peacekeepers will be tasked with observing the completion of SWN’s work. No more testing will be allowed for these remaining 11 shot holes.
  • Charges laid against 25 of the 35 arrested in the protests against SWN’s seismic testing will be dropped, pending an unmolested completion of SWN’s detonation work. This work is expected to be completed by Friday, August 2nd.
  • People who have already entered the court system will not have their charges dropped. These include Elsipogtog War Chief John Levi and activist Susanne Patles, as well as others.
  • SWN is expected to return to seismic test in Kent County in mid-September. It will then focus it’s efforts on lines ‘3’ and ‘4’. These seismic test lines are far closer to Elsipogtog First Nation, in some instances bordering the community by only a few kilometers. SWN’s earlier attempts to seismic test these lines resulted in significant equipment destruction.
Please enjoy the following interview with Elsipogtog War Chief John Levi.

HMC: Undercover RCMP crash anti-shale gas press conference, activists remain in woods on ‘Line 5’

SOURCE: http://halifax.mediacoop.ca/story/undercover-rcmp-crash-anti-shale-gas-press-confere/18362

Undercover RCMP crash anti-shale gas press conference, activists remain in woods on ‘Line 5’

Nightfall finds unknown number of activists still in woods along SWN’s woodland testing line.

by Miles Howe

By now a familiar site. Police and security together bar entrance to SWN's seismic testing lines. [Photo: M. Howe]
By now a familiar site. Police and security together bar entrance to SWN’s seismic testing lines. [Photo: M. Howe]

See also:

DIEPPE, NEW BRUNSWICK – Yesterday, Upriver Environment Watch called a press conference at the Super 8 motel in Dieppe, New Brunswick. Attended by about 50 people, including 4 representatives from the media, the anti-shale gas action group from Kent County hosted a panel of speakers with a variety of expertise and experience.
“Impunity is the word we’re working with today,” said Anne Pohl, host of the press conference.
Pohl had, on July 19th, sent an open letter to New Brunswick Premier David Alward. The letter was at once an invitation to Alward to attend the press conference (neither he nor any member of his caucus attended) as well as a point by point description of the experienced hardships that those continuing to call for a moratorium on shale gas exploration in New Brunswick have experienced in their dealings with the RCMP, SWN Resources Canada as well as their elected government representatives.
If there was a continuous thread to the press conference, it was a general sense of frustration.
“We feel it is time for your government to stop directing the RCMP to harass us and to throw us in jail,” read the open letter to Premier Alward from the Upriver Environment Watch.
“It is time for your government to start talking with us. We have been trying to communicate with you for a long time. We have tried petitions, letters, requests for meetings, protests and everything else we could think of to get your attention. Your avoidance of us has been complete. We are extremely disappointed in your government’s failure to respond and acknowledge our concerns. We ask for you to respect and recognize the legitimacy of our concerns.
Chris Sabas, one of two members of the Christian Peacemakers Team that has been invited to document the anti-shale actions by Elsipogtog War Chief John Levi, was the first presenter. Her information focused on her recent excursions visiting post-testing areas along ‘Line 5’, the backwoods seismic testing line that has for weeks now been the focus of SWN Resources Canada’s testing efforts.
Sabas’ had photographic evidence of unplugged ‘shot holes’, as well as disturbing photographs of animal tracks that she noted appeared in large numbers around post-explosion zones.
Willi Nolan, a long-time resident of Kent County, as well as a member of Upriver Environment Watch, focused her presentation on the dangers of the chemicals already being used in SWN’s exploration processes.
Nolan noted that while information was not readily available, SWN was most likely using a TNT explosive to detonate it’s shot holes. Having already detonated dozens of shot holes throughout the backwoods along ‘Line 5’, Nolan noted that there was no evidence of independent monitors looking after post-testing zones.
Celianne Cormier, another lifelong resident of Kent County, recounted her personal story of being bullied by SWN and Stantec Engineering when it came time for her water to be tested leading up to testing in 2011.
Cormier related a situation where it did not appear that Stantec, ostensibly a third party independent water testing company, was acting at an arm’s length from SWN, the company required to do the water testing. In fact, every time a “water tester” called the Cormier residence, she noted that they claimed to be calling on behalf of SWN. Cormier felt increasingly skeptical when water testers consistently refused to produce identification that they were in fact Stantec employees.
“Why were the callers introducing themselves as calling from SWN and why was SWN calling the shots if the testing was being done by an independent or third party?” asked Cormier. “I lost all confidence in the process, I felt violated and bullied because I felt I was not asking for anything special. In fact I felt I was only insisting on the world class safe ans secure practices as promised by our provincial government.”
Ann Pohl spoke about the difficulty of having the concerns of the citizens of New Brunswick properly heard and represented by a mainstream media almost completely controlled by the powerful Irving empire. Pohl noted that Irving, who stands to benefit from shale gas extraction  in any number of ways; from trucking, to shipping, to processing, and on, was knowingly marginalizing the message of those opposed to shale gas extraction, often framing it as a ‘Native issue’.
After fielding questions from the media, the press conference then turned into an open forum, with various concerned citizens from around the province voicing their concerns about the increasingly obvious signs of industrial hostility, whether in disregard for the natural environment, complicity with law enforcement bodies, both public and private, and lack of concern from elected officials.
As if on cue, as one woman was describing the difficulties of trying to continue to live alongside a pot ash mine in Penobsquis, it became apparent that two undercover RCMP officers had been taking notes throughout the entire press conference. When asked what they were doing, constable Dave Matthews noted that he was taking notes on “the mood” of the press conference. When cameras were trained on the officers, they quickly fled the conference.
Rogersville heats up
It may well be that the blatant disrespect of laying seismic testing equipment immediately adjacent to a cemetery where family members and war veterans lie has begun to galvanize Rogersville’s Acadian population into action.
Today, only two days after the RCMP lied to activists attempting to park on parish land adjacent to their cemetery, telling those attempting to gather that it was private property, an emboldened crowd of about 60 Acadians, Anglophones and Indigenous people – united in their purpose – gathered in the pouring rain next to an active testing line.
Fearless of the potential danger of un-exploded ordinance, a number of people ventured southward down the active testing line, heading away from Pleasant Ridge Road towards Salmon River Road. With the constant hum of a helicopter transporting bagged geophones as a backdrop, activists wandered the freshly cut seismic line. Many noticed the presence of traditionally used medicinal plants growing directly next to un-detonated shot holes.
While most people exited the seismic test line by nightfall, as of press time an unknown number of individuals remain in the woods near the ordinance.

HMC: SWN Resources Canada’s ordinance sits behind a New Brunswick cemetery

SOURCE: http://halifax.mediacoop.ca/audio/blasts-wake-dead-swn-resources-canadas-ordinance-s/18340

Blasts to wake the dead – SWN Resources Canada’s ordinance sits behind a New Brunswick cemetery

Interviews with family members of those buried at the Rogersville cemetery

by Miles Howe

click here to download the audio file» Download file ‘cemetery.mp3’ (11.5MB)

Reggie Pitre stands beside the tombstone of his cousin. [Photo: M. Howe]
Reggie Pitre stands beside the tombstone of his cousin. [Photo: M. Howe]
Paul Bourque stands beside his brother's tombstone. [Photo: M. Howe]
Paul Bourque stands beside his brother’s tombstone. [Photo: M. Howe]
Gathered crowd at Rogersville cemetery. [Photo: M. Howe]
Gathered crowd at Rogersville cemetery. [Photo: M. Howe]

ROGERSVILLE, NEW BRUNSWICK – On July 21st we learned that SWN Resources Canada had an undetermined amount of unexploded ordinance behind a cemetery on Pleasant Ridge Road, in Rogersville, New Brunswick.

The cemetery sits adjacent to SWN’s ‘Line 5’, a 35.9 kilometer long seismic testing line that for weeks now has been heavily guarded by RCMP and private security firms.

It is important to note that the Rules for Industry section of the Responsible Environmental Managment of Oil and Natural Gas Activities in New Brunswick notes that the minimum setback for a cemetery from a seismic energy source is 50 meters. At this particular cemetery, seismic testing equipment was measured at under 2 meters away from the boundary line.

I spoke to a few residents from amongst the gathered crowd of about 35 Acadian, Anglophone and First Nations people. I asked them to tell me about the relatives that they had buried at this particular cemetery; the lives their relatives had lived; and what they thought of shale gas exploration.

Please enjoy the following interviews.

HMC: SWN drills more wetlands shot-holes, security guard finds prayer and white doves in the morning

SOURCE: http://halifax.mediacoop.ca/story/swn-drills-more-wetlands-shot-holes-security-guard/18314

SWN drills more wetlands shot-holes, security guard finds prayer and white doves in the morning

Line 5 work continues, Holiday Inn action draws 35 women in white.

by Miles Howe and Rana Encol

Security guard prays for Mother Nature at the site of a wetlands shot-hole. [Photo: Miles Howe]
Security guard prays for Mother Nature at the site of a wetlands shot-hole. [Photo: Miles Howe]
Women in white gathered at the Holiday Inn in Moncton to protest SWN Resource Canada's continued seismic testing in New Brunswick. [Photo: Miles Howe]
Women in white gathered at the Holiday Inn in Moncton to protest SWN Resource Canada’s continued seismic testing in New Brunswick. [Photo: Miles Howe]
Shot hole driller takes a flower. [Photo: Miles Howe]
Shot hole driller takes a flower. [Photo: Miles Howe]
ELSIPOGTOG, NEW BRUNSWICK – Yesterday, a group of anti-shale gas activists stumbled across a team of SWN-contracted workers laying a string of ‘geophones’ – the equipment used to received seismic data created when an area is tested – on a walking trail bordering a settler cemetery at 2304 Pleasant Ridge Road. SWN Resources Canada continues to seismic test ‘Line 5’, a 35.9 km north-south line that cuts through sensitive wetlands and traditional Mi’kmaq hunting grounds west of highway 126.

While the activists remained peaceful at all times, the workers appeared surprised to be discovered, retreating deeper into the woods and calling Industrial Security Limited, the Irving-owned firm that has for weeks now been providing the majority of SWN’s private security needs.

Continuing along the workers’ path, the activists discovered a drilled shot-hole – a hole bored into the ground that contains an explosive charge that will later be set off to gather seismic data – directly in a wetlands area. This falls in line with an earlier discovery of SWN Resources Canada circumventing registered wetlands regulations further south along Line 5.

Two Industrial Security Limited employees then arrived, and, citing workplace safety policy which does not allow anyone without protective equipment to come closer than 50 metres to an explosive at a workplace, informed the gathering party that they would not be allowed to proceed further into the woods. This was despite the fact that the activists were less than 3 metres from the explosive-laden shot hole.

For the next several hours, something of a standoff ensued, with a growing number of security guards, RCMP and activists congregating in the woods. At one point, three Mi’kmaq women asked if they could lay tobacco at the site of the shot-hole. An Industrial Security guard offered to lay the tobacco in their stead, and while the group played the Mi’kmaq Honour Song, the guard prayed to the four directions. He later left the scene in tears.

As evening fell, it became clear that the security and RCMP were – as has been largely the case to this point – concerned almost exclusively with the well-being of SWN-contracted workers and not with the safety of those who continue to rally against shale gas exploration in New Brunswick. People questioning why they were, for example, allowed on one particular piece of the trail and not another – when the 50 metre boundary zone had already clearly been compromised – were given no clear answer.

RCMP, security and activists posed for pictures atop the shot hole, and once it was clear that the SWN-contracted workers were finished their shift, all security and police forces cleared out of the area, and the activists were free to continue along the trail. 5 more shot-holes were discovered drilled directly in wetlands areas.

The seismic testing trail continued for approximately three kilometres, crossed a small river, and wound it’s way up to Young Ridge Road.

Further inspection of the trail, to the south of the original cemetery entrance, was met with an increased security presence, including RCMP guards and armed security guards on All-Terrain Vehicles.

White Doves at the Holiday Inn

Earlier that morning around thirty-five Mi’kmaq, Acadian, and Anglophone women dressed in white, holding flowers and leaflets, occupied the parking lot entrance ways to the Holiday Inn hotel where SWN workers stay in Moncton.

Every morning the workers leave the hotel by truck and disperse to their respective testing sites and security posts – this morning to Line 5.

Nine of the women drummed and sang as they entered the lot and circled the company vehicles.  Others handed out flyers to workers and regular hotel guests.

Ruth Wolpin, a cancer survivor, says short-term economic gains from fracking aren’t worth the long-term health effects caused by carcinogens contaminating the well water.

In their leaflets, the group argues the numbers don’t add up: “Jobs available to New Brunwickers will be few, low paying and short-lived. The typical well is productive for just five years, and its profits will mostly travel out of the province.”

Organizer Greg Cook, who first mobilized around resisting the sale of NB Power in 2009-2010, asserted the current Alward government does not have public consent around this issue – and will often try to compartmentalize it as First Nations or rural issue only.  Cook said today’s action was meant to convey a message of solidarity among nations and backgrounds.

Women Protesters in White Greet Shale Gas Workers at Dawn

Images from a July 18 dawn demonstration when indigenous and non-indigenous women “white dove” protesters peacefully (but loudly) made their presence felt at the Moncton Holiday Inn where the SWN workers are staying while they conduct seismic testing in Kent County.

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HMC: A Week of Civil Disobedience Trainings in Elsipogtog

SOURCE: http://halifax.mediacoop.ca/blog/hillary/18294

A Week of Civil Disobedience Trainings in Elsipogtog

By Hillary Bain Lindsay
This week, dozens of people are learning how to use non-violent direct action to resist shale gas exploration in Kent County, NB.  Photo: Hillary Lindsay
This week, dozens of people are learning how to use non-violent direct action to resist shale gas exploration in Kent County, NB. Photo: Hillary Lindsay

Thirty people have been arrested in Kent County, New Brunswick this summer for resisting shale gas exploration in the region.  After a week of civil disobedience trainings, there’s likely to be dozens, if not hundreds more.

On Tuesday, over 50 people (including me) gathered at the Elsipogtog Fisheries Centre in Kent County.  We learned about non-violent direct action, practiced going limp when being arrested, strategized for effective protests, and talked about colonialism and treaty rights.

Participants were of all ages, both Native and non-Native, although the majority appeared to be white.

I asked Eliza Knockwood, a young mother from Abegweit First Nation in PEI, who has family in Elsipogtog and has been involved in the Sacred Fire encampment since early June, what she thought of the mix of people taking part in the trainings.

“We all have a common thread today.  It’s not just about being a black person or a Native person or white person,” said Knockwood.  “Today we are a people that are standing for a unified message.  We are asserting our human rights and our treaty rights…We as a peoples stand firm on Mother Earth to hold our ground, to hold our water sacred.  And each other.”

There was a sense of something significant happening, as Mi’kmaq warriors, Acadian grandmothers, and young people on summer holidays sat down and shared a potluck of bacon, watermelon, cornbread, and couscous.

But of course, it wasn’t that simple.  Barbara Low, a Mi’kmaq woman named the “elephant in the room” on Tuesday afternoon when she brought up the different realities people were bringing to the table.  She spoke about how Native people are criminalized and treated differently by police. She spoke about how the battle against fracking might simply be about the environment for white people, but for First Nations, it is about home, land and colonialism.

It seemed like this was a message that non-Natives present were starting to understand.

Sue Adams is part of anti-fracking organizing in her own community of Antigonish, Nova Scotia.  Resistance to shale gas exploration has not been the primary reason for her visits (this was her third) to Elsipogtog and the Sacred Fire, however.

“My main concern here at this time is First Nation treaty rights,” said Adams.  “The right to free, prior and informed consent.  Some of my friends here feel like that hasn’t been respected.”

Philippe Duhamel travelled from his home in Quebec to facilitate the trainings.  He has been involved in movements for social and environmental justice for decades and arrested more times than he can count.

He believes there’s something special happening around the Sacred Fire in Elsipogtog.

“What’s especially interesting is the coming together of the Maliseet, Mi’kmaq, the Acadians and the Anglophone New Brunswickers,” says Duhamel.   “To stand their ground against the destruction of millions of gallons of water and the fracking of wells, that we know now poison whole communities.”

Duhamel says he’s never seen a community organize so quickly or so effectively.

“I know it’s difficult.  I know we’re riddled with conflict,” he says.  “It’s very hard work.  But I see the promise here of developing a model to work interculturally to build a people’s movement to stop the land grab.”

“People here have a good chance of creating a model victory,” says Duhamel.  “By a model, I really mean something that can be replicated everywhere.  What are the ingredients of [effective] mass civil disobedience?”

Willie Nolan is hoping to find out.  Nolan lives in Kent County and has been working against shale gas in New Brunswick for over four years.  She’s been involved at the Sacred Fire since June 3, and is hoping her community is at a turning point.

“I’m hoping we’ll be able to collaborate and implement strategies that will force the industry to get out of here,” says Nolan.

But to do that, “We need more numbers,” she says.  “We will win, [but] we’ll win quicker the more people who are ready to jump on board and help.”

There is an open, non-violent direct action training at the Elsipogtog Fisheries Training Development Centre on Saturday.  To register, email aboriginalrights.atlantic@gmail.com with “REGISTER” in the subject line. Include your name, contact information, and that you would like to attend Saturday’s training.  



APTN: John Levi, war chief, speaks about anti-fracking protest

SOURCE: http://aptn.ca/pages/news/2013/07/12/john-levi-war-chief-speaks-to-aptn-about-anti-fracking-protest/

John Levi, war chief, speaks to APTN about anti-fracking protest

National News | 12. Jul, 2013 by | 0 Comments

CLICK HERE FOR VIDEO

APTN National News

He says he’s a warrior chief defending the land from environmental destruction.

John Levi leads a group from Elsipogtog First Nation in New Brunswick who are fighting against a fracking company looking for shale gas.

The battle may be unwinnable, but Levi isn’t giving up.

APTN’s Ossie Michelin has the story.

HMC: Interview with AFN Regional Chief for NB and PEI, Roger Augustine

SOURCE: http://halifax.mediacoop.ca/audio/great-spirit-will-look-after-people-look-after-wat/18226

“The Great Spirit will look after people that look after water.”

Interview with AFN Regional Chief for NB and PEI, Roger Augustine

by Miles Howe

» Download audio file

Roger Augustine visited the sacred fire encampment in Elsipogtog on July 10th, 2103, his 66th birthday. [Photo: M. Howe]
Roger Augustine visited the sacred fire encampment in Elsipogtog on July 10th, 2103, his 66th birthday. [Photo: M. Howe]

ELSIPOGTOG, NEW BRUNSWICK – Yesterday, July 10th, was Roger Augustine’s birthday. Augustine is the Assembly of First Nations’ Regional Chief for New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island.

As promised on June 30th, Augustine spent the morning of his birthday at the sacred fire encampment in Elsipogtog, which for over a month now has represented the physical rallying point for those opposed to SWN Resource Canada’s attempts at shale gas exploration in New Brunswick.

When I spoke with Roger on June 30th, he didn’t have an opinion on shale gas, or at least not one he was willing to share publicly.

I wondered if the hours he spent at the sacred fire had given Augustine something upon which to make a public stand in regards to shale gas exploration in New Brunswick.

Please enjoy the following interview with AFN Regional Chief for New Brunswick and PEI, Roger Augustine.

IW: Elsipogtog First Nation Shale Gas Protests Update from Halifax Media Co-op Reporter Miles Howe

SOURCE: http://indigenouswaves.com/2013/07/10/elsipogtog-first-nation-shale-gas-protests-update-from-halifax-media-co-op-reporter-miles-howe/

Elsipogtog First Nation Shale Gas Protests Update from Halifax Media Co-op Reporter Miles Howe

Posted by indigenouswavesradio on July 10, 2013 · Leave a Comment

Two weeks ago Indigenous Waves spoke to Warrior Chief John Levi from Elsipogtog First Nation regarding the protests being led by his community against SWN Resources and the shale gas exploration they are engaged in on Mi’kmaq traditional territory. Since then, John Levi has been arrested, and as of Monday July 8th, 2013 was released. Halifax Media Co-op reporter Miles Howe has been covering the story since early June 2013, and was himself arrested for an incident RCMP claim took place two weeks prior to Howe’s arrest. Miles Howe joined Indigenous Waves this past Monday to discuss the events leading up to both his and War Chief John Levi’s arrest, as well as to give some further background to SWN Resource practices, the RCMP offering him cash in exchange for information and the Crown attempt to prevent Warrior Chief John Levi from giving advice to his community.

Miles Howe is a reporter and photographer for Halifax Media Co-op.

Playlist:

Darah – Australian History 101

A Tribe Called Red – Different Heroes f. Northern Voice

A Tribe Called Mi’kmaq – Calling All Warriors

Ode’min Kwe Singers – A.I.M. song

Whitefish Bay Singers – Anishinaabe Round Dance

Originally Aired Monday July 8, 2013

HMC: The problem with Line 5

SOURCE: http://halifax.mediacoop.ca/story/problem-line-5/18217

The problem with Line 5

Aerial surveillance shows SWN’s bush-cut seismic test line slashes through hunting grounds, sensitive areas

by Miles Howe

RCMP routinely block access to SWN Resource Canada's 'Line 5' [Photo: Miles Howe
RCMP routinely block access to SWN Resource Canada’s ‘Line 5’ [Photo: Miles Howe
Terrain in line 5 is relatively pristine, and comprises traditional Mi'kmaq hunting grounds. [Photo: Miles Howe]
Terrain in line 5 is relatively pristine, and comprises traditional Mi’kmaq hunting grounds. [Photo: Miles Howe]
Aerial surveillance notes that SWN has begun to cut a seismic test line through the bush. The coordinates for the northern head of the line are: N 46 41.155 W 65 32.699 [Photo: Miles Howe]
Aerial surveillance notes that SWN has begun to cut a seismic test line through the bush. The coordinates for the northern head of the line are: N 46 41.155 W 65 32.699 [Photo: Miles Howe]

See also:

ELSIPOGTOG – Large caravans of pick up trucks, fuel trucks, security trucks and a variety of other equipment continue to depart from the Moncton Holiday Inn on a daily basis. SWN’s contracted workers, the majority of whom are currently employed by Houston-based company Geokinetics, have been residing at the Holiday Inn for weeks now.

The daily pattern for most workers, as of this week, is a 6:45am visit to the Tim Horton’s counter at the local gas station. They then begin the process of organizing themselves for the 93 kilometer journey north along highway 126 to Rogersville. Some pieces of equipment do exit the highway earlier than Collette road, just north of Rogersville. It is not currently established where they work for the day.

The majority, as of July 10th, now take the Collette road exit. Equipment is usually flanked by security trucks, who, despite the illegality of the action, have been known to block Collette road against any non-SWN associated traffic. The majority of the security force is at the moment employed by Irving-owned Industrial Security Limited.

What happens then is a bit of a mystery. The equipment, which includes at least two ‘shot-hole’ drillers, is supposed to be running a north-south seismic testing line, with the Collette road entrance to the line representing near the northerly extremity of the line.

Due to continuous RCMP assistance in blocking access to the roads, aerial surveillance and walking scouts currently represent amongst the only means of gathering information as to the progress of the seismic line.

Both means of data gathering have painted an as-yet incomplete picture of the work, but scouts along the southern tip of the line report east-west cross roads having been flagged and laid with drilled charges. Whether all these charges have been detonated or not is unknown.

To the north of the line, aerial data gathering has indicated that SWN has moved slightly to the east of the seismic line route they have publicly presented in available maps. Instead, they appear to have begun to carve themselves a north-south clear cut line that begins at coordinates N 46 41.155 W 65 32.699. How far this line goes and where equipment is on this line is currently unknown.

This seismic line cuts squarely through traditional Mi’kmaw hunting grounds, and it is not uncommon to spot moose, deer, bear, fox and porcupines wandering through the terrain. The northern section of the line also appears to have some sizeable wetlands in it, and the line itself is on the Northern tip of the Richibucto River watershed.

The Richibucto watershed, according to a 2008 Ecosystem Overview published by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, is the fourth largest river basin in Eastern New Brunswick.

The watershed is also not particularly well-suited to industrial incursions. The peat moss industry, by no means comparable to the water-intensive process of hydraulic fracturing, has notably caused chemical and heavy metal contamination of the watershed, as well as threats to the ecosystem productivity, threats to aquatic fauna and changes to behaviour in aquatic species.

According to the Shale Gas Information Platform, a typical hydraulically fractured well requires anywhere from 10 to 30 million litres of water per well. The consequences of removing this much water, per well, from the Richibucto watershed – and walking scouts suggest there are scores of potential wells along line 5 alone – are not known.

With only the Atlantic Industrial Services plant in Debert, Nova Scotia, available to potentially ‘treat’ this water, what will happen to all the post-hydraulically fractured water is also not known. The Debert plant has a maximum capacity about equivalent to two fractured wells, and has already been caught dumping over 7 million litres of untreated post-hydraulically fractured water down the municipal sewer system in Windsor, Nova Scotia.

The Aboriginal Rights Coalition Statement in Solidarity with the People of Elsipogtog Mi’kmaq First Nation

The Aboriginal Rights Coalition Atlantic (ARC-A) is a regional coalition of Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Atlantic Canadians working together towards justice with First Nations peoples through education, research, advocacy and action. ARC-A recognizes and honours First Nations land, aboriginal and treaty rights in Atlantic Canada, which are also recognized in the Canadian Constitution and have been upheld in the courts. We oppose development projects carried out without free, prior and informed consent in indigenous territory and strive to awaken Canadian society to our collective treaty and Constitutional responsibilities with First Nations people.

ARC-A stands in solidarity with the People of Elsipogtog Mi’kmaq First Nation and the grassroots Indigenous people of Wabanaki as they assert their legal Aboriginal rights and responsibilities to their traditional territory and resources by non-violently opposing shale gas exploration in Kent County, New Brunswick. We join our voices with the coalition of Mi’Kmaq, Maliseet, Passamaquoddy, Acadian and other Maritimers raising their voices to protect Mother Earth.

We are also gravely concerned by the arrest and detention of Indigenous leaders such as Warrior Chief John Levi. John Levi was taken into custody following a hearing Friday, July 5th without the opportunity for bail until Monday, July 8th, while a well-publicized solidarity event took place at the Sacred Fire today, Saturday July 6th. We have witnessed the apparent unequal application of the law to indigenous non-violent defenders as compared to their non-indigenous allies, many of whom were carrying out ceremonial activities when arrested on multiple occasions in the month of June.

We call upon the Premier of New Brunswick and his government to uphold the United Nations and Canadian legal obligations to halt these exploration activities, consult with First Nations communities, and proceed with such activities only when free, prior, and informed consent is given by First Nations communities.

July 6, 2013

HMC: John Levi Free after weekend in prison

SOURCE: http://halifax.mediacoop.ca/story/john-levi-free-after-weekend-prison/18210

John Levi Free after weekend in prison

Crown stumbles in attempt to incarcerate Elsipogtog war chief, asks that he give no advice to community.

by Miles Howe

Levi and his soon-to-be wife share a hug upon his release. [Photo: Miles Howe]
Levi and his soon-to-be wife share a hug upon his release. [Photo: Miles Howe]

See also:

MONCTON, NEW BRUNSWICK – It was standing room only today in courtroom 2 of the Moncton provincial courthouse, as supporters of Elsipogtog War Chief John Levi came to show solidarity with one of the key voices against SWN Resouces Canada’s attempts to explore for shale gas in Kent County, New Brunswick.

Levi, who had been imprisoned since Friday, July 5th – on charges of mischief and obstructing justice related to events of June 21st – appeared today for a bail hearing, and it was clear from the outset that the Crown would be arguing against Levi’s release.

Levi’s charges had also breached the conditions of a May 30th, 2012, conditional sentence, related to an altercation with Department of Fisheries officers, where it is alleged that one officer hit Levi’s son with a paddle.

Crown prosecutor Roy – from the outset ill-prepared in forgetting to share her documentation with defense lawyer T.J. Burke – argued against Levi’s release, based on the Crown’s estimation that Levi was likely to re-offend, as well as that his detention was necessary to maintain confidence in the justice of the Crown.

Roy’s first witness was a Constable Berube, who testified that Levi had “a history of violence against police officers and officers of the law.” Berube – apparently – based this determination upon the altercation with fisheries officers, a June 4th, 2013, seizure of a Stantec truck in Elsipogtog, as well as the alleged charges related to June 21st.

Burke was quick to reduce Berube’s testimony to little more than ill-formed conjecture. Berube had not been present at the altercation between Levi and the fisheries officers; no charges had ever been laid related to the June 4th truck seizure; nor was there any damage to people or property; nor was there any proof that Levi had even driven the seized truck. As for the charges related to June 21st; they are currently nothing more than allegations.

Roy’s second witness, Troy Sock, was Levi’s probation officer. It is unclear why Roy called Sock to the stand as a Crown witness, because the probation officer was quick to endorse Levi’s character as an “ideal client” who was “timely and showed up to every meeting”.

Sock noted that for the past 13 months Levi had met every one of fifteen conditions laid out for him in his conditional arrest, including several calls daily to Sock during an initial 6 months of house arrest.

T.J. Burke’s only witness to the stand was John Levi. Those in attendance learned that Levi had been sober for over 5 years, was readying himself for his duties as a Sun Dance leader, and was slated to be married to his partner of over 27 years – and the mother of their three children – in late July.

Roy’s cross-examination of Levi appeared to be based more in a curiosity for a traditional way of life than any possibility of proving that the War Chief was likely to re-offend. At one point Roy asked Levi: “What is a smudge?”

Roy also appeared interested in trying to bait Levi in strange, philosophically-based questions related to his opinions on protesting. She asked several times whether Levi though that protesting was “an absolute right.”

For the record, Freedom of Assembly is embedded in Section 2 of the Canadian Charter of Rights of Freedoms.

Recognizing that the Crown’s case to keep Levi incarcerated was beat, Roy then appeared to turn to the fantastic in what must be interpreted as a Hail-Mary attempt to keep the War Chief muzzled.

In asking for conditions to be applied to Levi upon his release – in what may well be a first in any Canadian court of law at any level – Roy asked that Levi “not be allowed to provide advice to any member of the community.” This request provoked guffaws and chortles of laughter from the packed courthouse.

At this point both Burke and the judge agreed that this would be in effect removing Levi’s constitutional right. No one, Crown included, seemed to know exactly how they would in fact ensure that this condition was met.

Finally, it was agreed that Levi would be released immediately, with no bail. His conditions are to keep the peace and be on good behaviour, and not be within 100 meters of SWN Resources Canada’s equipment.

Upon release, Levi was met by a cheering crowd of about 60 people.

CPT: Warrior Chief John Levi released from custody

Source: Christian Peacemaker Teamshttp://www.cpt.org/cptnet/2013/07/08/aboriginal-justice-warrior-chief-john-levi-released-custody

ABORIGINAL JUSTICE: Warrior Chief John Levi released from custody

July 8th, 2013

CPTnet
8 July 2013
ABORIGINAL JUSTICE: Warrior Chief John Levi released from custody

John Levi
Chief John Levi (photo by Greg Cook SJ)

Warrior Chief John Levi is free on his own recognizance.  After a hearing held on the Crown’s request to have him remain incarcerated, the presiding Judge ordered his immediate release with the stipulation that he remain 100 meters away from SWN corporation equipment or any of its subcontractors’ machinery and equipment.

Many native and non-native people packed the courtroom to show their support; court officials permitted people to stand in the back as the seats filled up.  When Levi’s case was called, and as he entered the courtroom, people stood in unison.  His supporters had also done so on Friday, 5 July, at the initial hearing.  A different judge heard the matter today, and he ordered spectators to remain seated, saying he would clear the courtroom if they did not follow proper court decorum.

The Crown prosecutor attempted to show that should the court release Levi, a substantial likelihood of future criminal conduct existed and that detention was necessary to maintain “confidence and administering justice.”  The Crown’s own witness, Levi’s supervising probation officer, testified to the contrary.

The judge emphasized in his decision that Levi’s probation officer called him an “ideal client,”  noting, “we don’t hear that very often.”  Levi was subject to fifteen conditions when convicted for a 2011 violation when he was trying to exercise his treaty fishing rights.  He received an eighteen-month conditional discharge sentence. Levi has met fourteen of the fifteen conditions  and completed thirteen months of the eighteen month sentence, with “no problems.”

As for the condition that the Crown alleges Levi has breached (to keep peace and be of good behavior), the judge noted that Levi has not been convicted of any wrongdoing and the testifying RCMP officer had no first-hand knowledge of the facts leading to the arrest.  The Crown had called the ‘duty officer’ and not the arresting officer, which apparently, is standard.  Levi’s probation officer also testified that the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) called him Thursday, 4 July advising him that they were filing charges and asked “what he needed from them” to “lay a breach” petition.

As for the charges of mischief and obstruction, the Crown is clearly attempting to criminalize and penalize Levi’s supposed standing in the community.  The Crown alleges that Levi incited and encouraged people to be arrested on 21 June (those arrests form the basis for the obstruction charge).  The Crown attorney noted that Levi bears the title “Warrior Chief,” that people stood up in court today to support him when he walked in and that the courtroom was packed with supporters, which means people look to him to guide their actions.  The Crown even asked that the judge order Levi not give advice to anyone in the community.  The judge was not amused with this request.

The Crown’s entire presentation demonstrated a fundamental lack of awareness and knowledge pertaining to traditional Mi’kmaq practices, especially as it relates to the title “Warrior Chief,” the nature of leadership within the community, the ceremonial practice of smudging, and the forthcoming Sundance ceremony.

The next hearing will occur on 31 July at 9:30 a.m.

APTN: (video) Reporter arrested by RCMP alleges he turned down offer to become paid informant

SOURCE: http://aptn.ca/pages/news/2013/07/05/reporter-arrested-by-rcmp-alleges-he-turned-down-offer-to-become-paid-informant/

Reporter arrested by RCMP alleges he turned down offer to become paid informant

National News | 05. Jul, 2013 by | 1 Comment

By Jorge Barrera
APTN National News
An independent reporter charged Thursday by the RCMP in New Brunswick allegedly rejected the force’s offer to become a paid informant.

Miles Howe, a reporter with the Halifax Media co-op, was released late Thursday afternoon from the Codiac RCMP detachment after he was arrested on Salmon River Rd. where RCMP officers were restricting access to an area under shale gas exploration.

Howe faces charges of uttering threats and obstructing justice stemming from an incident that occurred June 21 during an anti-shale gas protest near Elsipogtog, a Mi’kmaq community in northern New Brunswick.

Howe, however, said he was approached by the RCMP on June 30 to become a paid informant and pass information to the police on the people he had been reporting on for weeks.

Howe said they told him “we could compensate you financially,” but they didn’t present a specific dollar figure.

“The funny thing about this situation is that one week ago they were offering me money to inform for them and now they are charging me with an incident that allegedly occurred two weeks ago,” said Howe.

RCMP spokeswoman Cpl. Chantal Farrah said in an email the RCMP couldn’t talk about informants and referenced a Supreme Court ruling.

“Given the broad scope of informer privilege I would have no knowledge of any informant relationship, in this case or any others, nor would the RCMP be able to comment on such a topic,” said Farrah. “The Supreme Court of Canada has upheld the importance of protecting this police officer/informant relationship.”

Howe believes that his charges are part of an attempt by the RCMP to get at Elsipogtog War Chief John Levi.

Levi has been charged with obstructing a peace officer. He was charged the same day Howe was arrested. Levi was informed he was being charged at 2 p.m. Thursday during a meeting with his probation officer.

Howe was arrested at 12:34 p.m.

The charges against both men are linked to a protest that occurred on June 21 along Hwy. 126.

The RCMP allege that Levi helped Howe evade arrest during the heated protest.

The RCMP also allege that Levi told protesters to “stand their ground,” according to Levi’s information sheet.

Sgt. Richard Bernard, who arrested Howe Thursday, is the main source of the allegations.

“On the side of the roadway, a man yelled, ‘Bernard you’re going to pay for this,” the information sheet alleges. “Sgt. Bernard looked over and saw a slim built man, with a black ball cap that had the word ‘dad’ on it.”

The information sheet alleges that Bernard tried to arrest the man, but he escaped his grasp and eventually fled in Levi’s truck.

None of these allegations have been proven in court.

“To me the fact Levi was charged (Thursday), an hour and a half after I was charged, suggests an intent to remove a capable man (Levi) from his appointed duties, rather than a desire to uphold the law,” said Howe.

Levi is being held in custody over the weekend for allegedly breaking his probation. He has a scheduled court date Monday.

jbarrera@aptn.ca

@JorgeBarrera

CBC: Aboriginal anti-shale gas advocate released from jail

SOURCE: http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/new-brunswick/story/2013/07/08/nb-levi-elsipogtog-shale-protest.html

Aboriginal anti-shale gas advocate released from jail

John Levi, of the Elsipogtog First Nation, pleaded not guilty to obstructing police, mischief

CBC News

Posted: Jul 8, 2013 1:07 PM AT

Last Updated: Jul 8, 2013 2:32 PM AT

An Elsipogtog First Nations warrior chief facing charges in connection with ongoing anti-shale gas protests in Kent County has been released from jail on conditions.

John Levi, 45, pleaded not guilty on Monday to obstructing police and mischief in relation to a June 21 demonstration on Highway 126, where SWN Resources is conducting seismic testing.

John Levi, of Elsipogtog First Nation, is charged with obstructing police and mischief, but his supporters say he's helping to keep the peace.John Levi, of Elsipogtog First Nation, is charged with obstructing police and mischief, but his supporters say he’s helping to keep the peace. (CBC)Levi, who had been in custody since Friday, appeared in Moncton provincial court for a bail hearing, represented by lawyer T.J. Burke.

The courtroom was overflowing with family, friends and supporters, many of whom wore anti-shale gas T-shirts and pins.

Before court proceedings began, Judge Irwin Lampert told the crowd to maintain decorum. Otherwise, he said, he would not hesitate to clear the courtroom.

At one point, a man stood up and spoke in support of Levi. Lampert got sheriffs to escort the man out.

The Crown argued Levi should not be released, saying the charges Levi faces breach a conditional sentence he’s under for a different matter.

He also questioned Levi’s role as a warrior chief.

Leads peaceful protests

John Levi's supporters celebrated his release outside the Moncton courthouse on Monday.John Levi’s supporters celebrated his release outside the Moncton courthouse on Monday. (Jennifer Choi/CBC)Levi, who took the stand in his own defence, said as the warrior chief he is to lead peaceful protests and traditional ceremonies.

His lawyer also noted the Crown’s own witness, Levi’s probation officer Troy Sock, testified that Levi is an ideal client, that he doesn’t believe Levi will commit any offences if released and that he’s not a threat to the community.

The judge agreed to release Levi, provided he keep the peace and be of good behaviour, stay 100 metres away from SWN and subcontracted equipment and employees, and give authorities 48 hours notice if he changes his name, address or job.

Levi is scheduled to return to court on July 31 at 9:30 a.m.

Several supporters joined hands outside the courtroom to celebrate Levi’s release.

Some people have credited Levi with helping to keep the peace in the eastern First Nations community.

RCMP have warned the situation in Kent County is getting dangerous after weeks of problems, including property damage and protesters being arrested.

SWN Resources is conducting seismic testing in the area to determine if developing a shale gas industry in the province is viable.

Opponents are concerned the hydro-fracking process used to extract natural gas will ruin the water supply and damage the surrounding environment.

HMC: Recapping a month of resistance to SWN in Elsipogtog

[documentary] Resistance To Shale Gas At Elsipgtog: An Oveview

A radio documentary aired July 1 which summarizes the resistance to SWN from the Sacred Fire at Elsipogtog.  Interviews with many individuals.  Produced by Asaf Rashid and Pierre Loiselle for From the Margins (CKDU FM, Halifax).

http://halifax.mediacoop.ca/audio/recapping-month-resistance-swn-elsipogtog/18177