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.

HMC: Prelude to the Raid: Interview with Warrior Society District chief suggests Irving-owned security, RCMP, engaged in pre-October 17th charge trumping

SOURCE: http://halifax.mediacoop.ca/story/prelude-raid/19596

Prelude to the Raid

Interview with Warrior Society District chief suggests Irving-owned security, RCMP, engaged in pre-October 17th charge trumping.

by Miles Howe

Why did this Industrial Security Limited employee approach a sacred fire, while armed, on October 15th? [Photo: Miles Howe]
Why did this Industrial Security Limited employee approach a sacred fire, while armed, on October 15th? [Photo: Miles Howe]

REXTON, NEW BRUNSWICK – The dominant police-fuelled discourse circulating is that on October 17th, the police were forced to raid an armed camp of anti-shale gas protestors along highway 134, near Rexton, New Brunswick.

Adding fuel to this narrative is the fact that the police have laid several charges, ranging from threats to assault to unlawful confinement, in relation to events that they claim occurred on October 15th and 16th.

The end result is a story in which the RCMP, despite drawing in Emergency Response Teams from Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, Quebec and New Brunswick; despite raiding an until-then peaceful encampment with guns drawn in the pre-dawn on the 17th; despite firing numerous rounds of less-lethal ammunition into unarmed people at point blank range; and despite spraying men and women with pepper spray, were simply de-escalating a tense situation.

However, an interview with Signigtog District War Chief Jason Augustine – himself present at the encampment since it’s inception, and now facing numerous charges – begins to peel back the layers of the RCMP’s imagery, and presents a very different recounting of events that occurred over October 15th and 16th.

It’s a story that shows a clear attempt by Irving-owned Industrial Security Limited to taunt and bait members of the Warriors Society on October 15th and 16th – in some cases going directly against already-negotiated agreements that existed between the Mi’kmaq Warriors Society and the RCMP – in order to create a fiction in which the Warriors could be later charged with a variety of accusations that supposedly occurred on those two days.

It’s also a story that shows the RCMP negotiating in extremely poor faith..

Since late September, 2013, Irving-owned Industrial Security Limited was the main security unit patrolling the fenced-in compound where SWN Resources Canada’s equipment was being held along highway 134. Generally, and for the duration of the life of the encampment, there were between about four and ten security guards patrolling the fenced-in area.

The fenced-in compound had one main gate, at the corner closest to the access road to highway 134. But the fence around the compound itself was not a permanent structure, and pieces could quickly be latched and unlatched, creating make-shift gates at any desired point.

Indeed, because the one main gate opened onto the 134 access road, which had become one of the main traffic points of the encampment, Augustine notes that the Warrior Society and the RCMP had earlier negotiated that ISL shift changes would take place via an already-built back road that opened onto an off-ramp of highway 11.

ISL guards would leave the fenced-in compound at the extreme opposite corner of the compound, about 200 meters from the main gate, through a make-shift gate. This was a scenario that had been taking place in good faith for numerous days prior to October 15th.

“We had already set a negotiation [regarding] the backside [of the compound]”, says Augustine. “We made them a road where [ISL workers] could go in and back out. And each time the shift change started there were always two Warriors and four RCMPs [to escort the workers]. We negotiated that with Denise Vautour and Marc Robichaud (two of the RCMP’s negotiators). We negotiated that and we all said ‘That’s pretty good, we’re in a working [compromise] right now.’”

Yet on October 15th, in a situation that Augustine cannot remember happening during the duration of the encampment, an ISL security guard, later identified as former New Brunswick Highway Patrolman Gary Flieger, opened the front gate of the fenced-in compound and began wandering around an area of the encampment where a sacred fire had been lit.

He had crossed a line of cedar that had been placed on the gravel road in front of the sacred fire, and was standing – armed, according to Augustine – in front of the fire. This was where Coady Stevens, another member of the Warriors Society, found Flieger.

It is of particular importance to note that – according to Augustine – the Warrior Society and the RCMP had even negotiated for the possibility that an ISL security guard would want to come and pray at the sacred fire. The guards could come and pray any time they wanted, but neither they, nor anyone else, was permitted to bring weapons of any kind to the sacred fire.

“[ISL] already knew,” says Augustine. “When we negotiated the first time, when an ISL worker comes out to the sacred fire – because they were welcome, anytime they were welcome – as long as they don’t have any weapons. [But] they could come and pray with us anytime they want. And that was part of the negotiations. They could come out at any time and pray with us, or go out the back way and shift change then.”

Augustine describes a brief altercation that then took place, one that he suggests Flieger took to a physical level. But for one quick push of Flieger, and for escorting Flieger back through the front gate of the fenced-in compound, Coady Stevens – who remains incarcerated and who was denied bail – faces charges of assault, threats and unlawful confinement. All these charges are, of course, pre-October 17th.

Lost in the dominant narrative is why Flieger left the front gate of the compound on the morning of the 15th and wandered, armed, to a sacred fire. Lost also is how, with an already-built back gate that was frequently used, any of this constitutes unlawful confnement.

There was no shift change taking place at the time. Indeed shift changes took place at the exact other end of the fenced-in compound. If Flieger wanted to pray at the sacred fire, not something he had done during any of his other shifts, Augustine suggests that he was welcome to do so – provided he approached the fire unarmed.

This is especially problematic if, as Augustine suggests, RCMP negotiators Denise Vautour and Marc Robichaud had already negotiated these terms in good faith with the Warriors.

Augustine notes that on the evening of the 15th, RCMP negotiator Denise Vautour again texted him, asking about the altercation that had happened.

“On the night of the 15th I got a text from Denise [Vautour] saying ‘What’s going on down there? How come a Warrior is pushing ISL?’” says Augustine. “Right off the bat we told them ‘Hold it. ISL came out to the sacred fire with his weapon out. Remember when we negotiated that they’re not supposed to have weapons around the sacred fire.’ She said ‘OK, we didn’t know that.’ Then she asked if we could meet. I said ‘Yes, we’ve got to meet and talk about this and resolve this as quick as possible, in a peaceful way’…That night we all agreed that: ‘Yes, everything is peaceful again. Let’s keep it that way.’”

The morning of the 16th, apparently, was out of the ordinary as well. Augustine notes that ISL staff was being especially belligerent to the Warriors who were stationed at the fence.

“When I came out I told [ISL]: ‘Whoa guys you have to be peaceful,’” says Augustine. “This was from the RCMP. I told them right of the bat that we’d been negotiating all this time for peace, and that you guys have to cooperate with us.”

Several Warriors have been charged with threats related to the 16th of October. It is assumed that these charges are related to this series of verbal altercations.

Augustine notes that the Warriors had also already negotiated with the RCMP in order to create a neutral ‘no-go’ zone around the fenced-in compound, in order that ISL security working within the fenced-in compound would not be verbally harassed by over-exuberant activists.

“It was always a concern for their safety too,” says Augustine. “We wanted them safe, because we knew that they were only there for their jobs.

“That morning, when things were escalating, right off the bat we went to Denise [Vautour] and Marc [Robichaud] and said ‘You’ve got to help us. These guys are not being peaceful. You guys have got to help us bring in the RCMP instead of ISL.’”

Mid-morning of the 16th, another meeting was held between the Warriors Society and the RCMP. In effect, what was being negotiated was a replacement of ISL security – which over the last two days had begun to act in an aggressive manner – with an RCMP contingent that would either remain in the fenced-in compound or patrol the ‘no-go’ zone – and monitor SWN’s equipment. In the interim, Augustine notes that he asked for the Warriors to vacate the ‘no-go’ zone to de-escalate the situation.

According to Augustine, after analyzing the situation, RCMP negotiators Vautour and Robichaud came to a similar conclusion as the Warriors: It was ISL security who was escalating the situation, not the Warriors.

“Denise [Vautour] and Marc [Robichaud] came along and said: ‘Jason, the RCMP are coming now, they’re going to take [ISL] out for you. We finally realized that they’re the problem too.’ So they were taken out right away.”

Augustine notes that the security duty exchange between ISL and RCMP took place between 3 and 4pm.

By the night of the 16th, Aboriginal RCMP negotiators had been brought in, supposedly in an attempt to calm the situation. Augustine again notes that these new negotiators, a constable ‘Fraser’ from Saskatchewan and a constable Walter Denny from Nova Scotia, confirmed with him that it was ISL security who was acting in a provocative and aggressive manner.

“Fraser and Denny] said: ‘These guys were very disrespectful, and on your guys’ part, you guys were just here trying to keep the peace,” says Augustine. “'[ISL] was so disrespectful that they were even disrespectful to us, because we were Natives.’”

With RCMP officers now replacing the “disrespectful” ISL security force, Augustine notes that the Aboriginal RCMP negotiators made further attempts to court peace with the Warriors.

“That night, around 10pm, constable Fraser and constable Denny came up to us. They wrapped tobacco in red felt and told us: ‘From now on it’s going to be peaceful.’ And they handed me the tobacco,” says Augustine. “They handed it right to me and said: ‘This is for peace. We understand that you guys only want peace. So everything’s going to be peaceful now. Negotiations have to start now.’

“We took the tobacco, me and Jim [Pictou]. We all shook hands. And we gave them tobacco too. I took tobacco out of my cigarette pack, broke it, and gave one to Walter [Denny] and one to Fraser and I told them ‘Yes, it’s now peaceful now.’ I took the tobacco back to our sacred bag. We had a bag full of a lot of our sacred stuff; sweet grass, sage, buffalo sage and all the medicines that we have there. And they left.”

Having successfully negotiated for the removal of the ISL security team, to be replaced by a patrol of RCMP officers, and having been given tobacco by two Aboriginal negotiators who allegedly confirmed the disrespectful nature of the Irving-owned employees, Augustine notes that the rest of the evening of the 16th, up until the morning of the 17th, was entirely uneventful.

The raid of the 17th , in which dozens of RCMP officers surrounded the Warriors encampment with a variety of weaponry already drawn, was a surprise to Augustine, both in terms of the amount of armaments, but more importantly in terms of the RCMP’s intent of the night before.

“That morning when I woke up to do my traffic control, I started about 6:30,” says Augustine. “I got my coffee ready and I didn’t even start drinking my coffee when the RCMP came out with guns drawn on us. The night before was peaceful. Even the RCMP was kind of happy that it was peaceful now. Nobody was escalating. Everybody was laughing. Everybody was drumming. Even the RCMP would drive by and wave to us. They knew it was peaceful.

“But all of a sudden that October 17th morning…Holy. All of a sudden they came up with guns drawn…Where’s that peace?”

When analyzing the potential of ISL – and their Irving paymasters – knowingly crafting a scenario involving trumped up charges against members of the Warriors Society, all the while working in collusion with the RCMP – and their Crown paymasters – it is also important to remember that a public hearing against SWN’s injunction against protestors was set for the morning of October 18th in Moncton.

The injunction named all of New Brunswick – under John and Jane Doe – as being potentially on the legal hook for inhibiting SWN’s access to it’s seismic testing equipment. Pre-18th legal opinions put forward on social media sites suggested that the injunction didn’t have a legal leg to stand on – indeed the injunction was subsequently overturned – but it did serve the purpose of intimidating activists concerned about their own estates from attending the encampment.

The 18th, and the potential of the public hearing overturning the injunction, presented a situation that may well have seen a surgin renewal of people at the highway 134 encampment. Crafting a narrative to negate that potential through strange actions, including having ISL guards leaving a front gate not used for shift changes and approaching a sacred fire while armed, and taunting Warriors who had made a habit of not only peacefully escorting ISL security during shift changes, but feeding the guards with home-cooked meals, resulted in a series of pre-raid charges.

Just the narrative needed for a pre-18th raid.

With these charges in their back pocket, the RCMP was free to create an ‘escalating tension’ scenario that they could then feed to a mainstream press. Coupled with the photogenic imagery of burning police cars and a press conference with a table full of armaments – neither of which can be yet, if ever, attributed to members of the Warriors Society – and the justification for the pre-dawn raid was set.

According to Augustine, from one side of their mouths RCMP negotiators spoke of peace, offered gifts and agreed that it was ISL security who was the incendiary side of the equation. All the while, however, a series of pre-raid charges, which still hang over numerous members of the Warriors Society, was being levied against them.

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

We have received hundreds of personal solidarity messages from people around the world!

Thank you to all who have written messages of solidarity to our struggle. Here is a sample of the hundreds of personal messages we have recieved, which have arrived from every province of Canada, most of the states in the USA, England, Scotland, Ireland, Belgium, France,Portugal, Romania, New Zealand, South Africa, Australia and beyond!

This does not include all the tens of thousands of people in cities across Turtle Island (North America), South and Central America, Europe and beyond who have staged solidarity demonstrations!

TO SEND A MESSAGE, PLEASE VISIT: http://sacredfirenb.com/send-a-message-of-solidarity/

  • I am with you in thought and spirit. Do not lose hope. Your strength and resilience in these times are exemplary and extremely inspiring. Justice will eventually be made thanks to your actions. Don’t forget: manmade law is limited, but karma is eternal.
    With you in Montreal, Erica.
  • Sending Love and prayers and a great big honor and appreciation for all the defenders of the land. My heart goes out to all the people of Elsipogtog and their friends and supporters. May all your hearts heal, together in spirit and gain strength through making us closer and together as one, in spirit of unity and solidarity, Eva.
  • Dear Friends, We are with you in spirit and solidarity here in the North East of England. I am active in the struggle for our environment and for the future of humanity, in the Green Party and in a wider coalition Frack Free Tyne and Wear. Campaigning like yours against fracking is inspiring and we are getting organised here against extreme energy planned, both Underground Coal Gasification all along our beautiful coastline and Coal Bed Methane extraction onshore. I live with my family on the coast and we will do our utmost to stop the planned horrors of UCG here and keeping in touch with people struggling like yourselves is part of what keeps us all going. Thank you for your courage. Yours, Shirley.
  • Brothers and Sisters, though we are many miles away. We stand shoulder to shoulder with you, in the fight against those that would destroy our lands for the sake of greed. David.www.frackfreesouthyorkshire.co.uk
  • I live in Los Angeles, a scant 3 miles from the Baldwin Hills oil fields where they are now fracking.  As a point of reference we sit on the San Andreas fault line which was responsible for the 1971 Sylmar earthquake killing 65, the 1994 Northridge earthquake killing 72,  San Francisco quake killing 63.  Our governor Jerry Brown has  signed legislation which will essential open /allow fracking along this fault in the largest shale fields in N. America known as Monterey Shale.  Fracking is nothing more than state sanctioned murder. Our water is undrinkable, our air thick with pollutants our residents dying from “unknown” points of contamination. Protest long and loud. Viola.
  • With you in spirit, sending strength and love from Balcombe, UK. Sara.
  • Keep up the peaceful protest and stand!! Thanks in the name of our common Mother Earth, sisters and Brothers of all origin and species.
    You have many withe-faced brothers supporting your battle and fighting similar ones in our area.
    Merci et continuez! Christian.
  • My heart and my prayers go out to all of you. I heard a local vicar say that to stand up for what you believe for all of us, to save our planet for generations to come, is the ultimate most profound act that any one person can do for another. I thank you with all my heart and soul. I do what I can here in England by writing millions of letters to raise awareness, but I stand with you in spirit. Julia.
  • Thank-you for standing your ground, defending the planet and encouraging the rest of us to do the same. I am with you in spirit and I applaud your courage and tenacity!!! In solidarity, Karen.
  • Hi, my name is tasha, i am 19 years old. i live in the uk. your story inspires me and we must fight for our mother nature!! please stay strong and beautiful in the knowledge that change is coming, the young people like me see it coming and we fight for our mother nature, for everyones mother x blessings x.
  • Solidarity with your struggle. Love and best wishes from Belgium! Geraldine.
  • You stand on the front lines of a war that must be won. I honour your courage and determination.
    Thank you. Catherine.
  • Our love and thoughts are with you. We wish you every success in your battle against the profiteering corporations wanting to poison your land. Lynda.
  • Sending support, blessings, healing and solidarity to the warriros against fracking – of all tribes, of all nations.  Together we stand as one.  From Somerset, UK. Louise.
  • I support the Elsipogtog and Mi’kmaq First Nations 100% in their historic fight against the calamitous destruction of the planet in their territories. The tar fields of Canada shame the nation and make it one of the dirtiest on the planet, but the people defending the land are heroes and heroines in the eyes of the world. Fight on you brave and honourable souls. Janet.
  • From Warwickshire in the UK I wish to send my support to the First Nations people and the fight against fracking on their lands. It is disgusting to see RCMP oppressing in the way they are, to see ‘police’ dressed in military fatigues with large rifles and scopes. More power to the First Nations !!! Gareth.
  • As it gets colder, please be warmed by the knowledge that your fight against fracking is resounding throughout the world. Am sending out messages through the Occupy social networks created and see the solidarity. Tricia.
  • I am appalled to see what the authorities think is appropriate action in the face of dissension. I will continue to pray and sing for your cause. We are approaching our time when the ancestors are close. I am sure they will do what they can to stop this global madness. Maryam. Here is something which has come out of the fight over here in the UK. It is sung to the hymn Jerusalem it was in “Chariots of fire” the film. I hope you enjoy it.

    And did they frack in ancient times?

    Poisoning waters; once so clean?
    And were their fil-thy rigs of doom
    On England’s plea-sant-pastures seen?
    And did the On-ly face of Truth
    Shine forth upon our clouded hills?
    And do the frackers know time is up
    To use their dark sa-tanic drills.
    Come join us here and sing your song:
    Sing of the justice you desire.
    Assist us NOW!  These frackers are wrong.
    We now remember:  We’re the Choir.
    We will not cease from camp-ing here,
    Nor shall we rest till fracking’s banned.
    Till we have kicked these frackers out
    Of England’s green-and pleasant land.
    5th August 2013 ©Simon Welsh Poetry
  • We are watching what is happening in Canada from here in the U.K. We stand as one in solidarity with you sending love and respect for you wishing you all the strength needed in you fight .  you are true warriors. Love and peace to you all. Diane.
  • Here in the UK we are watching what is happening in Canada and we have nothing but respect, love and admiration for you. Your incredible strength and bravery is an inspiration to us all. You are all true warriors for the Mother. Solidarity. Ellie.
  • Thank you for standing up and standing strong to protect the water.  I can’t believe that people are willing to sacrifice fresh water to extract a chemical which is so harmful and will only increase climate change.  You are a shining example to the rest of Canada.  I hope we can be as strong against fracking in Northern BC and protect the sacred head waters there. Lynn.
  • Resisting southwestern energy is vital. Your courage reflects everywhere, in all facets of the dream of the earth… empowerment, love, art, forests, the creation of a global community. The actions you take for good create a fiery  impact in the world of spirit. Thank you. THANK YOU! It’s amazing to see. Keep using your consciousness for good, fighting evil. THANK YOU! My thoughts are with you. Migwetch. Louis.
  • well done, respect, this is our planet not the corporations,massive hugs and good luck from ireland, Tony.
  • Keep on going everyone.  Don’t let this short-sighted government pummel your voice out of you.  There are many who are behind you.  Keep speaking up for what YOU think is right.  We have to win this one.  Hopefully in the very near future there will finally be Justice for the First Nations People of Canada and all of the rest of the Canadians who do not agree with this current blind and careless government. Justis.
  • Please know that many of us here on the West Coast are thinking of and Praying for all of you … your Stand is Our Stand!!!  Provocateurs and militant or racist types will not prevail, Peace, Respect and Solidarity for our Mother Earth will!  Everything you are doing/have done is noticed … I hope you can feel our loving support all the way from Cowichan Territories on Vancouver Island.  So much Love and Warmest Blessings.  All My Relations xxooxxoo. Bearspirit.
  • I stand with you from Montreal, Quebec. I am ashamed to admit that before April 2013, I had no idea about this nation’s TRUE history and the totally unacceptable way the oil/gas industry is greedily extracting natural resources from Native lands. Although I am in no way an expert on these issues, please know that I try to make people aware of the truth and your ongoing plight at every opportunity. Slowly but surely, more and more people are waking up… the wave is indeed building, albeit not nearly fast enough if you ask me. I thank you for your courage and wisdom, and I apologize from the depths of my heart for all the suffering First Nations people throughout Canada have endured since European contact. Martina.
  • Keep up the good work and most of all THANK YOU for your time, energy, bravery and acts of kindness to Mother Earth– bless every one of you! Samantha.
  • Your courage is electrifying and inspiring!  Justice is on your side!  Your ancestors watching form the spirit world must sing with pride! Truth is everything. Remember – all truth goes through 3 stages.  First, it is ridiculed.  Second, it is violently opposed.  Third, it is finally accepted as being self-evident. I hope to be with you soon. Dennis
  • It saddens (and angers) me so much when I hear reports of racist messages towards anyone, but especially against First Nations people.  I don’t hear these messages first hand because none of the people I spend time with feel that way. Please know that there are many many people who honour you and have immense respect for what you have done in this action and great compassion for what you have endured under the ongoing colonial  agenda that our official governments have imposed on your people. Unfortunately, the cowards and nasty people who soil public discourse with their garbage seem to be getting a disproportionately large amount of attention.  I don’t have any statistical information that says they are actually in the minority of the total population, but I suspect  that part of the reason their garbage is promoted by te corporate media is that it furthers their greedy and stupid agenda.  Don’t any of these people have children and grandchildren they love? Are they all completely brain dead? It’s hard to fathom their short-sightedness and stupidity. I urge you to protect yourselves from their ignorance  and venom. I and everyone I know, including my conservative relatives, understand that you are fighting for all people and our animal friends–all of us, and that you are doing an amazingly wonderful job of it.  Your kindness , self control and clarity are a lesson to all us settler activists to follow your example […] Again, my heartfelt thanks for all you have done, and may your successes be multiplied and continue to inspire us all.  I’m a senior, living on a small pension, so I’m only able to make small contributions of money, but I’m doing everything else I’m able to  try and turn the emergency that we’re all in around and to talk about the amazing work the various First Nations groups are doing.  Many blessings.  Kind regards, west coast Salish territory, settler ally. Susan.
  • Keep strong my brothers and sisters, my heart and spirit go out to all peoples fighting for mother earth. No government nor corporation can take what is not theirs without a fight! Shannon.
  • Thank you for your courage and inspiration.  Peoples from all directions are waking up to Mother Earth’s life force which connects us to and with everything. I am an ally from the west coast … and am Idle No More! Bruce.
  • Here in Miramichi, there are many of us behind you – petitioning our government, writing letters to the editor, spreading the world on facebook and engaging in dialogue with our friends and neighbours re: the truth about shale gas development. It is time to draw a line, for future generations and all our relations. Elizabeth and Glen.
  • I just want you to know, my heart beats with yours as you stand your ground against fracking.  I am talking, posting, and hopefully spreading awareness that the people of Canada need to see through the media blitz against you, as you are protecting the future of humanity.  My message to you is THANK YOU. Deb.
  • I am a professor in the School of Business at Queen’s University in Kingston ON. You are an inspiration for me and my students, and we are following your courageous stand in our sustainability class. I am also sending out information to my personal mailing list of friends and former students. I wish I could be there with you to help in your struggle for respect and protection of the natural systems that give us life. We will win this struggle but we need people like you to give us hope along the way. Stephen.
  • I live in B.C. and so have to send my congratulations and thanks for standing up for the rest of the people of this country (ies).  My turn to man the barricades will come if the colonizers try to push northern gateway through. I realize we in B.C. also have a fracking problem that needs to be addressed. Wonderful news the courts have made it easier for you to defend your land! I have to ask myself why is it that the First Nations peoples  are leading this fight and why the rest off us aren’t being of more help? Outreach might bring more people together. Brad.
  • Tanshay – Greetings – I am so proud of all the strong people who are standing up in a good way, in a peaceful way, to stop the destruction of the land and the water. Marsee everyone. Artemis.
  • Thank you all for your courage in standing up for what you so firmly believe in. Unfortunately, this is a way of life for you! I’m in my 80’s but I would wish to stand with you if it were possible. God’s blessings on your people. Fran.
  • Much love from Northern Ontario. Araelia.
  • I am and always have been a support of native rights, your fight has been long and arduous. What you are fighting for now is for all Canadians, it is important to remember that not all whites are against you and that many empathize with your dilemma.  This last outrage by the RCMP has tipped many over onto your side. Now if we can only get the Canadian Government to realize that it has picked a fight with its own people …then we will win… Thanks for doing this for all of us!! Larry.
  • Thank you for your courage; please continue to fight for the protection of our water resources against our government’s reckless resource extraction policies and their corporate sponsors. Know that many here in Ontario support you. Al.
  • Sending support and love from Inuvik, NT!! Your strength and tenacity touch us all as you continue to stand up for Mother Earth and the sacred gifts she gives us. Miigwetch, Mahsi Cho, Wela’lin. Jennifer.
  • Keep up the good work in fighting the machine! Magee.
  • I deeply respect you and feel you. I hope you succeed! Jurji.
  • Stand strong… sending all sorts of encouragement from down here in Connecticut… Ally and friend… always. Michelle
  • From Covington, Kentucky in USA (traditional Shawnee and Miami territory), my mom and I have been sending up prayers for the people in New Brunswick and all Mi’kmaq. We support you here and are spreading the word. Thank you for all that you do: what affects you, affects us and we are proud to hear of your stories. Special thanks from me to Chief Sock and Amy Sock for showing encouraging leadership; and to the Mi’kmaq Warrior society, including treaty scholar Suzanne Patles, Tyson Peters, Gen. Pictou, and Seven Bernard. Also thanks to the women and grandmothers who take the lead and keep the peace, including Willi Nolan, Loraine Clair, Eliza Knockwood, and so many others. And thank you to the youth – including Bonar Law Students- who stand their ground, set a good example, and smile while doing so. And to all the acadian and anglophone warriors and allies such as Greg Cook, who stand their ground in peace and friendship with treaty Mi’kmaq. And a big thanks to Miles Howe for covering the struggle from the beginning. I am happy to see such harmony – you WILL be victorious. Allies in solidarity, Manuel, mom, and pups.
  • Thank you, Elsipogtog peoples, Acadians and others committed to this peaceful resistance to fracking activities in Kent County! I applaud your courage and committment. Much of the U.S. is already being ruined by fracking; the Tar Sands are a criminal enterprise, supported by an unethical Prime Minister; fracking needs to be opposed wherever it is proposed. Stop the corporate pillaging and rape of our beautiful country!! Stop the colonialist crimes against all Indigenous peoples!!
  • Thank You please dont stop fighting I have seen first hand what fracking does in Northren B.C. (fort st john) Fracking needs to stop we are killing ourselves to make others rich. Your fight needs to get bigger NO MORE FRACKING IN CANADA. We need to make a stand together as one. Michael.
  • Message of solidarity: Sending you lots of love from New Zealand, keep up the good work, we are with you in thought and spirit. TJ.
  • I appreciate all that you are doing. I am not Native but wanted you to know that you are not alone in the battle to save our planet, our Sacred Mother from the voracious greed that has poisoned the thoughts, words and deeds of our Canadian Government. Only the bravest, the most soul truthful people could stand up to all those guns, batons and pepper spray. When I was a child I used to think of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police as the epitome of Canadian stewardship keeping us all safe from unknown evil. Now as an adult I see them as thugs, relishing in their cowardice as they break the bodies of brave Native warriors both men and women. But no matter how bruised and bleeding one becomes in the face of tyranny, our Sacred Mother Earth knows who held out their hand to save her from harm. She will not forget and she will call on others for help. Tim.
  • Hello sisters and brothers,  i want you to know that you are not alone.  Many peolpe who are not in New Brunswick are standing with you in solidarity from other cities and provinces across the country.  i wish that government and corporations would place a higher value on human rights and human life.  With the utmost repect for your struggle, i  wish you a safe journey while you try to teach government and corporations that they can not just take, take, take.   This is not their land to take.  They must respect treaties and agreements and leave the land to breath and grow rather than destroy everything in their path for profit/capital gain.  Why do the power houses believe the only way to live on this planet is to strip the earth for profit?  Humans are intelligent, why can’t we learn to be more human??  This aggression towards people only promotes bullying.  Is this how our government wants to be remembered when this is all said and done.  Isn’t ot “US” the people, who have hired the government to work for us.  Are “WE” paying for their salaries? Therefore they must be our employees.  Then it is time that they listen to their employers..”US” the people.  Otherwise we can always hire new staff at the next elections.  In Solidarity, Janet.
  • Greetings and solidarity with you all brothers and sisters I support you from England in your fight for all of us and the sacred waters and earth given in sacred trust to all mankind against the greed and ignorance of corporate powers and corrupted government agencies.  Here in England we too are fighting the misguided  Fracking policies of international corporations driven by greed for monetary profit at the cost of our nations water supplies and health of our nation and its future generations.  On behalf of many here in the UK we salute your bravery , clarity of vision and commitment to win this fight for the sacred sources of life here on mother earth against the forces of greed, ignorance and oppression. May the spirit of life be with you brothers and sisters and may we triumph in our battle to save our earth home from destruction. Peter.
  • I fully stand with you in your struggles to protect your land and water from those that will desecrate it by fracking. I have watched intently what has been happening and the abuse many of you have suffered at the hands of the RCMP. I have shared your story with my extensive network of friends around the world and will continue to do so. It is brave people like you that are the last line of resistance protect Mother Earh from those that would do anything for a profit. You are not alone. Stand strong and in the knowledge that there are many thousands that stand with you! Steve.
  • Some of you are friends of mine. Some of you are people I have made my family for the last dozen or so years. I lived in New Brunswick, both in Moncton and in Fredericton, from July of 2000 until just this past June. I have passed on your message of peaceful protest, supported your cause, and have been to a few organized events in the last three years, and particularly this past weekend. Your message is beautiful, and an inspiration to me. I am undeniably white. I grew up privileged and ignorant of the issues of First Nations. My adult experiences with First Nations were the opposite of everything I was taught as a child. I have found friendship, understanding, support and community in your welcoming society. I have recently decided to go back to school and am studying US history in Seattle. The past few weeks, months and years have done little else but inspire me to, perhaps, take my studies further and focus on Aboriginal/First Nations history. You have my complete and utter support. I will devote my life to your message, and hope my advocacy and my offer of friendship can go a little in your long way toward promoting peace and a way to support life on this continent and in the world. I hope someday to come back to the East Coast and work directly with communities, to promote solidarity, community and education about First Nations, with First Nations and to move forward without racial borders. Your message is now my message and I offer you any support I can give. Keep up the good fight, for you are fighting for us all. Amanda.
  • Thank you for standing up for future generations and protecting our water……everywhere! Your stand has generated international news and the people of the globe will one day stand all together thanks to you!! Tami.
  • I just want to thank everyone that has been apart of this stand off. You are brave, proud and true to your lands. Our Canada is beautiful and full of natural wonder. There is no want for monetary greed destroying our earth, our country and our lands! Canada is priceless and cannot be bought! It is our home, your home. Thank you so very much for having the strength to make the world see that we the Canadian people will not back down. The first nations, aboriginals, Mi’kmaq or what you personally would like to be refereed too  as are warriors. Canada’s firs defense to keep our country pure. I can’t thank you enough. I really can’t. My heart bleeds for all of you and your ability to head this effort.  You are so fearless and I love you all for it. Jessica.
  • My thanks and praise to all of you who are courageously defending the land and water against the destructive profiteers and their government lackeys. Brian.
  • Thank you for fighting the good fight. My thoughts and prayers are with you, thank you for your perseverance and courage. Holly.
  • From Nogojiwanong ( Peterborough ontario ) we stand with you. The whole world is watching. You are not alone. When I was 5 years old, I was at OKA with my mother. My mother and I are with you in spirit. Standing beside you. We are all signing petitions, phoning our mp’s. If you have the time, please email me to let us know what we can do to help. Spreading awareness and information to the public on this situation. Divided no more, Idle No More. your sister in solidarity. Sally.
  • My heart goes out to all of you involved in this struggle as you fight for human and environmental rights. Sadly, your protest could be the first of many worldwide as you walk the path of righteousness: if the corporate powers, allied with the state, can continue to sully our water for profit then it is the beginning of the end for all notions of democracy in the west. You fight for the well-being of a future generation in a time when the well-being of the planet is compromised. You are the voice of humanity and reason, a beacon that shines light on an inhumane government that must be overhauled. I am young, i am 24 years old this week. I often wonder if i will ever have grandchildren, let alone children. When i think of these things, i get scared for  i believe they will only inherit disaster. We have less than 10 years for a concerted, pan-human effort at a U-turn in environmental and economic policies worldwide – if we plan on another 10. The powers you fight are not human – they are machines, corporate machines without a human face. They have no empathy, no compassion, no morals, and ultimately no sense. When they fight, they will come hard and swift as you have seen – once again, my sympathies for your trials. If they don’t prevail, they will come covertly and secretly through sabotage. Resistance will prevail in time, and know that the youth of the world are your allies whether they know it or not. The entire structure of enterprise in this new millennium is obsolete and incompatible with our modern threat. I digress, but point being there is a line in the sand – those who are for humanity, and those who are for private interests – there is no middle ground. Know this – the people of the world are coming round. They are angry and frustrated, but with that  they are also enlightened, inspired, and connected through technology and the internet. This is one of the most exciting times in history for the fact that a local struggle can draw international attention in seconds. Please remember this one thing: in the darkest moments of your struggle try and remember that you have an army of thousands by your side, perhaps not in body but in spirit. To quote Eisenhower, ‘the eyes of the world are upon you’, and let the record show that you have already thwarted a common threat. Blessings and peace to all of you and thank you for protecting our children. Lennox.
  • Hello! I’m from the other side of the atlantic but I do ressonate with your fight. I believe that you are the warriors that we all should be. I send you my solidarity and my best wishes that your struggle is short and effective. Joao, from Portugal, whith love.
  • I pray you receive a thousand drums and warriors to stand strong with you all!  I wish me and my husband could be there with you all.  We are unable to because he is in hospital.  Our Love and Prayers are with you all, and we are there with you in spirit.  May the eagles fly high and the thunder of prayers flow with you as the spirits of our ancestors hold you all as you stand your ground! Tracy.
  • Bless and thank you all.  You are protecting everyone, and I hope that you stay strong and stay safe.
    With love and solidarity from Toronto, Vivia.
  • I thank you for the hard work you are doing on behalf of my family.  Stay peaceful.  Stay strong. Our prayers are with you. Merci beaucoup. André
  • As a proud member of the Metis Nation, we support the Mi’kmaq and supporters in this difficult time, We too were attacted by a Conservative P M John A MacDonald in 1885, we have not forgotten, we will help in any way we can . Keep up the good work apposing Fracking and opposing the Dictator S Harper the self assumed P M of Kanata. Richard.
  • Thank you for protecting the water and the earth.  Sending my support.  Sending live love.  S.Irene
  • I stand in solidarity… Be strong, our convictions for protecting Mother Earth will be just… Brendan.
  • Tansi.. Brothers and Sisters..I am writing to you to express my thanks and admiration for you all and all you have done there ..In edmonton we have had 3 solidarity demonstrations in 3 days…one at RCMP sec K headquarters ..a 16 block friday rush hour busy streets downtown  traffic .march ending with prayers and a round dance at RCMP hq.. and another 16 block march around the police station, court ,federal buildings and the city square..a smudging and tobacco ceremony was held Today as well…I wanted you to know that for those 5-600 people that came out your safety and health are of great concern to us and your continued well-being is on our minds and in our hearts..thank you all again , stay safe.. be careful be brave and be assured you are not alone or forgotten for a moment…may the Cfreator continue to guide and bless you all….MASII CHO ,,,,,All My Relations. John.
  • My eternal gratitude to you for representing the interests of our earth and descendants. On thursday morning I was ashamed of my government more than ever, but the brave spirit of the elders and women and peaceful protesters give me hope. I greatly share your concerns, and values. More and more people are waking up, and they have you to thank. Because of your persistence in defending your own territory, Enough people got the real story to cause protest worldwide, in solidarity, and in protection of the earth. But still you must continue to defend your home, and to me that is a travesty.  Violations of rights, sacred and human, have beeen observed. There is more hope tomorrow than ever before. My sincerest thanks, for defending what really matters. Adam.,
  • you are not alone , keep up the protests (non violent) it is time for the environment to come first am spreading the word here. stay strong, stay safe . you have my support. bless you. Maggie.
  • I am currently lecturing in a course at McGill University in which environmental student groups research Fracking.  Your heroic work makes my explanation of the dangers and anti-democratic reality of this practice starkly clear.  We follow your inspiring efforts closely, thank you from your many thousands of supporters here in Quebec. Holly.
  • To the brave protesters and warriors at the sacred fire, I wish I could be there in person to look you in the eyes and thank you. I have not been able to come because of my duties as a mother, student and worker, but I am there with you in spirit. Thank you so much for your bravery and what you are doing to protect the water and to stand up against an oppressive colonial government. For what it is worth, as a white settler who hopes to be a decent ally, I am sorry for the  injustices, past and present, done to the indigenous peoples, and to the earth. I am doing my best to become educated about the true stories of Turtle Island. Not the foolishness I was taught in schools. Not the lies on tv. The true stories. I support, and am grateful for what you are doing, standing up for the water, and for your rights as a people, and for us settlers too. Emily.
  • I for one, support your endeavour to bring some sanity to this free-for-all for fracked ‘oil’, with no concern for the people who live in the area to be fracked or the people as yet unborn, that is going on all over the continent. And the message to drink bottled water when your own water is contaminated doesn’t fly, because what is everyone going to do when most of our aquifers are contaminated? Stay strong! Joanne.
  • I am disgusted by the actions of the province and the RCMP and fully support your peaceful protests. I cannot be there with you physically but I am with you in spirit. I will be following these events closely and will be pressuring political leaders to abandon their reckless pursuit of gas at any cost. Remember, the Ontario government recently spent one billion dollars to stop a natural gas plant in Oakville because rich, white citizens were against it. Anything is possible! Wendy.
  • Right now is the same situation in Romania. The government security forces and private contractors fight against the people who tried to protect their lives endangered by fracking activities (United States firm – Chevron). You are not alone. The struggle is in the same time all over the world. But the Sacred Fire is with her children and we will overcome THIS TERRIBLE SITUATION. Serban.
  • You are not alone in your struggle, here on west coast of BC we are with you…Stay strong, know that you are not alone…we all breathe the same air!  Feet on ground, head held high keep your eyes on the horizon. Susanna.
  • The news of this injustice is spreading. I will teach my students about it. Please don’t give up. Anthony.
  • Mi’kmaq Nation are standing in Solidarity to protect our land & water not jus for ourselves but for future generations to come. Please support our brothers & sisters who are on the front lines and having to deal with their bullying tactics!!! Charlotte.
  • In Solidarity with you from Texas. The greedy oil and gas companies will continue to pollute our water and land if we don’t stand strong. We’re all in this together! If Canada’s water gets polluted so does the USA’s. Thanks for standing strong at the Sacred Fire. Keep it burning! Tia.

Rabble: Everything you need to know about Elsipogtog

Everything you need to know about Elsipogtog

| October 23, 2013

A beautiful reworking of an iconic image from Elsipogtog, by Mi’kmaq artist Jayce Augustine. The original photo was taken by Oss

Though I will be writing on the events that took place on October 17, 2013 when the RCMP raided a peaceful blockade by members of the Elsipogtog Mi’kmaq First Nation, for now I just want to provide people with some already available and excellent resources on the subject. What I won’t be doing is linking to the plethora of unbelievably racist articles that are pouring out, branding the people of Elsipogtog as everything from terrorists, to puppets of environmental NGOs. These pieces already have mainstream attention, capture mainstream attitudes towards indigenous peoples, and are pretty successfully creating the official narrative.

If you want to delve deeper, or need resources with which to counter these portrayals, here you go!

If you have time for only one article, then you need to read this one, written by Martin Lukacs: “New Brunswick fracking protests are the frontline of a democratic fight.”

It does an excellent job of refocusing attention on the reason the blockade existed in the first place, and on the fact that the area in question has never been ceded to Canada, and thus is not owned by Canada. The people of Elsipogtog have been branded as law breakers, but the legality of Canadian actions in that area are completely undermined by this very central fact.

To keep us in that vein, here is an article from 2012 which discusses the fact that 67 per cent of people in New Brunswick support a moratorium on fracking. This is an intensely controversial practice and people throughout Canada and the US, native and non-native alike, stand in opposition to it. The people of Elsipogog are not on the fringe of an issue here, they are in the majority.

For a really good breakdown of the order in which things happened, Daniel Wilson provides us with, “Out of order: Indigenous protest and the rule of law“. He brings up some important issues about the public’s love affair with the ‘rule of law’ from such a distinctly one-sided perspective, which ignores the underlying illegitimacy of Canadian claims to the land in question and the unceasing violation of the ‘rule of law’ by the Crown.

This article: “Elsipogtog “Clashes” 400 years in the making”, by Dru Oja Jay, goes into good detail about some of the history of the area, and how high tensions have run between the Mi’kmaq and the Canadian government. State violence against the Mi’kmaq people has been an ongoing problem, and Elsipogtog is merely the latest in a line of such.

 flickr/flailingphantasm

Leanne Simpson, in her brilliant piece “Elsipogtog Everywhere” brings more context to the deeper issue of the land, and the way in which reconciliation cannot occur without a conversation about that land. If you need to know what deeper acts of resurgence are occurring outside of reactive blockades to deal with lack of consultation and the prioritising of corporate interests over the wishes of all people living in the area, then this article provides it. This is one of the most honest and hopeful pieces I have read on the subject, and it helped me deal with the flood of emotions I’ve been experiencing since watching this all go down on October 17th.

By the way? What the heck is fracking? Here is a video that provides a simple, clear description of the process of fracking, summarising the pros and cons: “CNN Explains: Fracking“.

Recently, a claim was made by He Who Shall Not Be Named (because the guy literally gets paid to troll, and every little mention puts more money in his bloated pocket) that the people of Elsipogtog are basically puppets of foreign environmental groups. The article “Fracking Indigenous Country” (under the donation appeal) is a very long, but detailed rebuttal of any such claims. If you were at all wondering about whether this could be true, this article does an amazing job of completely demolishing these fantasies.

Rex Murphy really put his foot in it as well. Here are two very good responses to his patronising, racist article: “Rex Murphy and the Frames of Settler Colonial War” by Corey Snelgrove, and “Dear Rex: Colonialism exists, and you’re it” by Nick Montgomery.

Jian Ghomeshi put out an audio essay on the incident, summarizing the different opinions and posing some of the important questions the public needs to be asking. He also helps you learn how to pronounce Elsipogtog!

There have been a lot of conspiracy theories going around about provocateurs and US military involvement and so on. Here is an incredibly detailed article by Gord Hill about the tactics and equipment used during the raid which should help dispel some of the most outlandish rumours without downplaying the level of violence initiated by the RCMP: “Overview of RCMP deployment against Mi’kmaq blockade, Oct 17, 2013.”

Another article by the same author questions the rumours about provocateurs setting fire to the RCMP vehicles: “Statement on Provocateurs, Informants, and the conflict in New Brunswick.” Snitch-jacketing, or labeling people as provocateurs or agents of the state is an incredibly divisive and dangerous practice and whether the rumours are spread by law enforcement or our own communities, we have to be careful.

While this next article is not about Elsipogtog, it is nonetheless a very important read. “An open letter to peaceful protestors” debunks a lot of the myths about way peaceful protest was used during the Civil Rights Movement, and clarifies the difference between peaceful, and legal. The need to be organised rather than simply reactive, is highlighted and explained. Every person wanting to be involved in any sort of protest, solidarity action or larger movement, needs to read this article and really think about what it is saying.

To wrap up, I want to thank the artists who have so quickly responded with their support of the movement.

âpihtawikosisân, Chelsea Vowel is a 34 year old Métis from the Plains Cree speaking community of Lac Ste. Anne, Alberta. She is the mother of two energetic girls and holds a BEd and an LLB from the University of Alberta. She moved to Montreal two and a half years ago, fell in love with Roller Derby and decided to stay permanently. Her passions are the Cree language, strapping on roller skates and smashing into other women, and attacking the shroud of ignorance surrounding indigenous issues in Canada. She blogs at apihtawikosisan.com

APTN: Solidarity with the Mi’kmaq people all over Canada

CLICK HERE FOR VIDEO: http://aptn.ca/pages/news/2013/10/21/solidarity-mikmaq-people-canada/

APTN National News
Demonstrations have been on going across the country in support of the anti – fracking protestors in New Brunswick.

From British Columbia to the east coast hundreds of Aboriginal and non – Aboriginal activists have been hitting the pavement to show they’re in solidarity with the Mi’kmaq people.

As APTN’s Shaneen Robinson reports, it looks like a resurgence of the Idle No More movement.

Rabble: Frackas in Elsipogtog

SOURCE: http://rabble.ca/blogs/bloggers/christophermajka/2013/10/frackas-elsipogtog

Christopher Majka, October 19, 2013

Since the violent confrontations between RCMP and protestors at Elsipogtog, New Brunswick on October 17, 2013, there has been an explosion of concern across Canada. Many solidarity rallies have been held across the country (including one in Halifax, Nova Scotia, that I attended on October 18, pictured in the photographs accompanying this article) and almost 23,000 people have already signed a petition calling on the RCMP to refrain from using violence against these peaceful protests by First Nations peoples and their supporters.

What’s at Issue?

First and foremost, fracking. This is a mining technique for extracting oil or natural gas from underground deposits. Typically clusters of holes are bored, first vertically then horizontally. Water mixed with chemical additives and sand is pumped at extremely high pressures into sections of these drill holes in order to hydraulically fracture (a.k.a., “frack”) the rock formations, thereby releasing hydrocarbons like methane (i.e., natural gas) or crude oil.

What’s the Problem?

There are two fundamental areas of concern.

1. Groundwater contamination

Elsipogtog Solidarity RallyAn enormous number (750+) chemicals have been used as additives in the slurry that is injected into boreholes. Typically 3-12 are used and they include, hydrochloric acid (for cleaning perforations), salt (to delay the breakdown of polymers), polyacrylamide (as a friction-reducer), ethylene glycol (to prevent scale deposits), borate salts (for maintaining fluid viscosity), sodium and potassium carbonates (to maintain crosslinks in polymers), glutaraldehyde (as a disinfectant), guar gum (to increase viscosity), citric acid (to reduce corrosion), and isopropanol (to increase fluid viscosity).

Although the fracking slurry is typically 90 per cent water, 9.5 per cent sand, and only 0.5 percent chemical additives, this soup of chemicals contains many substances of concern that one would not want in groundwater. Furthermore, when rock is hydraulically fractured — depending on its composition, depth, the bedding planes, and groundwater flows in the area — fractures and seams can open up that lead anywhere, and once opened, are virtually unstoppable.

Over time (this may take many months), these chemicals will work their way away to somewhere (Who knows where and with what consequences?), but what will not go away are the petroleum products (various oils and gases) released by the process of fracking — that, after all is the point. If channels through rock formations open up that lead to groundwater reservoirs, this hydrocarbon contamination can continue indefinitely. This is not only a problem in terms of drinking water from wells, springs, brooks, and rivers, but it also has the potential to affect aquatic ecosystems.

2. Methane leakage

Elsipogtog Solidarity RallyFracking releases gases, primarily methane, but also propane and contaminant gases such as hydrogen sulfide (which is very poisonous, corrosive, flammable, and explosive and needs to be flared-off to avoid dangers). Despite various technologies that are deployed, research done by investigators such as Cornell University environmental engineer, Anthony Ingraffea and his colleagues, has shown that some 10 per cent of fracked wells leak methane immediately (from defective cement seals and faulty steel linings), and some 20 per cent will eventually do so over time.  They not only leak at the wellhead, but can (and do) leak virtually anywhere in the surrounding area, coming up through fractured seams in the bedrock. Since methane is colourless and odorless, it may not be easy to detect.

Besides not wanting to breathe methane, this leakage is a serious concern because methane is a very powerful greenhouse gas. Its Global Warming Potential (GWP) is calculated (most recently by the IPCC 2013 report) to be some 86 times that of carbon dioxide based on a 20-year atmospheric residency. This means that methane, as a Greenhouse Gas (GWG) in the atmosphere, traps heat 86 times as efficiently as carbon dioxide over a 20 year time period. Given that concerns with respect to climate change are climbing to critical levels, we have to be very mindful of the environmental impacts of processes like fracking that will inevitably leak methane into the atmosphere, essentially indefinitely.

Add to this concerns about radioactivity associated with fracking (flowbacks from some fracked gas wells have been found to contain high levels of radium) and seismic activity (i.e., tremors) induced by hydraulic fracturing, and it is clear that there are well-founded environmental concerns related to this practice. This is why many communities view plans to undertake fracking with deep suspicion.

Can it be done safely?

Elsipogtog Solidarity RallyWell … maybe. There are an enormous number of different parameters having to do with the geology of the deposits, their depth, what hydrocarbons they contain, the hydrology of the region, how the fracking is being conducted, what chemicals are being used, the proximity to aquifers and settlements, how the well-casing are made, etc. There are some situations where potential risks are greater, others where they are less; some situations where potential benefits are greater, others where they are less.

What is essential is that a clear and detailed assessment of risks and benefits needs to be undertaken before any such project proceeds, and — critically — who will bear the potential risks and reap the benefits. Scenarios in which the risks are assumed by the environment (as a dumping-ground for the mistakes of humanity) and the communities of people who live in the area and depend upon the integrity of that environment, while the benefits are primarily accrued by distant corporations (that are solely concerned with shareholder profits and executive bonuses) should be assessed very critically.

The inescapable corollary is that the adjudication of such proposals is an environmental, social, and political matter. It should not under any circumstances be downloaded onto police authorities. To do so is an abuse of process. The hydrocarbons trapped in shales have been there for tens if not hundreds of millions of years. They will not go away. There is no need to rush an ethically corrupt process (see more below).

Should it be done?

 at left, Sherry Pictou, former Chief of the Bear River First NationAye, there’s the rub. While it’s unquestionably the case that natural gas (which is what is at issue in Elsipogtog) burns more cleanly and with fewer carbon-dioxide emissions that other hydrocarbons such as coal or oil, it is still a fossil fuel and burning it (or letting it escape) emits greenhouse gases (GHGs), which on a daily bassis are bringing our planet closer to what many climatologists fear may be runaway global warming, the consequences of which could end civilization as we know it, something I would think should be of non-insignificant concern … (See Loaded dice in the climate change casino, In the valley of the shadow of peak oil, Acid bath: Evil twin of climate change, and Pestilence, famine, and climate change: Horseman of the Apocalypse).

We simply have to stop burning fossil fuels. While methane is cleaner than coal or tar sands, it is still emits GHGs. If extracting more natural gas would displace the burning of dirtier fuels, a case could be made for their exploitation. However, this seldom if ever happens. More extraction of fossil fuels almost invariably result sin more consumption of fossil fuels — and the cheaper they are, the more wastefully they are squandered.

Moreover, the more we as a society invest in fossil fuel technologies and infrastructure [i.e., pipelines, LNG (liquefied natural gas) terminals, fracking pads, etc.] the more we economically commit to these investments, and the less we correspondingly have to invest in critical renewable energy resources (i.e., wind, water, wave, solar, tidal, geothermal, etc.). It is impossible to have it both ways; we don’t have infinite financial resources, and the world’s atmosphere and oceans are not infinite reservoirs into which we can indefinitely pour our wastes.  Climate change — an accumulation of the last several centuries of industrial society’s sins — is coming home to roost with virulent speed. We can’t continue to stick our head in the sands (tar or otherwise) — we simply have to stop burning fossil fuels.

Back to Elsipogtog

Elsipogtog Solidarity RallyHaving grown up in New Brunswick, this is an area I’m quite familiar with. The native community of Elsipogtog and the many surrounding Acadian towns of Rexton, Richibucto, Sainte-Anne de Kent, Saint-Louis de Kent, and many others, are located on the spectacular Gulf of St. Lawrence – Northumberland Strait coast of New Brunswick, a skipping stone’s throw away from Kouchibouguac National Park, itself a constellation of sand bars, barrier beaches, lagoons, and estuaries which is a scenic, natural, and wildlife gem of New Brunswick. The people of these communities are understandably attached to, and care for, the land, rivers, and ocean where they grew up, live, and make their livelihoods. They are understandably concerned by proposals by SWN Resources Canada (a subsidiary of a Houston, Texas based corporation) to frack for natural gas in their communities.

In the tense standoff at Elsipogtog, what we are seeing is how aboriginal communities are once again on the literal and figurative front line of resisting an exploitative model of resource development that disenfranchises the rights of people and is accelerating the destruction of the planet. It is native people — who have repeatedly been run over by the vehicles of corporate greed — who are standing up once again for the sake of their own communities, for the well being of all Canadians, and to preserve the sacred vitality and integrity of the environment that nourishes us all.

Elsipogtog Solidarity RallyThey are expressing well-founded environmental and political concerns and are asking pointed questions about the models of resource development and extraction, and the corporate myopia and greed that drives them. These abuses have brought us to the global environmental, social, and economic mess that we find ourselves in today. They are unfazed about asking spiritual questions about the sanctity of the earth and whether this is any way to treat her. As a society, we have to listen to these concerns — calmly and respectfully. There is no need to rush. It is inexcusable to send in the police, creating pointlessly tense situations that can readily escalate into conflict and violence. The New Brunswick government needs to reciprocate the invitation from native people to engage in an environmental, social, and political dialogue and not try to download the issues of this dispute onto police authorities.

An encouraging aspect of these current anti-fracking demonstrations and those of Idle No More (see No less than Idle No More) that I have attended, is the degree to which they have drawn people of every age, gender, and ethnicity, and how welcoming First Nations communities have been of the involvement of their fellow Canadians. Native people have been subject to centuries of genocide, persecution, or sometimes indifference, by the representatives of the European nations that came and colonized their land. They have more than ample reasons to feel hostile and suspicious — instead they are welcoming and generous.

In the past few years I’ve witnessed a sea-change, from a time when aboriginal people and their societies and concerns were seen as peripheral to ‘Canadian’ values and interests. Now I am witnessing a growing awareness and understanding that native people are at the forefront of what we need to do and embrace as a society. If we are to survive as a civilization, we need to understand that humanity is intimately and inextricably based on our relationship to the natural world. If we abuse it, we abuse ourselves. If we threaten its well being, we jeopardize our own future. If we ignore it, we hide from our own destiny. If we debase it, we harm our own sanctity. These are the lessons emerging from Elsipogtog and Idle No More. These are lessons that we urgently need to learn.

Christopher Majka is a biologist, environmentalist, policy analyst, and arts advocate. He conducts research on the ecology and biodiversity of beetles. He is a research associate of the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives-NS and a member of the Project Democracy team.

OC: Op-Ed: Heavy-handed response to the Elsipogtog blockade in New Brunswick

SOURCE: http://www.ottawacitizen.com/opinion/op-ed/Heavy+handed+response+Elsipogtog+blockade+Brunswick/9054564/story.html

Op-Ed: Heavy-handed response to the Elsipogtog blockade in New Brunswick

By Peter Raaymakers, Ottawa Citizen October 18, 2013
Op-Ed: Heavy-handed response to the Elsipogtog blockade in New Brunswick

Photograph by: Andrew Vaughan , THE CANADIAN PRESS

On Thursday morning, RCMP officers were deployed with rifles, non-lethal bullets, pepper spray, and dogs to enforce a court injunction and attempt to disperse a blockade of protesters on New Brunswick Route 134, about an hour north of Moncton. At least 40 people were arrested for continuing a protest against natural gas exploration in the area, which comprises traditional lands of the Mi’kmaq people.

Perhaps it can be seen as an extension of the Canadian “pioneer” spirit mentioned by Governor General David Johnston in the most recent speech from the throne. That spirit, according to the current government, pushed settlers to build “an independent country where none would have otherwise existed.”

Of course, Canada wasn’t depopulated when settlers arrived here from Europe. Our country’s wealth and prosperity has been built through the persistent and usually violent removal of First Nations from their traditional lands in order to make room for resource development — and, as we saw Thursday, that’s as true today as it was centuries ago.

As we watched the blockade, we also witnessed the violent response that often follows violent provocation. Although thankfully there were no serious injuries reported, five flaming police cars have a way of catching the attention of the general public. After RCMP officers converged on the blockade, Elsipogtog First Nation Chief Arren James Sock — who was allegedly “roughed up” in the process, according to at least one eyewitness — was among those arrested, and as matters escalated, police also began using non-lethal bullets, pepper spray, and physical confrontation in an attempt to break the blockade.

It seems that cooler heads have prevailed and the RCMP pulled back their offensive for the time being, but it’s unfortunate that the violence seems to be what’s generating headlines in the aftermath. It’s distracting many from the injustice of gas exploration and fracking around Richibucto and Canada’s relations with First Nations in general.

The Mi’kmaq people of New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, including the Elsipogtog First Nation, have never signed a treaty relinquishing authority to the land on which the Route 134 blockade stands today, or that on which SWN Resources is conducting exploratory testing. They signed a Peace and Friendship Treaty in 1761, which was re-affirmed in 1982 with Canada’s Constitution Act and then again in a 1999 Supreme Court of Canada decision, but that agreement included no mention of the surrender of any lands. Although the federal and New Brunswick governments are currently engaged in exploratory discussions to address issues of land ownership, rights, and sovereignty, there has been no agreement yet.

Given this reality, SWN Resources’ exploration permits aren’t legitimate. Nor was the court injunction criminalizing the blockade, and the police action was ridiculously illegitimate, not to mention unjust, unreasonable in its heavy-handedness, and terribly bad public relations for the RCMP.

In the above-mentioned Supreme Court case, the federal government was encouraged to negotiate with all First Nations in Canada in order to resolve the many outstanding issues and fulfil its treaty obligations. The negotiation process takes a lot of time, but that’s the point. It’s designed to be a meaningful engagement to avoid violent confrontation and find a mutually acceptable solution to these complex issues. If we hope to avoid more destructive events like that which took place on Thursday in New Brunswick, negotiation is the only way forward.

Negotiations are taking place with the provincial government, too. Premier David Alward and Chief Sock met as recently as last week to find a way to end the blockade, and they agreed to form a working group with representatives from the governments of the province and the Elsipogtog First Nation as well as the energy industry. Why the RCMP felt that it was appropriate to intervene in what was at the time a peaceful protest in the midst of active negotiations is unclear, but thankfully all sides have agreed to resume negotiation now that the police have stepped back.

Before gas exploration continues, those negotiations must reach a settlement. Continuing them while the industry conducts testing is disingenuous, putting the cart before the horse and assuming that the settlement will allow fracking without any indication that it’s an acceptable component. If New Brunswick was negotiating in good faith, SWN Resources would be required to stop looking for shale gas deposits — and if testing were halted, the blockade and the hugely excessive police response that followed it could have been avoided.

This year marks the 250th anniversary of the Royal Proclamation of 1763, which outlined the First Nations land rights. That proclamation was further guaranteed in 1982 within the Canadian Charter or Rights and Freedoms. With that in mind, it’s high time the federal government redoubles its efforts to resolve the many outlying issues that are causing conflicts such as that in New Brunswick.

Peter Raaymakers is an Ottawa resident who thinks 400 years should have been long enough to build peace between Canada and the indigenous people who live within its borders.

AMMSA: RCMP crackdown on Elsipogtog anti-fracking blockade spurs over 50 protests in support

SOURCE: http://www.ammsa.com/publications/windspeaker/rcmp-crackdown-elsipogtog-anti-fracking-blockade-spurs-over-50-protests-sup

Fracking protestor at Elsipogtog faced down by RCMP line
Author:
By David P. Ball Windspeaker Contributor Rexton, N.B.
Volume:  31
Issue: 8
Year: 2013

“Oh my gosh, they’re going to kill me before hearing me out,” Mi’kmaq anti-fracking blockader Amy Sock thought, as camouflage-clad tactical police with assault rifles and attack dogs chased her down.

“My spirit told me to just run,” she told Windspeaker. “I’ve never seen rifles like that; they were really big, Afghanistan-style guns. When I saw them, when I saw those outfits with the dogs, I knew, ‘This is it’ … I could have easily been shot. But my spirit is unharmed, it’s still strong.”

Sock, a member of Elsipogtog First Nation involved in a months-long fight against shale gas exploration by SWN Resources, arrived at the blockade on Oct. 17 after dropping her children off at school.

When she saw hundreds of riot police lined up across the road near the protest encampment – ostensibly to serve a court injunction in favour of the company – she approached waving a white towel in hopes of negotiating a solution.

Instead, she claims an officer punched her in the head so hard her glasses flew off, sparking an escalating confrontation that ended with 40 arrests, six torched police vehicles, and RCMP allegations they found bombs, rifles and bear spray in the camp. Media were barred from the site, and could not verify those claims, and some have speculated that several new faces that morning could have been police infiltrators.

The massive police raid – with estimates between 200 and 700 officers deployed with live ammunition and armoured troop carriers – sparked a flurry of at least 50 solidarity protests across Canada and even in some American and European cities. But police insisted they swept in because of alleged threats against private security contractors the night before.

“The weapons and explosives we seized show that this was no longer a peaceful protest and there was a serious threat to public safety,” RCMP assistant commissioner Roger Brown told reporters on Oct. 18. “Some in the crowd threw rocks and bottles at (police) and sprayed them with bear spray.

“Setting police cars on fire created a dangerous situation for everyone in the area, and it was at that point that police were forced to physically confront some in the crowd who refused to obey the law.”

Since early this summer, Sock has been part of a group of Mi’kmaq and non-Native protesters raising the alarm about SWN Resources. Residents fear seismic testing and search for shale gas will lead to polluted water through the controversial fracking process, in which high-pressure chemicals explode the earth deep underground.

Leaders of Elsipogtog First Nation have supported the blockade with band council resolutions, and have attempted unsuccessfully to negotiate with the province to prevent fracking on the traditional lands near their reserve.

“There’s no guarantee fracking will be safe,” Sock said. “To me, if there’s no guarantee it’ll be safe, we should not even bother.

“Water is a source of life, it travels far and wide. Without it, not even an insect will survive. They’ll pollute our water; no one has ever said that it won’t … It’s irreparable harm. We will not put up with that, if there’s any doubt that our water is in danger. We have to stand up.”

As reported by Windspeaker in July, the blockade has seen previous arrests as well as arson against SWN equipment. But Sock said the conflict came to a head on Oct. 17 when police raided the camp before dawn with pistols drawn, arresting several sleeping Mi’kmaq warriors at gunpoint. During that operation, police said at least one Molotov cocktail was thrown from the forest.

But supporters of the blockade say the police assault – photos show officers pointing live sniper rifles at unarmed protesters – was unprovoked and amounts to a violation of the Mi’kmaq peace treaty with the Crown.

Pam Palmater, head of Ryerson’s Centre for Indigenous Governance, said the confrontation reminded her of the 1990 standoff at Kanesatake, the so-called Oka Crisis: “overkill to the max.”

“You’re talking drums and feathers versus assault rifles, Tasers and pepper spray,” the Mi’kmaq academic told Windspeaker. “As soon as you send in RCMP or military, heavily armed, it stops being a peaceful protest.

“You can’t call sending in 200 RCMP with dogs and snipers, attacking protesters, anything other than hostile. They made a direct choice to violate the peace treaty.”

Palmater believes that it’s no coincidence that police only decided to enforce SWN’s injunction within days of the departure of UN Indigenous envoy James Anaya, and the Conservative government’s Throne Speech outlining its aggressive resource extraction priorities.
But with police withdrawing after a day of unrest, she declared the standoff and solidarity protests a “victory.”

“It showed that we as Indigenous peoples actually have the power to deal with this stuff – to stop what’s happening on our land,” she explained. “SWN and New Brunswick are now partnering together to get an injunction to prevent any future protests. That’s not conducive to a negotiated solution. It will fuel the fire.”

But although burning police cars and a televised Native standoff drew comparisons to Oka in 1990 or Ipperwash in 1995 – where unarmed protester Dudley George was killed by police – the author of Resource Rulers: Fortune & Folly on Canada’s Road to Resources – said that the parallel ends there.

“I don’t think this is another Oka or Ipperwash,” Bill Gallagher said. “Both of those had a burial ground connotation that went to the very heart of what Natives are prepared to go to the wall for and protest. Now the Native ability to stand up and push back has never been more strident and thought out, often with allies like eco-activists.”

However, in New Brunswick, an APTN reporter heard one police officer shout at blockaders, “Crown land belongs to government, not to f**king natives.” Those words echoed Ontario’s Ipperwash-era premier Mike Harris, who it was reported told his staff, “I want the f**king Indians out of the park,” immediately before George’s killing.
As Indigenous people and supporters stage solidarity rallies and several highway blockades across the country, however, the crisis in New Brunswick could still follow the path of Oka and “spin off and … replicate or draw adherents right across the country,” he said.

“The trouble with it happening the way it has is that Canadians have to get a crash course in why they have to be prepared to take a deep breath and cut First Nations some slack until they get all the facts,” he argued. “It’s incumbent for Canadians to get their heads around it and understand that all these events are interconnected with history.”

As the conflict unfolded on Oct. 17, Assembly of First Nations National Chief Shawn Atleo wrote a letter to New Brunswick Premier David Alward warning that “the actions of police this morning have been completely unacceptable and are an extreme use of state force and control over First Nation citizens and territories.”

Sock sees a direct parallel to the Oka Crisis. At age 20, she journeyed to Kanesatake to support the Mohawks in their fight against a golf course on their cemetery.

“At Oka, they wanted to protect Mother Earth, and at Elsipogtog, we want to protect Mother Earth,” she said. “The issue is the same.

“When you’re a First Nations person, you have a strong connection to Mother Earth … We’re very proud of that. To us, it doesn’t matter if they drag us around or throw us in jail. We have no other choice. We can’t trust the government and we can’t trust the RCMP to protect us. We have to do it ourselves.”

– See more at: http://www.ammsa.com/publications/windspeaker/rcmp-crackdown-elsipogtog-anti-fracking-blockade-spurs-over-50-protests-sup#sthash.Pv2PvUkF.dpuf

CBC: N.B. shale gas solidarity protests spread to other regions

N.B. shale gas solidarity protests spread to other regions

Events held in Montreal, Ottawa, Thunder Bay and elsewhere in support of New Brunswick demonstrators

CBC News Posted: Oct 18, 2013 3:45 PM ET Last Updated: Oct 18, 2013 10:16 PM ET

Demonstrators rally in Calgary to show support for members of the Elsipogtog First Nation, who have been protesting seismic testing in New Brunswick. (CBC)Demonstrators rally in Calgary to show support for members of the Elsipogtog First Nation, who have been protesting seismic testing in New Brunswick. (CBC)

READ MORE: http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/n-b-shale-gas-solidarity-protests-spread-to-other-regions-1.2125627

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.

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