80 days later, Regina camp calling for justice stands strong

Prescott Demas said he’s been at the camp, across from the Saskatchewan Legislature, since it was set up on Feb. 28. (CBC News/Alex Soloducha)

Government says camp is in violation of bylaws

Activists at a makeshift camp at Regina’s Wascana Park remain unwavering after 80 days.

The Justice for our Stolen Children Camp was set up in the wake of the not guilty verdicts in the cases of Colten Boushie and Tina Fontaine this winter.

Raymond Cormier was acquitted of the murder of 15-year-old Fontaine, a member of the Sagkeeng First Nation in Manitoba, in February. The verdict came less than two weeks after Saskatchewan farmer Gerald Stanley was acquitted of murder for the shooting death of Boushie, a 22-year-old Cree man.

The government of Saskatchewan said those at the camp are in violation of numerous restrictions and bylaws by camping overnight and having a fire. (CBC News/Tyler Pidlubny)

Organizers at the camp said they intended to draw attention to Indigenous youth who have been lost to protective services, the justice system and violence.

Prescott Demas said he’s been at the camp, across from the Saskatchewan Legislature, since it was set up on Feb. 28.

Demas said that in present-day Canada, Indigenous people live in a “hostile world” full of discrimination. He said it causes children to be ripped away from their families and harsher sentences in the justice system.

“People have to educate themselves to understand that these issues that we talk about here are real and we’re not just ‘crying’ like they think we’re always doing,” he said. “These issues have always been here … and Canada’s done so well at hiding it.”

The camp site was originally set up on Feb. 28, 2018. (CBC News/Tyler Pidlubny)

Demas said some politicians have come to the camp on their own time, but none have invited them to government offices for a formal meeting or visited on official business.

He said representatives from Wascana stopped by on the first day to hand them an eviction notice and have not been there since.

“It feels like everything else in how we’re ignored,” Demas said.

“I know when we came here we expected them to come out and at least address us or to see why we’re here or anything like that,” he said, gesturing to the Legislature. “I think after day 80 we’re still kind of waiting.”

The government of Saskatchewan said those at the camp are in violation of numerous restrictions and bylaws by camping overnight and having a fire. A permit is also required for activities and protests on the property.

The Justice for our Stolen Children Camp was set up in the wake of the not-guilty verdicts in the cases of Colten Boushie and Tina Fontaine this winter. (CBC News/Tyler Pidlubny)

“The Government of Saskatchewan has not received any specific request from this group to meet with an elected official,” a spokesperson for the provincial government said. “We understand that a meeting is in the works but do not believe that a firm date has been set yet.”

To date three events have been moved from that section of the park including the Light Up the Lake Fun Run, March for Life and Walk for Alzheimer’s.

Demas said people at the camp have gotten a positive response from the public. He said they’ve had almost 1,000 visitors from all the provinces in Canada and as far as Norway.

CBC News

[SOURCE]

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Labrador protesters detained in Ottawa while demonstrating against Muskrat Falls

Marjorie Flowers is placed in handcuffs after being arrested for obstruction. No charges have been laid as of Monday afternoon. (David Richard/Radio-Canada)

Marjorie Flowers, Jim Learning and Eldred Davis among those escorted away by police

Several people demonstrating against the Muskrat Falls project in Labrador were detained on Parliament Hill on Monday afternoon.

Protesters were carrying signs of children, saying they wanted to place them on the desks of Members of Parliament to show the faces of the people at risk of methylmercury poisoning when the Muskrat Falls reservoir is flooded.

At least three of the demonstrators taken into custody were elder members of the group that call themselves the Labrador Land Protectors, who had been arrested before while protesting at the site of the hydroelectric project.

Jim Learning, Marjorie Flowers and Eldred Davis were sent more than 1,500 kilometres from their homes in Labrador to Her Majesty’s Penitentiary in St. John’s last July.

Police say the protesters were given trespassing notices and released. They are banned from Parliament Hill for 90 days.

No charges have been laid as of late Monday afternoon.

‘I’m at my wits end’

On Monday, Flowers stood opposite a line of police officers, flanked by other protestors holding signs and photos.

“This is the only place left,” she said to the officers. “We’ve tried everything else. I’m at my wits end. I don’t know what else to do.”

With that, she took one step towards the police.

“You’re under arrest for obstruction,” the officer said before escorting her to a police car and placing her in handcuffs.

Marjorie Flowers comes stands in front of police moments before being arrested for obstruction. (David Richard/Radio-Canada)

In the following minutes, several protesters appeared to be escorted into police custody — with only Flowers seen in handcuffs.

The detentions came minutes after an exchange with Labrador MP Yvonne Jones in front of the Parliament Building.

Protestor and freelance journalist Ossie Michelin told Jones he believes she really cared about the people of Labrador, but said he was losing hope she would help them in their fight to have the soil removed.

“I can’t believe in this forever,” he said. “I can’t have promises made to me to save the lives of my friends and my culture and all of a sudden have it taken away. And then what are we supposed to do? We need your help.”

Jones replied by saying she will engage with the province’s Indigenous groups and supporting them in whatever happens next.

She said the recommendations from the committee have to be combed over by the provincial government in partnership with the Indigenous groups and keeping the protest groups in mind.

“I want to give you assurance we have listened to you today,” Jones told the demonstrators.

Differences of opinion on reservoir action
The protesters were trying to rally support for their concerns about methylmercury poisoning once the reservoir is flooded.

Studies that included Harvard University research have warned the methylmercury levels could be harmful to people who catch and eat fish in the area.

Weeks of passionate protests in 2016 — including hunger strikers who took to Parliament Hill — led to the establishment of an independent advisory committee to look at the threat of methylmercury poisoning.

The committee reported back last month, recommending the topsoil and vegetation be removed at a cost of $742 million.

Ultimately, it will be the provincial government’s decision on what to do next.

While the Inuit want to see the soil removed, the Innu Nation has called it a “risky experiment.”

CBC News 

[SOURCE]

B.C. Premier Predicts ‘Crisis’ from Anti-Pipeline Protests on Burnaby Mountain

B.C. Premier John Horgan speaks at a Burnaby Board of Trade breakfast event Wednesday morning.

Premier says it’s going to be a long, hot summer of protests on Burnaby Mountain

B.C. Premier John Horgan is predicting a “crisis” over protests against the expansion of Kinder Morgan’s Trans-Mountain pipeline in Burnaby .

According to Burnaby Now, Horgan told reporters Wednesday at a stop in Coquitlam, that the National Energy Board and the federal governments should be accountable for the escalating tensions around the Kinder Morgan’s pipeline expansion project, calling the resistance an “extraordinary circumstance,” and a crisis.

“It’s going to be a long, hot summer,” said Mr. Horgan, about the situation at an unrelated news conference.

Trans-Mountain pipeline operations have been targeted by protesters concerned about the prospect of a tripling of the amount of diluted bitumen from Alberta to Burnaby’s port for shipment overseas.

News1130.com reports, with Burnaby Mayor Derek Corrigan promising not to pay policing costs associated with the protests, Horgan was asked about whether that’s acceptable.

“The National Energy Board and the federal government have to have some accountability. I believe that British Columbia, on behalf of the province, is doing its due diligence through two court applications.”

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Burnaby is policed by the RCMP, which operates in agreement with the municipality.

“With respect to the expansion of the Trans Mountain pipeline, this is not a threat by me, this is self evident by the number of people that are collecting on Burnaby Mountain everyday to express their disappointment with the federal government’s decision to proceed.”

Horgan says the federal government is to blame as well as the NEB.

According to The Globe and Mail, in a statement, a spokesperson for the Trans Mountain project said the initiative is under federal jurisdiction and has approvals from the NEB and federal government. But Ali Hounsell also noted that the courts have ruled in Trans Mountain’s favour in 14 of 14 cases related to the project.

“We support peaceful, lawful demonstrations of views, and trust that the Premier of British Columbia does as well. There are many ways to express opinions in a safe and lawful manner,” Ms. Hounsell said.

 A court injunction bars activists from getting within five metres of Trans Mountain’s two terminal sites on Burnaby Mountain.

Dan Wallace, of the Kwakwaka’wakw First Nation on Quadra Island, is tackled and handcuffed by RCMP officers after attempting to talk to a young man that locked himself to a piece of heavy equipment being delivered to Kinder Morgan in Burnaby, B.C., on Monday March 19, 2018. (Darryl Dyck/CP)

RCMP have made more than 170 arrests since March 17.

Burnaby plans to go to the Supreme Court of Canada to appeal a lower-court ruling last week in which the Federal Court of Appeal dismissed a bid by Burnaby and the B.C. government to challenge a NEB decision that allows Kinder Morgan to bypass local laws during pipeline construction.

 There are various other legal decisions pending on the pipeline, including a review by the Federal Court of Appeal of the decision by Trudeau’s cabinet to approve the pipeline and a review by the B.C. Court of Appeal of the decision by the former provincial government to approve the pipeline.

Mr. Horgan has also already said his government will seek a legal ruling on whether his province can restrict increased amounts of oil from coming into B.C. while his government reviews oil-spill safety measures.

Burnaby won’t cover policing costs related to Trans Mountain protests

An RCMP officer reads a court order to Federal Green Party Leader Elizabeth May, right, and NDP MP Kennedy Stewart, second from right, before they were arrested after joining protesters outside Kinder Morgan’s facility in Burnaby, B.C., on March 23, 2018.

The City of Burnaby, where protests and arrests have been taking place over work under way to expand the Trans Mountain pipeline, has ruled out paying policing costs related to managing the activism, says its mayor.

Like many B.C. communities, Burnaby is policed by the RCMP, and is normally on the hook for expenses, but Mayor Derek Corrigan – a vocal critic of the pipeline project – says he is drawing the line at overtime and other RCMP costs related to Trans Mountain as a project the city opposes.

“We’re not paying for the additional policing costs that are being accumulated as a result of the protests at the Trans Mountain project,” Mr. Corrigan said in an interview. “I don’t think there is anybody in the Western world who doesn’t know now that Burnaby is not paying.”

He casts the position as a reflection of Burnaby’s opposition to the project as well as the view that the Trudeau government, which approved the project, should be picking up the costs to deal with protests against it.

This isn’t the first time the issue has come up. The B.C. government says there is an outstanding $800,000 bill for policing 2014 protests related to the project that “remains in dispute,” according to a statement from the provincial Ministry of Public Safety and the Solicitor-General.

“The province is aware of Burnaby’s views on paying for these policing matters and we confirm there is an outstanding non-payment with respect to 2014,” said the provincial statement issued by Colin Hynes for the Ministry of Public Safety.

In their statement, the provincial public safety and Solicitor-General’s ministry said the Police Act in B.C. compels municipalities with populations over 15,000 to pay for the cost of policing within their boundaries. “This includes the cost of policing matters related to civil disobedience.”

However, the ministry said the dispute will not affect policing. “It is important to note that regardless of any disagreement over funding, policing services will continue uninterrupted and will be unaffected by any funding disagreement.”

Ironically, British Columbia’s NDP government has been sharply opposed to the expansion of the pipeline – a policy that has pitted them against the NDP government in Alberta, which is a proponent for the project.

Mr. Corrigan’s stand comes amidst increasing protests over the project. According to the Burnaby RCMP, 54 demonstrators against the project were arrested on Saturday for breaching a court-ordered injunction that prohibits protesters from coming within five metres of a pair of terminals in Burnaby operated by project proponent Kinder Morgan. Last Friday, federal Green Party Leader Elizabeth May and NDP MP Kennedy Stewart were arrested in protests.

The Trans Mountain expansion project, which has been approved by the federal government, will triple the capacity of the pipeline to about 900,000 barrels from 300,000. In recent weeks, one protest drew more than 5,000 people – and a police presence to manage the gathering.

Ali Hounsell, a spokesperson for the Trans Mountain project, said in a statement issued Sunday that “Trans Mountain’s view is that policing is a local government cost. “

Mr. Corrigan said the Mounties have told him they may take the matter to dispute resolution. While he said he has no details on that process, an RCMP spokesperson in B.C. pointed out there are provisions for working through disputes in the service agreement on municipal policing in B.C.

The mayor also said he is skeptical about RCMP assurances that dealing with the protests won’t distract from routine policing needs in Burnaby.

“They’re telling me, no, they are not diminishing any of the resources that are available to the community. But I can’t help but think this takes a toll in being able to deal with these issues,” Mr. Corrigan said. “While I am being assured that it is now, I am suspicious that it is.”

In a series of e-mail responses to Globe and Mail questions on the issue, a spokesperson for the RCMP E-Division covering B.C. said the force is dealing with protests now and looking to eventually deal with costs.

“The RCMP goal for any demonstrations is to ensure that they take place in a peaceful, lawful and safe manner. We will deploy the resources necessary to accomplish this,” Sergeant Janelle Shoihet said in an e-mail.

Sgt. Shoihet said the Burnaby RCMP don’t have contingency funds for their responsibilities but, rather, respond to calls for service and rolls salaries, expenses and other costs into an annual policing budget for the detachment.

“As you can imagine, it’s difficult to predict how many calls for service we’ll get in relation to one specific event or a series of events and therefore difficult to predict how many resources we’ll need to respond.”

Mr. Corrigan said the protests against Trans Mountain are going to get worse.

“This is the overture to what ‘s going to happen later on. I anticipate there will only be an escalation of the protests over the next months. This problem is only going to become progressively worse.”

The Globe and Mail 

[SOURCE]

Indigenous protesters again block entrance to Pinery Provincial Park

Maynard T. George is leader of the Indigenous family group claiming ownership of Pinery Provincial Park. (Submitted by Colin Graf)

Protester Maynard George says the action is connected to a First Nations claim to the land

Indigenous protesters are again blocking the entrance to the Pinery Provincial Park, an action they say stems from a longstanding dispute over First Nations claims to the park on the shores of Lake Huron.

Maynard George of Kettle and Stony Point First Nation told CBC news that he and about four other protesters have pulled into the park’s front entrance in a trailer, preventing visitors from entering the park.

He said Pinery staff told people using the park to leave. As of Monday evening, about 10 trailers have already left, said George.

“We’ve moved in, we’ve taken up our residency here,” said George. “And we’ve shut down the park permanently. We’re in a position where we have to do something to resolve the claim.”

​George was involved in a similar action that ended in November with the park re-opening.

He said the protesters’ claim to the land stretches back to the War of 1812.

The park’s superintendent would not comment on the situation.

Indigenous protesters say they are again blocking the entrance to the Pinery Provincial Park. (Submitted by Colin Graf)

No court action

George’s lawyer Wanda Corston said for now, there are no plans to file any official court claim. She said the OPP have spoken to George about the protest.

“They’ve decided to take over the park with regard to some claims they have,” said Corston. She said for now, there has been no action to file a claim in any court.

“There’s no legal position at this point in time, we just hope the claims can be settled in an amicable way,” she said.

Ministry response

George said police were present in the park on Monday, but that they are only there to maintain order. He said there have been no arrests or confrontations.

In a statement to CBC News, a spokersperson for the Ministry of Natural Resources said, “Ontario Parks is working toward a resolution to this situation – we are engaging with the individuals, their counsel and police to better understand their claims.”

George said he intends to stay at the park. It’s unclear for how long.

CBC News Posted: Mar 19, 2018

[SOURCE]

Judge grants Trans Mountain injunction preventing blockades at terminals in Burnaby

(Source: Camp cloud at km surveillance post/Facebook)

A Supreme Court Justice has granted Trans Mountain an interim injunction aimed at preventing anti-pipeline activists from using blockades at two terminals in Burnaby, B.C.

The energy giant filed an injunction on Friday a day ahead of a public demonstration to protest its controversial Kinder Morgan pipeline project.

The Globe and Mail reports the company listed 15 individuals, along with John Doe, Jane Doe and “persons unnamed” in a notice of civil claim as part of its request to restrict protesters from coming within 50 metres of the facilities.

Justice Kenneth Affleck agreed with that condition and said the injunction will last until Wednesday, when a hearing on the matter will continue.

According to Metro News, the injunction is not meant to affect protest on public lands, but will apply to blockades of lands owned by Trans Mountain.

Protesters have repeatedly blocked access to the Westridge Marine Terminal in Burnaby to prevent workers from getting in and out of the site.

Protesters of the Kinder Morgan pipeline expansion project block access to workers at the Westridge Marine Terminal in Burnaby. (Cory Correia/CBC News)

A Kinder Morgan spokesperson said “Trans Mountain supports the right to peaceful and lawful expressions of opinions and understand not everyone agrees with the project.”

Since Trudeau’s approval, there has been opposition in British Columbia, where the pipeline is fiercely opposed by First Nations and environmentalists worried about oil spills.

Indigenous activists will be marching on Saturday alongside environmental groups, local residents and other supporters in Burnaby, against plans to expand the Trans Mountain pipeline.

The expansion would increase the pipeline’s capacity from 300,000 to 890,000 barrels of oil a day.

The City of Burnaby and the City of Vancouver have opposed the project.

BIV reports, the 15 protestors named in the injunction, and their aliases, are: David Mivasair, Bina Salimath, Mia Nissen, Corey Skinner (aka Cory Skinner), Uni Urchin (aka Jean Escueta), Arthur Brociner (aka Artur Brociner), Kari Perrin, Yvon Raoul, Earle Peach, Sandra Ang, Reuben Garbanzo (aka Robert Abbess) Gordon Cornwall, Thomas Chan, Laurel Dykstra and Rudi Leibik (aka Ruth Leibik).

The injunction will not stop the protest from going ahead.

The rally and march begins Saturday at 10:45 a.m. at the Lake City Way SkyTrain station in Burnaby.

Trans Mountain pipeline protest in Coquitlam, B.C. sees 2 arrested

A protester holds a feather while standing on a piece of contruction equipment Thursday. Police arrested two people at the demonstration. (Shane MacKichan)

Police say 22-year-old woman, 23-year-old man arrested

Two people have been arrested following a protest against the Trans Mountain pipeline in Coquitlam, B.C.

RCMP say nine people were peacefully protesting Thursday but police were called in when the protesters began blocking equipment and highway traffic.

Protesters said in an email that they “physically intervened” and forced construction to a halt on the Trans Mountain pipeline.

RCMP say in a news release that a 22-year-old woman, who locked herself to a piece of machinery, and a 23-year-old man were arrested.

The man was later released without charge and police are recommending a charge of mischief against the woman, who they say is an Ontario resident.

Police say the protest was not violent and no one was injured.

A protester is led away by a police officer Thursday from a demonstration against Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain pipeline (Shane MacKichan)

The Canadian Press

[SOURCE]

First Nations Launching Call for Mass Demonstration to Protest Trans Mountain

A sign protesting the path of the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline expansion hangs outside a trailer in Burnaby, B.C., on Jan. 10.

First Nations communities and their supporters are planning to ratchet up on-the-ground resistance to Kinder Morgan Inc.’s planned expansion of the Trans Mountain pipeline with a call for a mass demonstration on Burnaby Mountain in March.

Members of the Tsleil-Waututh First Nation – which is challenging the federal approval in court – is launching a campaign of volunteer recruitment and training Tuesday through a network of allied Indigenous communities and environmental groups.

“The spiritual leaders are calling for a mass mobilization,” Rueben George, project manager for the Sacred Trust, which was established by the Tsleil-Waututh to oppose the $7.4-billion pipeline project.

“We want to rally support and bring out the facts of the destruction [the project] will cause and who really benefits.”

The planned action could escalate into confrontation as opponents of the project are determined to stop construction, said Chief Bob Chamberlain, vice-president of the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs.

“I can see [protesters] doing whatever it takes” to stop the project, he said. “This is going to escalate to a place that the government doesn’t anticipate. We hope for peaceful, non-violent action but people are going to rise up to the challenge.”

Opponents of the pipeline expansion demonstrated on Burnaby Mountain three years ago, and more than 100 people were arrested for refusing police orders to disperse. Smaller protests have sprung up in recent months around Kinder Morgan’s Burnaby terminal, as the company continues to obtain permits from the B.C. government for preconstruction activity.

On Tuesday, the Tsleil Waututh will put out a call to allied nations and supporters of environmental organization, with organizers saying their network will reach some 200,000 Canadians.

The planned pipeline expansion has sparked an interprovincial battle between the British Columbia government, which opposes the project, and Alberta, which argues its oil industry desperately needs access to Pacific Rim markets in order to receive world prices for its crude.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was in Nanaimo, B.C., last week defending his government’s decision to approve the project that he insists is in the national interest, while pledging to protect the coast from risks of a spill because of increased tanker traffic.

At an energy conference in Ottawa, several industry speakers said the Trans Mountain project is a key marker for the Liberal government, arguing that Ottawa’s response in the face of opposition will determine whether Canada can complete controversial resource projects.

Mr. Trudeau should not leave Alberta to lead the defence of the project that Ottawa has declared to be in the national interest, said Martha Hall Findlay, president of Calgary-based Canada West Foundation. Instead, Ottawa must send a strong message that neither protesters nor the B.C. government will be allowed to derail the expansion, she told the Energy Council of Canada meeting.

At the town hall session in Nanaimo last week, the Prime Minister was jeered when he defended the government’s decision.

“It is in the national interest to move forward with the Kinder Morgan pipeline and we will be moving forward with the Kinder Morgan pipeline,” Mr. Trudeau told a rowdy crowd.

“We will also protect the B.C. coast,” he said. However, he added that the Liberal’s vaunted $1.5-billion ocean-protection plan was contingent on the pipeline proceeding, a statement viewed as a threat by pipeline opponents.

Chief Chamberlain complained that the Prime Minister is “holding the ocean-protection plan hostage” to the pipeline project.

The government is failing in its pledge of reconciliation by approving the Trans Mountain expansion project over the objections of several local First Nation communities, he said. The government has committed to respecting the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, which includes the principle that First Nations people be afforded the right to free, prior and informed consent over projects that impact their traditional territory.

Natural Resources Minister Jim Carr has said the UN principle provides for fuller consultation and partnership over decision-making, but does not provide any one Indigenous community with a veto over a project that is in the national interest.

The Globe and Mail

[SOURCE]

Emergency measures, Military support: Documents reveal heightened concern about Muskrat Falls security

The last of seven transformers for the Muskrat Falls hydroelectric project rolls through at the gate in late August 2017. (Jacob Barker/CBC)

Military provided lodging, meals as police mobilized in the face of more Muskrat Falls-related protests

The Canadian military quietly assisted during a large deployment of police officers to Labrador in 2017 amid fears of more protests about the controversial Muskrat Falls hydroelectric project.

Documents obtained by CBC News through an access to information request reveal that the Canadian Armed Forces provided lodging and food at 5 Wing Goose Bay, but stopped well short of giving operational support during a politically sensitive period when officials feared protests may get out of control.

Declaring an emergency

The documents also highlight the extreme level of concern about the movement of massive transformers overland from Cartwright to Happy Valley-Goose Bay, months after protests that disrupted the construction site in central Labrador.

This aerial photo shows one of the Muskrat Falls transformers being transported across Labrador in summer 2017. (Nalcor)

In one letter, Newfoundland and Labrador’s Justice and Public Safety Minister, Andrew Parsons, invokes emergency measures and directs the RCMP to deploy officers “to the extent necessary” to maintain law and order.

“I recognized that it may be necessary to invoke article 9.2 and to seek additional resources by drawing RCMP personnel from neighbouring provinces,” Parsons wrote in a June 19, 2017 letter to the RCMP.

The RCMP responded by deploying dozens of officers — ranging from a low of 80 to a high of 135 — and resources from throughout Atlantic Canada to Labrador between June and September, a mission called Project Beltway that cost the provincial government an estimated $10 million.

A smooth shipment, ahead of schedule

The expected protests, however, never materialized and the transformers were delivered ahead of schedule over the roughly 400 kilometres of road from Cartwright to Happy Valley-Goose Bay without any serious incident.

The seventh and final transformer rolled through the gates at Muskrat Falls on Aug. 25, with a small group of protesters looking on.

There were small protests as seven large transformers destinated for Muskrat Falls were shipped across Labrador from Cartwright last summer, but police say the operation was uneventful. (Jacob Barker/CBC)

So was all the security — and cost — necessary?

Absolutely, said assistant commissioner Peter Clark, commanding officer of the RCMP in Newfoundland and Labrador.

“It was a relatively uneventful event. Was that because there were police officers there with the detailed plan and strategy? Or would it have been uneventful anyhow? I believe based on what I know the presence of those police officers and the work they did made the difference in this case,” Clark told CBC News.

But why was it necessary to call in the military?

Clark said there’s limited accommodations in the region, and it made perfect sense to request help from another federal agency.

“We didn’t want to find ourselves putting an unreasonable pressure on existing infrastructure and we wanted to make sure that our people were given healthy and safe accommodation,” Clark explained.

“And the way to do that was to simply reach out to our Canadian Forces partners.”

The military agreed to help, but with strict limitations on its role.

In a letter to the justice minister, the then commander of Joint Task Force Atlantic said the military would not assist in any activities of an “operational nature.”

“This includes any manner of forcible control of the civilian population by CAF personnel, use of CAF facilities or equipment to detain any individual placed under arrest, and providing transportation to and from operational policing activities,” Rear Admiral John Newton wrote in a May 31, 2017 letter to Parsons.

David Nuke leads protesters out of the Muskrat Falls site in October 2016 following a four-day occupation of a section of the accommodations complex. (Jacob Barker/CBC)

In other words, a behind-the-scenes role, ensuring clashes between soldiers and Indigenous protesters, like the ones that made international headlines during the Oka crisis in Quebec in 1990 were not repeated.

A spokesperson for the Canadian Forces said it’s not uncommon for the military to lend assistance to provincial and federal agencies, and cited examples such as the Olympics, meetings of world leaders and even during international drug busts.

Protests turned ugly in 2016

The threat level was high because of persistent protests at the Muskrat Falls site in the fall of 2016 that resulted in costly and significant interruptions to construction, court injunctions, arrests and even hunger strikes.

Children cling to the fence outside the main gate of the Muskrat Falls work site during October 2016 protests at the Labrador construction site. (Jacob Barker/CBC)

The protests were staged by both Indigenous and non-Indigenous groups and individuals opposed to the project, and forced the RCMP to scramble officers to Labrador in large numbers.

With that as a backdrop, the RCMP and Parsons reached out to the military for assistance, and those concerns reached all the way to Ottawa.

“There is reason to believe that between June and September of 2017 protest activities will resume,” Parsons wrote in a May 31, 2017 letter to Ralph Goodale, the federal minister of Public Safety.

Parsons was not available for an interview.

By Terry Roberts, CBC News Posted: Feb 01, 2018

[SOURCE]

Reader Submission 

Talks on with Indigenous Demonstrators to Reopen Pinery Provincial Park

pinery-closure

The Ministry of Natural Resources wants a trailer at the park entrance moved

Ontario’s Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry says talks continue in an effort to resolve an issue that led to the closure of a provincial park nearly two weeks ago.

Pinery Provincial Park in southwestern Ontario was closed to the public on Nov. 9 after demonstrators set up a trailer by the front gate in support of what police said was a land claim.

Ministry spokeswoman Emily Kirk says the trailer has been moved so that it now blocks the park entrance.

Kirk says the ministry and Ontario Provincial Police are involved in discussions with the individuals involved.

The park near Grand Bend, Ont., boasts about 10 kilometres of sand beach along Lake Huron and 21 square kilometres of forests and rolling dunes.

It has been the site of land claim protests in the past.

An Indigenous family led by demonstrator Maynard T. George has made several attempts to “repossess” Pinery Provincial Park in past years, saying the land belongs to approximately 100 of his great-grandfather’s descendants.

In 2004, then Ontario attorney general Michael Bryant told the legislature that George’s claim was “an individual grievance” and not a land claim.

Bryant noted that the First Nations in the area — Kettle and Stony Point First Nation — had said that they didn’t endorse the grievance and that they have no land claim at Pinery.

Pinery Park is located near the former Ipperwash Provincial Park is where a land claim demonstration turned deadly in 1995 when a police sniper killed Dudley George — no relation to Maynard George.

The Chippewas of Kettle and Stony Point First Nation approved the deal with the federal government in 2015 to settle that claim.

The Canadian Press

[SOURCE]