Premier calls on N.S. Fishermen to end Blockade of Pipeline Survey Vessel

HALIFAX — Nova Scotia’s premier says he’s hoping fishermen end a blockade of survey boats hired to examine a route for an undersea effluent pipeline, but he has no plans to extend the company’s deadline.

Stephen McNeil said Thursday he’d advise fishermen to let the seismic research in the Northumberland Strait take place because it’s a lawful activity.

“My hope is that people will allow people to do their jobs. What they (the company) is doing is seismic work …. Then the ongoing public consultation will have to take place as to what will be or wouldn’t be,” the premier said after a cabinet meeting.

However, he also said it’s up the Northern Pulp mill near Pictou, N.S., to decide whether to call in the RCMP to end the blockade.

McNeil said opponents should recognize an environmental review would allow for public debate over a proposed pipeline that would end the use of a waste-water plant located at Boat Harbour.

Still, as fishermen continued a blockade of the harbour mouth they started earlier this week, the timeline for completing the pipeline before a provincially legislated deadline looked increasingly tight.

The province has a requirement of January 2020 for Northern Pulp to stop sending its waste to the First Nation territory.

The normal period of time for an environmental review is close to two months, and work on a potential pipeline would need to begin during construction seasons in 2019 to be complete by early the following year.

The Liberal government has vowed that after half a century of toxic waste — with 70 million litres of treated waste daily still flowing lagoons on the edge of the Pictou Landing First Nation reserve — Northern Pulp must find an alternative.

As the weeks slip by, McNeil said it’s up to the company and the community to figure out a way forward.

“The timeline is tight there’s no question. … It’s up to the company. The company knew the deadline. The community knows the deadline,” said the premier.

“We’ll continue to go out and work with the community, communicate back to the community about public hearings … There are three elected public officials in that area, they can tell me where they stand on the issue … I’ve heard from none of them about it.”

Tory leader Tim Houston, who is one of the three members of the legislature for the area, said that wasn’t true.

The new Progressive Conservative leader said McNeil has forgotten he sent his office a letter calling for a more intensive level of environmental review than has been approved.

Houston said he wants a level 2 environmental review, as has occurred in the planned cleanup of the Boat Harbour lagoon, rather than the level 1 set for the effluent pipeline.

In a class 1 review, the proponent does a large portion of the work to determine the potential impacts of the project. After it is filed with the province, the province will review the application, give the public 30 days to voice any opinion on the project and then make a decision on whether it is approved, conditionally approved or denied.

A class 2 involves a 275-day timeline that requires a full public hearing and involves a panel of external environmental experts.

Houston said as it stands, the community has lost confidence in the process, and this is why fishermen are blocking the harbour.

“The blockade is a byproduct of the government’s failure to say it’s going to properly scrutinize the project. Fishers are worried,” he said.

The group of Northumberland Strait fishermen have said they will block any survey boats from entering the strait by placing their own vessels in its path.

Fisherman Mike Noel, one of the spokesmen for the group, said there were no boats blocking the harbour on Thursday due to rough weather, but they can respond quickly if a survey vessel tries to use the port.

Noel said there are no plans to change course based on the premier’s comments, as the strait’s ecosystem is at stake.

“He (Stephen McNeil) hasn’t had any conversation with us, so no, we have no thoughts to stop anyway until we have some conversation with the government anyway,” he said.

A spokesperson for Paper Excellence Canada, the Richmond, B.C., company which owns the pulp mill, has said the survey data would be of interest to various parties, and that it will work with authorities to ensure the safety of all involved.

The company has stated publicly a number of times that there are no other viable options than an undersea pipeline for large mills like the one it operates, and said it believes the treated effluent would not damage the fisheries in the strait.

Paper Excellence has also said the mill and its 300 employees will be out of work unless it can build a pipeline to the strait.

By Michael Tutton, The Canadian Press

[SOURCE]

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Barricades Taken Down Outside Caledonia, Ending Occupation

Land defenders blockade outside Caledonia ends

Barricades erected by Six Nations people near Caledonia have been dismantled, marking an end to an occupation that lasted for nearly a month.

An OPP spokesperson confirmed on Tuesday that officers intercepted the development on Monday. A “verbal interaction” occurred between land defenders and OPP officers and they were subsequently instructed to leave, said Rod Leclair. Officials are on-site clearing leftover debris, he added.

The issue is linked to a contentious move by the Six Nations Elected Band Council to place a parcel of land into a federal corporation, ostensibly defaulting on a promise entered into by Ontario and the Haudenosaunee Confederacy in 2006 to stem the Caledonia Standoff, a protest that grew to a fever pitch after Indigenous people occupied a subdivision called the Douglas Creek Estates.

The unelected, hereditary council want the Burtch lands, located near Brantford, to be independent from the Canadian government, citing expropriation concerns. It validates its position through a letter signed by former Ontario premier David Peterson which says the land will return to its original state and status under the Haldimand Proclamation, an official order of 1784 that gave land to the Haudenosaunee people for their military allegiance to the British during the American Revolutionary War.

The blockade was initially located on Argyle St., a thoroughfare outside Caledonia. On Monday, the barricade was transplanted to Highway 6 and Sixth Line Rd., where it was later shut down, said Caledonia councillor Craig Grice.

“As of right now, Argyle St. is clear, Sixth Line is clear,” he said. “We’re just waiting for the reopening of the bypass. It was a small group of protestors that didn’t have the support inside Six Nations and I think that was proved last night.”

The OPP is investigating a fire that was set on Saturday on railroad tracks near the site of the botched occupation. No demonstrators were seen on Monday afternoon in the area, said Leclair, and no arrests have been made.

Grice said he is relieved, that the hope is to move on.

Torstar News Service

[SOURCE]

 

 

Six Nations Activists Move Blockade to Highway 6 and Sixth Line in Caledonia

Members of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy protest along a street in Caledonia August 10. (David Ritchie/CBC)

Protesters move: ‘in an effort to apply pressure on Canada to return to the negotiation table’

On Monday afternoon Six Nations protesters moved their demonstration and blockade from Argyle Street South in Caledonia to Highway 6 and Sixth Line in Caledonia.

At approximately 1:30 p.m. Monday afternoon, OPP responded to reports that a group of individuals were blocking Highway 6.

Police say in the interest of public safety, OPP have closed Highway 6 between Argyle Street North and Greens Road, and Sixth Line between Argyle Street South and Oneida Road.

Detour traffic routes are being put in place for Highway 6 traffic

On Monday afternoon, Kanonhstaton Six Nations released a statement about the relocation.

“We the people of Kanonhstaton have successfully removed the barricade on Argyle Street in an effort to unify the people of Six Nations and relieve pressure on our people and the residents of Caledonia.”

“We have also erected a barricade on Highway 6 bypass in an effort to apply pressure on Canada to return to the negotiation table in accordance with the silver covenant chain and two row wampum. We will continue to occupy the road and call on all of our brothers and sisters for support.”

Members of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy blocked Argyle Street in Caledonia Aug 10.

OPP monitor the blockade on Argyle street around the clock. They say they are preserving the peace. (Laura Clementson/CBC)

The protestors are dissatisfied with actions taken by the province to turn over former Burtch Correctional Facility land to the Six Nations band council rather than the Haudenosaunee Confederacy, the traditional government, activist Doreen Silversmith said in an earlier CBC interview.

The Six Nations group has listed several demands, most aimed at the Ontario government, but one directed at the Six Nations elected band council.

“With that action, Ontario has committed fraud, lied to us, to our people. Ontario is going to be 100 per cent responsible for any actions resulting from their lies,” Silversmith said.

“Ontario’s actions bring much dishonour to the Crown and it’s in violation of the Two Row Wampum, the Silver Covenant Chain, and the William Claus Wampum.”

According to police, Argyle Street South is now open to traffic.

CBC News

First Nations Activists from Winnipeg to Blockade TransCanada Highway on Friday

Blockade at Ontario and Manitoba border. Photo: Red Power Media

Red Power Media | June 29, 2017

For immediate release

On, June 30th, 2017, First Nations activists from Winnipeg will be shutting down a portion of the TransCanada Highway to protest the Canadian government and bring awareness to the youth suicide crisis in First Nations communities as well to the deaths of several indigenous youth in Thunder Bay, Ontario. Members of the American Indian Movement, Urban Warrior Alliance and Idle No More will be taking part in a pipe ceremony for youth, followed by a blockade of the highway.

Representatives from groups taking part are demanding the Liberal government increase the availability of mental health services on reserves and provide culturally appropriate resources for youth including in Manitoba. Inadequate health-care services, the loss of cultural identity and lack of proper housing are key factors contributing to the high rates of suicide and mental illness among indigenous peoples. Recently in Ontario, three 12 year old girls died by suicide at Wapekeka First Nation, located about 600 kilometres north of Thunder Bay. The latest one happened June 13th when a pre-teen girl hung herself.

The deaths of several Indigenous youth in Thunder Bay have also raised concerns about racism against Indigenous people and inadequate police investigations. First Nations leaders have expressed their lack of faith in Thunder Bay police. The York Regional Police service have been requested to investigate the deaths of Josiah Begg, 14, and Tammy Keeash, 17, found dead in McIntyre River in May. Ten indigenous people have been found dead in Thunder Bay, since 2000. Seven were First Nations students who died between 2000 and 2011 while attending high school in the Thunder Bay, hundreds of kilometres away from their remote communities where access to education is limited. Organizers of Fridays protest would like to see improvement in First Nations education and increase in funding for schooling on reserves.

Activists are requesting the RCMP respect their right to protest. They plan to start their demonstration around 12 pm just east of Winnipeg near Deacon’s corner. A press conference will also take place at that time. Activists are planning to hand out information to motorists and collect signatures on a petition calling for immediate action from the minister of Indigenous and Northern Affairs, Carolyn Bennet, as well as the Minister of Health Jane Philpott.

Frustrated Families Vow to ‘Blockade’ Missing and Murdered Inquiry Hearings

Jocelyn Wabano-Iahtail, right, comforts Shirley Gunner, as John Fox looks on during a news conference regarding the missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls national inquiry in Ottawa. (Justin Tang/Canadian Press)

Father of murdered woman says inquiry is at a ‘crisis’ point

By John Paul Tasker, CBC News Posted: May 23, 2017

Some family members of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls are vowing to blockade meetings of the national inquiry to protest what they call a disastrous start.

“We are prepared to take blockades against this inquiry, if it goes through our communities we will be there, it doesn’t matter where,” John Fox told reporters Tuesday.

Fox said many families are “tired of the commissioners,” the people who are responsible for collecting testimony from families, and they are frustrated with the lack of familial support. Fox said calls to the 1-800 number are not returned and emails go unanswered by the bureaucrats staffing the inquiry’s office. He wants to ensure he can get on the list of speakers when the inquiry finally rolls through his town.

“What are we supposed to do? What other things can I do to get my name on there?” he asked.

Fox, the father of Cheyenne Marie Fox, a 20-year-old woman who died in Toronto in 2013, said the inquiry has unfairly placed the blame on families for cancelling scheduled meetings this summer rather than admit they were simply not prepared.

The inquiry has said it would go ahead with the first meeting in Whitehorse at the end of the month, but suspend others until the fall because many witnesses told them that they would be out on the land hunting, trapping and harvesting and would not have time to meet with commissioners. Fox said Tuesday that was nonsense.

“They took that little bit of information, somebody said it in passing, but now they paint all our families with that one big brush, but that’s not fair,” he said. “The harvesting and all of that other stuff, that’s always going to happen … we would be there.”

‘They can’t even get the race horse out of the gate.’– John Fox

Fox said Indigenous Affairs Minister Carolyn Bennett was able to hold pre-inquiry meetings throughout the country in a matter of months, but, nearly a year after the launch of the national inquiry, things remain largely at a standstill.

“Why can she pull off the pre-inquiry, and get all the statements in that short period of time? And this inquiry now … they don’t have an idea of what they’re going to do? All the money and expertise in front of them and they can’t even get the race horse out of the gate.”

(As of May 23, the inquiry has already spent roughly 10 per cent of its $53-million budget.)

Assembly of First Nations National Chief Perry Bellegarde also voiced his frustrations Tuesday. Bellegarde said he has invited the five MMIWG commissioners to meet with family members on three different occasions but was rejected.

“Clear communication and outreach to family members are essential to rebuild trust and ensure the national inquiry is a success,” Bellegarde said, adding the process must take a “families first” approach, based on respect for survivors and their loved ones.

Jocelyn Iahtail, who has long fought for a national inquiry, said many families have simply given up hope with the process so far because it has not respected Indigenous spirituality and language.

Jocelyn Iahtail, who has long fought for a national inquiry, said many have simply given up hope with the process so far because it has not respected Indigenous spirituality and language.

She said while Marion Buller, the chief commissioner, admitted last week some mistakes had been made, more needs to be done to regain the trust of many family members. Elders are trying to speak in their Indigenous languages but are simply not understood by record keepers, she said, and there is little respect paid to sacred instruments like the drum, fire ceremonies and tobacco.

“We cannot have our sacred stories yet again shelved like every other report has been shelved. We’ve had many family members state that it is running very much like the Indian residential school process when they were meeting with adjudicators. It is like a court process. We’ve been very consistent since the beginning that it has to be Indigenous knowledge-based.”

Iahtail said the commission has also been tight-fisted with money to help families travel to inquiry meetings, and has been reluctant to provide legal services to those in need.

Buller said Friday she understands frustration from families, but chalked up problems to poor communications.

“I don’t think it’s a matter of staff issues. It’s our fault for not communicating the tremendous work we have already accomplished.”

The commission has cycled through three directors of communications in 10 months, and has been plagued by complaints from family members about compressed timelines. The first interim report from the inquiry is due by November 2017.

[SOURCE]

Mohawks Block Trains Carrying Oil From Passing Through Kahnawake

A group of Mohawks from Kahnawake is preventing freight trains carrying oil or other dangerous materials from passing through the territory for 24 hours in solidarity with those protesting a pipeline project in North Dakota. (Steve Rukavina/CBC)

A group of Mohawks from Kahnawake is preventing freight trains carrying oil or other dangerous materials from passing through the territory for 24 hours in solidarity with those protesting a pipeline project in North Dakota. (Steve Rukavina/CBC)

Unclear how many trains will be affected, commuter trains will be allowed to pass

CBC News | Dec 01, 2016

A group of Mohawks from Kahnawake is preventing freight trains carrying oil or other dangerous materials from passing through the territory on a Canadian Pacific Railway line for 24 hours.

The protest is in solidarity with Indigenous groups protesting against the Dakota Access Pipeline project in North Dakota.

The blockade began Thursday at midnight. Commuter trains that use the rail line are being allowed to pass.

The AMT is warning commuters who use its Candiac line that the protest may cause delays.

Its trains are authorized to travel on the tracks but will have to do so at reduced speed near the Saint-Laurent train bridge where the protest is taking place.

The bridge connects Montreal and the South Shore.

A spokesperson for CP was not immediately available to comment.

Protecting the earth a ‘duty,’ protesters say

A spokeswoman for the group, Kahionwinehshon Phillips, read a statement Thursday morning to a group of reporters gathered at a small encampment the group has been maintaining at the foot of the Mercier Bridge for the past few weeks.

“We as the Mohawk people have a duty to protect mother earth, and we will continue to defend our mother earth for the coming generations as our ancestors did,” Phillips said.

It’s not clear how many trains will be affected. Phillips thought it could be more than a dozen, but she wasn’t sure.

Kahnawake Mohawk Peacekeepers are on site to ensure everyone’s safety.

Two weeks ago, AMT train service was also suspended for a day due to the Mohawk protest.

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/montreal/amt-candiac-train-delays-1.3875893

Cree, Métis Trappers And Fishermen Block Highway In Northern Manitoba

Cree trappers and fishermen from the Opaskwayak Cree Nation near The Pas, Man., stop a truck on Highway 6 as part of a blockade that began Aug. 30. (Thomas Monias)

Cree trappers and fishermen from the Opaskwayak Cree Nation near The Pas, Man., stop a truck on Highway 6 as part of a blockade that began Aug. 30. (Thomas Monias)

After negotiations over hydro development stall, groups block highway to protest

By Tim Fontaine, CBC News Posted: Sep 02, 2016

Around a dozen people from the Opaskwayak Cree Nation and their supporters have erected a blockade on a major highway in northern Manitoba, stopping trucks and equipment bound for a massive hydroelectric development project.

The blockade, which began Tuesday, is at the junction of Highway 6 and Highway 39 just south of Wabowden, Man. approximately 600 kilometres north of Winnipeg.

The protesters are allowing cars, trucks and bus traffic through, but they claim to have turned back semi-trailers and equipment that were en route to the construction site of Manitoba Hydro’s Keeyask Generating Station near Gillam, Man., a further 500 kilometres north.

The protesters are mainly members of the Opaskawayak Cree Nation Local Fur Council and the Opaskawayak Commercial Fishery Co-op, two groups that have been attempting to negotiate a settlement related to the construction of the Grand Rapids Generating Station over five decades ago.

They’ve also been joined by people from the Misipawistik Cree Nation and Métis from Grand Rapids, Man.

“This is for land that was damaged in 1960 — 1.5 million acres of prime trapping and fishing area, when Hydro built the Grand Rapids hydro generating station,” said John Morrisseau, who is from Grand Rapids.

The fight for compensation

HYDRO-NATIVE-DEAL

Construction of the Grand Rapids Generating Station began in 1960 and lasted five years, but destroyed thousands of kilometres of Cree territory, protesters say. (Winnipeg Free Press/CP)

Construction of the Grand Rapids generating station began in 1960 and lasted five years until it was operational.

The dam, which was built on the Saskatchewan River, required thousands of kilometres of land to be flooded — much of it trapping and fishing grounds used by First Nations, including people from Opaskwayak Cree Nation.

The trappers and fishermen from that community say that because of the changed landscape they now have to travel up to 150 kilometres just to fish or reach their traplines. Because of that, some people lost their livelihoods altogether, they say.

Several of the First Nations and Métis people affected by the dam have already negotiated settlements with the province and Manitoba Hydro. But for the past nine years, trapping and fishing groups from the Opaskwayak Cree Nation have been trying negotiate their own compensation.

Those talks broke down around two weeks ago.

“We’ll stay here as long as it takes to get Hydro at the negotiating table,” Morrisseau said.

Hydro responds

But a spokesperson for Manitoba Hydro said it was the trappers and fishermen who walked away from the negotiating table in the first place.

“[Manitoba Hydro] is more than happy to talk to them but I want to be very, very clear that they were the ones who walked away from the negotiating table, not us,” said Scott Powell.

“We’ve even offered to bring in a mediator at our expense to help with the discussions.”

According to Powell, there’s a dispute over how many fishers and trappers are eligible for compensation. Hydro is willing to compensate 59 fishers and more than 150 trappers, based on how many were harvesting in the area at the time the dam was built, but the First Nations say hundreds more should be eligible.

CBC News has been trying to reach the heads of both the Opaskwayak Cree Nation Local Fur Council and the Opaskwayak Commercial Fishery Co-op for further comment, but cellphone coverage is poor in the area where the blockade is set up.

Powell confirmed that several trucks on contract with Manitoba Hydro that were headed to “points north” had been stopped and turned back by the blockade.

RCMP didn’t respond to requests from CBC News for information about the situation but Canada Carthage, a major trucking company, has been warning drivers and operators about the blockade on social media.

http://www.cbc.ca/news/aboriginal/cree-trappers-blockade-manitoba-hydro-1.3746010?cmp=abfb

Fox Lake Cree Nation Blockade Ends

A group of protestors had been blocking three Manitoba Hydro sites, claiming that hydro workers destroyed a sacred ceremonial site. (Source: Sheila North Wilson)

A group of protestors had been blocking three Manitoba Hydro sites, claiming that hydro workers destroyed a sacred ceremonial site. (Source: Sheila North Wilson)

Highway 290 blockade ends

CTV Winnipeg, May 14, 2016

Officials from the Fox Lake Cree Nation have confirmed that a blockade on Highway 290 has ended.

A group of protestors had been blocking three Manitoba Hydro sites, claiming that hydro workers destroyed a sacred ceremonial site.

Chief Walter Spence said Manitoba Hydro has committed to work together with the Fox Lake Cree Nation, and rebuild the site.

The protest ended around 7:30 p.m. on Saturday. A Manitoba Hydro spokesperson said the company is disheartened the sacred site was damaged.

Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak Grand Chief Sheila North Wilson confirmed the end of the blockade on twitter Saturday.

http://winnipeg.ctvnews.ca/highway-290-blockade-ends-1.2902734

First Nation Blockade Halts Access To 3 Manitoba Hydro Sites After Ceremonial Land Desecrated

Fox Lake Cree Nation has blocked Highway 280, preventing workers from accessing three Manitoba Hydro sites. (Fox Lake Cree Nation)

Fox Lake Cree Nation has blocked Highway 290, preventing workers from accessing three Manitoba Hydro sites. (Fox Lake Cree Nation)

By Red Power Media, Staff / May 12, 2016

Fox Lake Cree Nation suspects Manitoba Hydro involved after sacred site destroyed

A remote Cree Nation about 1,000 kilometres northeast of Winnipeg, has put up a blockade to keep workers from three Manitoba Hydro sites, after band members discovered ceremonial land desecrated.

According to the Winnipeg Free Press, Fox Lake Cree Nation members began a blockade Thursday morning at the junction of the reserve and Highway 290, blocking access to Hydro’s Limestone Generation station, Keewatinohk Access Gate and Henday Converter Station.

Protesters At Rocky Mountain Fort End ’62 Day’ Blockade Of Site C Dam Project

Opponents of Site C dismantle the remote protest camp that stalled BC Hydro dam construction work for two months. (Christy Jordan-Fenton)

Opponents of Site C dismantle the remote protest camp that stalled BC Hydro dam construction work for two months. (Christy Jordan-Fenton)

By Red Power Media, Staff

Landowners and First Nations protesters end 62 day blockade 

Protesters at the Rocky Mountain Fort camp ended their two-month occupation blocking Site C dam construction, after a judge ruled in favor of BC Hydro’s application for an injunction to remove them from the area.

Landowners and First Nations protesters had until midnight Monday, to vacate and make way for an $8.8 billion dam on the Peace River.

The British Columbia Supreme Court ruled that the protest camp had prevented site-clearing operations by BC Hydro contractors since December 31, costing millions of dollars in project delays.

“BC Hydro has the legal authority to do what it is doing and the defendants have no legal rights to obstruct it,” an attorney for the province-owned utility told the court on Monday.

Today, Site C opponents told CBC News they are obeying the Court order  requiring them to leave the area.

“At this time, none of us are going to be arrested, because we are law abiding citizens,” said local farmer Arlene Boon, who has been camping in the snow at the protest site for 32 days.

Yvonne Tupper, a land occupier with the Treaty 8 Tribal Association, said the protest’s end was bittersweet. “We bought that small chunk of land another 62 days of life,” she said. “When you understand your relationship to the land, it tells you where your place is.”

Today, Boon said people in camp are crying and emotional, as they pack up and dismantle cabins, lean-tos, and tents and load supplies on to snowmobiles and boats.

Protesters said the RCMP gave camp occupants a few days grace to pack up and clear out.

This rendering shows the planned Site C Dam in the Peace River valley in Northeast British Columbia.

This rendering shows the planned Site C Dam in the Peace River valley in Northeast British Columbia.

Tupper says what can’t be moved straight away are some of the cabins, which will be airlifted out of the area at BC Hydro’s expense.

The Site C dam in Northeast British Columbia received both provincial and federal approval.

The Supreme Court ruling came as Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau gets ready for this week’s meeting with provincial premiers in Vancouver.

On Thursday, Trudeau will gather with provincial and territorial premiers for a first ministers meeting — the second one he will attend since his Liberal government came to power last fall — to begin figuring out how Canada will live up to the agreement it signed at the United Nations climate conference in Paris last year.

Trudeau is expected to unveil a green energy initiative.