Tag Archives: Occupy

Muskrat Falls Workers Bussed Out After Protesters Occupy Site In Central Labrador

Protesters enter the Muskrat Falls site after breaking through a gate Saturday afternoon. (Jacob Barker/CBC)

Protesters enter the Muskrat Falls site after breaking through a gate Saturday afternoon. (Jacob Barker/CBC)

Protesters Cut Lock, Enter Muskrat Falls Site

By Lukas Wall, CBC News Posted: Oct 22, 2016


Busloads of workers are being sent home after protesters trespassed onto the Muskrat Falls hydroelectric project in Central Labrador yesterday and began occupying the work camp.

Ten buses arrived at the hydro electric project late Saturday to retrieve workers.

At around 2:30 p.m. AT, a group of about 60 protesters broke through the gate, with about 200 more remaining at the gate.

Several trucks also entered the site carrying protesters, one driven by Cartwright Mayor Dwight Lethbridge.

A number of unscheduled flights have since arrived at the Goose Bay Airport, the closest air strip to the site.

Moving forward

Neither contractors, nor Nalcor, the crown company behind the megaproject, have returned request for comment about the level of work at the hydro electric project.

Premier Dwight Ball released a statement Saturday evening saying a meeting with Indigenous groups and the province has been scheduled for Tuesday.

“Until this meeting has occurred, Nalcor will do nothing to increase water levels above the falls,” he said in the statement.

Protesters have been calling for the clearing of all vegetation at the Muskrat Falls reservoir prior to initial flooding which Nalcor has said to expect by the end of this month.

Controversial project

Muskrat Falls, a multi-billion dollar hydroelectric project in central Labrador, has been the subject of much controversy.

Cost overruns, a construction collapse and now protests against Nalcor, the province-owned company building it, have plagued the project.

Protesters are demanding Nalcor clear the reservoir of vegetation and topsoil before flooding begins to prevent the leaching of methylmercury into the water.

A study conducted by researchers from Harvard University in 2015 determined that methylmercury levels would rise with Muskrat Falls flooding, increasing the potential for mercury contamination in traditional food sources like fish and seal downstream in nearby Lake Melville.

However, Gilbert Bennett, vice-president of the Lower Churchill Project with Nalcor Energy, said at the time “we do not predict that creation of the Muskrat Falls reservoir will heighten risk to people in Lake Melville.”

Minister Siobhan Coady and Perry Trimper at a new conference Wednesday, where they announced government is telling Nalcor to clear more forest cover from the Muskrat Falls reservoir site. (Ted Dillon/CBC)

Minister Siobhan Coady and Perry Trimper at a new conference Wednesday, where they announced government is telling Nalcor to clear more forest cover from the Muskrat Falls reservoir site. (Ted Dillon/CBC)

Increasing opposition to the project led Environment Minister Perry Trimper to order Nalcor to remove more forest cover at the reservoir on Wednesday to further address “anxiety and concern” surrounding methylmercury.

For now, clearing of trees will take place inside the initial 25-metre flooding zone before the flooding begins. Nalcor says it plans to look at clearing options for the second watermark at 39 metres.

The plan doesn’t call for soil clearing.

Protester cut lock

Darren Sheppard says he cut the lock off of a fence at the entrance to the site to give the protesters access.

“I cut the lock because Nalcor is going to go ahead and do the work,” Sheppard said.

He said the company has the time and ability to clear the vegetation from the site before the flooding begins, and protesters will remain on the site until Nalcor agrees to complete the work.

“If they’re not going to do that, then we will stay on site until they say yes,” said Sheppard.

“Once they [say] yes, we’ll all walk off freely, we’re all friendly protesters.”

He said he “doesn’t care” about any possible police reaction.

“I’m standing up for what I believe in and what’s right.”

Police close Trans Labrador Highway

Several RCMP vehicles also attended the site Saturday afternoon and closed Route 510, also known as the South Coast Highway, while protests continue. Hundreds of vehicles are backed up on the road.

About 100 protesters abandoned their vehicles and gathered at the police blockade. Officers on the scene said the situation has become a public safety concern and they are working to gain control.

Nalcor issued a warning on Twitter urging those on the site to use caution. The company said there is a significant safety risk to protesters and workers, as construction sites can be hazardous.

Flooding on the site will not begin tomorrow, according to Nalcor, and a decision has not yet been made on when the flooding will begin.

There have also been reports that workers on the site have been asked to go to muster stations.


Official Statement From ‪#OccupyINAC‬ Winnipeg

Photo: Occupy INAC Winnipeg, Facebook

Photo: Occupy INAC Winnipeg, Facebook

Official Statement From ‪#‎OccupyINAC‬ Winnipeg

Friday April 15, 2016
INAC Office, Winnipeg
Anishinaabe Territory
Written by consensus from the collective

In the spirit of peace, love and solidarity with our relatives at #OccupyINAC Toronto, we have been peacefully gathering since yesterday morning at the Manitoba regional office of Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada, a department which derives its mandate from the racist colonial legislation called, The Indian Act.

We acknowledge the recent states of emergency declared in our communities in response to crises of suicide, including Attawapiskat Ininew Territory and Pimicikamak Ininew Territory, and have resolved to take action in support of our suffering relatives.

These crises are not new and do not exist in isolation. Suicide has long plagued our communities due to centuries of colonization and its effects: crushing poverty, substandard housing, imprisonment, child apprehension, and lack of access to health care, nutrition and clean water. The resulting destruction of identity, lack of self worth and cognitive imperialism are the roots of suicide in our people.

This issue is inseparable from the epidemic of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women; the legacy of residential schools; the 11,000 and counting children in care in Manitoba; and the theft, pollution, and exploitation of the land, water, and air. The violence perpetrated against nature reflects the violence perpetrated against our women, our men, and our youth..

These conditions have existed in our territories for centuries and the so-called government of Canada administers and benefits from it. These are acts of war, oppression, and treason against our ancient treaties. Immediate response is called for.

We are asserting our authority and sovereignty in this land and in recognition of the ancient treaties, we call upon the so-called Government of Canada, the so-called Chiefs and Councils, and all the representatives of the Queen, to honour the obligations of the following ancient treaties: the Wampum Belt, the Peacepipe, and the Canes of Authority. We command the Crown to honour the oath and sacred responsibilities derived from these ancient treaties. We will continue to work with our traditional communities and value our sacred responsibilities, therefore we command the Crown and agents of the Crown to not interfere with our sacred laws, way of life, and ancient tribal governance systems. Our ancestors speak through our voices for the children and those yet to come.

The youth of Attawapiskat and Pimicikamak, and across our territories have commanded:

Youth centres; Parenting centres; Traditional teachings; ceremonies; knowledge of their chants, their songs and their skills for surviving on the land; better education; an end to the plague of drugs and alcohol; recycling systems; dry land; sports activities; shelters; recreation facilities; libraries; cinemas; mental health response and treatment; to represent themselves on Youth Councils; and to meet with Justin Trudeau.

Furthermore, we command:

1) The abolition of the Indian Act, the reserve system and the numbered Treaties, which are systematic violations of the sovereignty of our people — the sovereignty we have always retained and always lived, but which has never been honoured by the colonial state, from the beginning of their invasion under the lie of terra nullius.

2) An end to the denial of adequate healthcare, housing and education in our communities, and undenied access to our own unpolluted traditional foods and clean water.

3) For the so-called Chiefs and Councils and everyone in our communities to restore the culture and spirituality we have lost: to allow and encourage our traditions, ceremonies, teachings, songs, languages, and ways of knowing.

4) For the people of the colonial state to respect these lands and water, starting wtih the discontinuation of the destruction and pollution caused by the colonial corporations which exploit and deplete the resources of Mother Earth that we all need to survive.

5) An end to the Two-Spirit discrimination causing much of the suicidal crisis our youth are facing, which exists in our communities as a result of colonial ideology and cognitive imperialism, in addition to the damage of everything previously mentioned.

We will continue to assert our sovereign right to occupy this space until the Crown, so-called Government of Canada, and so-called Chief and Council, acknowledge this statement and the commands within.

For all the support we have received we say, Chi Miigwetch. We extend our Chi Miigwetch to the Creator, Gichi-Manitou, and all our relations, Ndinawe Maginaw.

With peace, love and solidarity,

— #OccupyINAC Winnipeg

The decendants of our ancestors