Event at the University of Florida at Tampa
a presentation of
Indigenous Peoples Alliance Campus Empowerment Group
“Talking About Decolonization” during Native American Heritage Month
“Introducing Grandmother Willi Nolan, one of the Grandmothers of the Wabanaki Confederacy.”
Lena shares her experiences as she sat in Grandmothers Council during the 2015 Wabanaki Confederacy Conference*, and asks Grandmother Willi about effective activism; and the links between water protection actions at Standing Rock, North Dakota and the successful moratorium victory following the Wabanaki-New Brunswick Shale Gas Rebellion of 2013; and the ongoing protection actions via the Peoples Lawsuit, and alliance-building.
[ * See the 2015 Wabanaki Confederacy Statement here * ]
This link should let you download the recording of our skype conversation https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B93hVrrsoaXNZG8yRzJqVzkxN2M/view
Video – “Dialogue with Lena Longtoe, Abenaki – Indigenous Peoples Alliance UFlorida@Tampa Nov 13 2016” – Google Drive]]>
An Analysis of Lawful Rebellion in New Brunswick and British Columbia 2013-2014. Informed Protest can Trigger Judicial Investigations, Dropped Charges and Opportunities for Legal Actions to Defend Peaceful Protest, Environmental Protection and the Rule of Law
Big things happened in New Brunswick in 2013 that put our Peoples on the map. We’re still on the map. We know that many are watching to see what we’ll do next.
We’re still allied Peoples. Because of our strong voices, courage and willingness to protect, sacrifice, speak up and stand with and for each other, we united, showed our power and have made some big changes happen. The last Conservative government left heavy baggage, unfinished business in the form of lawsuits against them from allied settlers and First Canadians. Official investigations by the Commission for Public Complaints against the RCMP finally began in fall 2014, already overwhelmed with complaints about New Brunswick RCMP from across Canada and as far away as California  The facts are only beginning to be revealed. Stay tuned.
After its own people began suing them, the government faced a provincial election which essentially became a provincial referendum on shale gas. New Brunswick voters flexed their muscle and tossed David “Say Yes to Shale Gas and Pipelines” Alward and nine of his Cabinet ministers out of office. A promised provincial moratorium on hydraulic fracturing (fracking) is in the works under a Liberal government. And it gets better.
The New Brunswick Green Party, led by David Coon, a career environmentalist and fierce defender against shale gas development, won its first seat in the legislature — the second Green provincial seat in Canadian history. 
These great victories have brought us tremendous knowledge, information, understanding and experience. As could be expected, they have come with a price. There’s still some conflict within families, communities, interest groups and within ourselves, but unity still rules. We know that unity is our true power. Local activists have been tested to the core of their beings; but know that staying the course is the only thing to do. There are still so many injustices that must be challenged, giving up is not an option. Politicians struggle under the weight and watch of an informed citizenry armed with abundant knowledge of historical and in-progress wrongdoings, we are a citizenry that is demanding the Rule of Law and to be governed in our interest.
Within First Canadian communities, a painful, centuries old divide and conquer strategy has degraded into sad and frenzied attempts to make illegal and unethical land and resource deals. News reports are filled with stories of misguided First Nation elected chiefs who have actually worked with police and governments to have injunctions, lawsuit claims, charges and arrests laid against members of their own communities who were involved in peaceful, lawful, environmental protection actions.   183 First Nations have been targeted for deal making with oil and gas interests through a targeted “nation-building exercise” led by Phil Fontaine, former Grand Chief of the federally-sponsored Assembly of First Nations and his company Ishkonigan , private First Nations consulting and negotiation companies  for ‘TransCanaDeath‘, the Transcanada East Energy pipeline project.
Since the now-famous Tsilhqot’in decision in Canada’s Supreme Court, the federal government under Stephen Harper began attempting to enforce a “Comprehensive Land Claims Policy” that would require “Aboriginal” Peoples to extinguish their rights in exchange for small amounts of land and one time buy-outs.  This amounts to genocide, it is hateful and illegal policy. Hate crimes are a criminal matter. The RCMP are obliged to act on criminal matters. Could they be persuaded to act?
Meanwhile, the profound abuses of court and police resources unfolding at Burnaby Mountain in British Columbia have resulted in charges against peaceful protesters being discharged, and denial of land and water protection via court injunction. They are now facing the same horrible pattern of unjust court and police behaviour that was employed in New Brunswick near Elsipogtog in 2013 — injunction, SLAPP lawsuit, military-style arrests…   
For the vast majority of folks you saw getting arrested, pepper sprayed, crying, proud, demanding, shocked and righteous in New Brunswick and British Columbia, it was their first time up against THE SYSTEM. These experiences have only strengthened the Peoples’ resolve.
For the folks watching these events from afar, it appears surreal, confusing and frightening. There is every reason to be confused about what’s really playing out in Canada. The beautiful thing about it, is that there is actually more reason for those running the System to be afraid than for those being oppressed by it, because the lies that used to be believed are widely known as lies. People are becoming less fearful and more aware of their rights, and there is a collective awakening to the power of informed protest. What has been learned cannot be unlearned.
New Brunswick and British Columbia have become proving grounds for informed activism to direct social movements that are adapting to make room for all people for the protection of the Commons — the water, air and lands that we all need to survive. Our legal defences, lawsuits, grassroots campaigns, petitions, social media, public hearings and front line protests are tools that we are honing and refining and becoming skillful at using to stop destructive activities and put solutions on the table so that change can happen. As one dirty industry after another is exposed, confronted, rejected and inevitably engineers its own demise, we the People are gathering and using powerful tools within the Rule of Law and most importantly, we are learning that the road to getting what we want is in unity.
What do I want? I want the best outcome for everyone involved. Giving up is not an option. Of course I can’t speak for everyone, but I can dream about it. I can create and share a vision. I do dream. I dream of many, many announcements and reports of clean jobs, businesses and local economies created by communities that no longer have to fight their governments. I dream of governments that rely on their communities to decide what is in their best interest. I dream that local Community Activism Centres spring up in every little village, connected to the treasure trove of informed, understanding, knowledgeable and experienced people who know how to listen and provide and to teach how to apply the best direction for each unique circumstance. Imagine how brave folks will be when we all have access to a network of independent activists, scientists, consultants, doctors, lawyers, and Indian chiefs who uphold and protect our human rights with their lives… imagine.
The dawn of that time has begun. We now know that when we are united, we can get to where we need to by using the power of our collective knowledge, understanding and choice. We know the divide, conquer and repression tactics that have been used against us no longer effectively divide or suppress us the way they used to, because now we know how to gather the eyes of the world to our causes. It’s easier than ever to shine the light of truth on all that is good about our activism to and use our gifts and abilities to expose, oppose and confront the greed and stupidity systems that are failing the people and threatening to betray those who haven’t even been born yet. The eyes of the People of the Earth look toward a future that does not tolerate abuses of peoples or ecosystems.
These are civil matters. These are political matters. This is Lawful Rebellion in defense of human rights and Life on earth.
The RCMP is well advised to get to work investigating the real crimes and criminals, let the courts hear the civil matters, and find ways to not have Canadian police condemned by international authorities and possibly become personally liable. Armed forces following illegal orders and in the process, facilitating crimes and wrongdoing, is what the Nazis are still being hunted and tried for. Here’s some hope: in Iceland, where gender equity rules – where men’s and women’s voices are equally heard and respected – police don’t need to carry guns. They also kicked the banksters out and made them eat their losses.
Informed protest is a call to action to use our collective power to Identify and Replace the Systems that are Failing the People. We’ve got a lot of work to do.
Informed protest is a call to understand the bind we’re in, to make intelligent demands and to be part of solving the problems – engaging in lawful rebellion to make the changes that must happen to meet the needs of all people and protect the land and waters for those who aren’t born yet, the people of the future . We know the next generations are watching and waiting to see what we’ll do next. Let’s make ’em proud of us.
by Willi Nolan
REFERENCES FOR FURTHER STUDY
STATEMENT OF WILHELMINA (WILLI) NOLAN
Respectfully Submitted on my own behalf on October 18, 2013
With reference to Court File No. MC 663-13, Court of Queen’s Bench of New Brunswick,
Civil Court, Trial Division, Judicial District of Moncton
Between SWN RESOURCES CANADA INC., Plaintiff/Applicant
– and –
LORAINE CLAIR, JIM PICTOU, SEVEN BERNARD, JASON OKAY, GREG COOK, WILHELMINA (WILLI)NOLAN, MELANIE EDWARD, ANN POHL, RACHEL DAIGLE, SUZANNA PATLES, JOHN DOE AND JANE DOE, Defendants/Respondents
as one of the Named Respondents
To: The Honourable Justice George Rideout
I have not done anything wrong, and yet I am named as a respondent in this injunction launched by Southwestern Energy (SWN) with regard to shale gas exploration in New Brunswick.
I am a concerned person of Wabanaki territory, a New Brunswicker, a mother and grandmother who walks a faith path that is of the Original people of Turtle Island and a professional human rights activist. As such, I have solicited professional opinion, written reports and taken many other actions under my responsibilities to uphold the names of my mentors and teachers and to share the good teachings that I have received from them. I intend to continue to stand up for my rights, human rights,the rights of Original people and the protection of Mother Earth.That I have not been served with this injunction or the related documents and the matter of costs are, among other matters, at issue here.
Police Involvement in Anti-Shale Gas Protests
In a public meeting held on Monday,October 14, 2013, in Kent County, RCMP officers informed those present that:
a) In their opinion, the protest at Hwy134, Rexton, was unlawful because it prevented “certain people” from doing their job. The officers stated that it is not the RCMP’s job to know the legalities on all sides, that RCMP don’t make the laws, they enforce them, and that they are neutral. The officers stated that if SWN is found to be unlawful, they would enforce the law, but that it is not the RCMP’s job to determine if the injunction is illegal or not.
The officers stated that the injunction was properly served by a notice of it having been placed in the newspapers which included an enforcement order by the police. The RCMP further stated that this is a civil injunction – that there had been no decision yet when it would be enforced.
b) RCMP said that they were not there to enforce environmental laws, that they do not enforce the Clean Water Act or Clean Air Act, that other departments enforce those Acts. The RCMP denied any authority or discretion to enforce the Acts and stated that they did not know policing regulations in this regard.
c) The officers stated that if there has been a violation they can act, but that neither of the officers was present at a court hearing on the injunction on October 7, 2013, where it was reported that there was some doubt as to which side was actually involved in unlawful acts.RCMP stated that they were not aware of discussions about police enforcement that took place in front of the judge.
d) Regarding RCMP obligations to respect the laws and authority of the people of Signigtog, Native Spirituality and rights and responsibilities to protect the lands and waters, they stated that they don’t deal with that kind of thing, that it is not their job, and that their mandate is only offences under criminal code.
e) RCMP stated that their oath is not to uphold the honour of the British Crown or to protect the best interests and well being of either residents or the Original people from harm. They stated that their oath is to enforce the criminal code, as they were hired to do by the province. They stated that New Brunswick RCMP were hired by the province only to enforce certain of the Acts, which did not include environmental protection.
f) RCMP responded to to a relevant question from a woman of the Original peoples of Signigtog:
“What gives the province the right to issue a permit to SWN”?
The officers’ responded to the question with, “We don’t know.”
g) The officers were asked about the rights of people who are engaged, not in protest, but in preventing crimes intended to be committed and in protecting the lands and waters because for many, it is their responsibility to do so according to traditional culture, values and law. RCMP were also asked if going to sacred ceremonies at the site could be considered illegal.
The officers stated that they could not comment on these matters.
h) I explained to the meeting that some of us are acting to uphold the law of the Original people and asked the following questions:
i) Are the RCMP aware that the Signigtog Grand Council issued an eviction notice to SWN?
ii) Are the RCMP aware that a Directive to SWN was issued under collective right of the people of Signigtog that directed SWN to stop their operations,repair the damage and leave?
iii) Are the RCMP aware that the Elsipogtog Band Council, together with the Grand Council, reclaimed stewardship of all the unoccupied native lands recently in a Band Council Resolution (BCR)?
The officers stated that they were aware of the BCR, but not the Directive or Eviction Notice, and that the RCMP have no interest in the upholding of the laws of the Original people.
i) The RCMP were asked at the meeting, “What is the meaning of the words “shall be in the cause” in the injunction?” and responded that they did not know, that the RCMP mandate is only regarding the criminal code.
j) RCMP stated that they report to J Division Commander and are working under the“Criminal Enforcement” department on the “Shale Gas file.”They informed us that J Division reports to the RCMP Commissioner in Ottawa, currently Bob Paulsen, who reports to the Minister. The officers stated that they did not know which minister, but thought it was the Public Safety minister or some other federal government ministry.
[WN: NOTE – Under the RCMP Act, it is the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness.]
k) The officers stated that the police will be told who to arrest and not arrest.
l) The RCMP officers were asked to inform of the people of the laws regarding “Nuisance”. The RCMP read that section of the criminal code; it referred to violations involving protecting property, lives,safety and health of the public, causing physical injury and endangering people and property.
Local residents repeatedly commented from the floor: “That sounds like what SWN is doing!”
It is my contention that, under the definition under the Criminal Code violations given to me this week by an RCMP officer at a public meeting, that both the provincial government and SWN are creating a public nuisance and a nuisance to opponents of shale gas exploration in New Brunswick.
Both the provincial government and SWN are complicit in the unlawful use of property, have caused inconvenience and damage to myself, the public and Original people who have all been longtime allied and have been resorting to all manner of lawful protest of these bothersome, wrongfully sanctioned activities which are unauthorized by the Original people Signigtog territory. It appears that the unauthorized collections of seismic data, release of noxious and toxic chemicals, smells, noise, burning,exploding and alteration of watercourses in the forests and near homes fall clearly into the realm of illegal activities.
SWN Granted Injunction for“Irreparable” or “Grievous” Harm
SWN requested an ex parte interim injunction, is claiming “irreparable harm” and has attached a dollar value to the alleged “harm.” I understand “irreparable harm” as harm to which no monetary compensation can cure or put conditions back the way they were, harms that are impossible to repair, rectify or amend. A simple example from a Law Dictionary is“the oil spill did irreparable harm to the Bay.”
The harms being perpetrated and contemplated by Southwestern Energy (SWN) and sanctioned by the province are irreparable. The seismic testing program has already caused watercourses to be altered, lethal toxins to be injected into the earth, endangered not only animal habitats, burial, hunting and gathering grounds, but has displaced ecosystems that human and animal populations are relying on for clean air and drinking water.
The water and land protection movement in New Brunswick, and I, as a party named in the court’s injunction,are seeking to prevent SWN from causing irreparable harm. However,these hearings appear to uphold SWN’s questionable claim of grievous harm while ignoring the harm that SWN is doing and intends to extend. For my part, the honour and integrity of a lifetime of service to communities concerned about their environmental health has been maligned and is placing populations that I serve at greater risk because of SWN’s attempting to smear my name, reputation and life’s work.
Criminal and Civil Wrongdoings
With regard to civil wrongdoings, SWN and the New Brunswick government have clearly been involved in a host of bothersome activities, including releasing fraudulent reports on human and ecosystem health impacts from shale gas development. Residents here were forced to seek credible scientific reporting and opinion and have been gathering more than compelling evidence that there has already been and there will be even more harm done if shale gas developments enter our ecosystems.
I understand that the court does not require an outside appeal to place persons or corporations or governments under court order for review. The court can act on any information brought before it and can order it to be placed under judicial review. The court can order any person or entity plausibly suspected to be causing harm and/or being a nuisance to stop activities that are known to cause harm.
The NB Chief Medical Officer of Health has spoken against proceeding with shale gas developments without further study to protect public health because the available evidence of risk to public health is too great to ignore. Doctors have yet to be provided information on “proprietary” chemical compounds used in fracking operations. The New Brunswick Ombudsman is currently investigating shortfalls of the government regarding processes involved in public consultations on shale gas development in the province that a significant number of residents see as invalid and yet, are being denied even dialogue about their concerns.
A great number of knowledgeable,peaceable, law abiding citizens have been distressed because of being placed under threat of criminal records and loss of their properties because of the ex parte, interlocutory injunction sought by SWN and agreed upon by the courts. The injunction’s breadth and preemptive restraint of a “Jane Doe” attack on public rights appear equally outrageous to the vague exclusion zone. I was one of many people who became distressed yesterday to learn that Original people and their allies were subject to unprovoked attack in the early morning hours.
I ask the court to honour its responsibility to all concerned, all the named and all the Jane and John Does of New Brunswick and arrest the harm that is being perpetrated and place this matter under review by the court itself.
Authority of Original People ofSignigtog
These hearings have, to date, ignored the authority, laws and dictums not only of the Original peoples of this land, but also the rights of homeowners whose lives, whose survival are under threat from provincially-sanctioned SWN operations. These hearings are still ignoring the obligations of Crown authorities to protect the interest of the Original peoples of this land and to obtain their free, prior and informed consent to developments on native lands.
These hearings ignore the demonstrated adherence to traditional authority by countless New Brunswick residents through their support of the rights, title and authority of its Original peoples to reclaim stewardship of the lands, repair the damage that has been done and to prevent the ruin of waters and lands needed for our survival.
I understand that demonstrated intent to cause harm is against the law and is reflected in laws against nuisance and threats. Yesterday’s actions reflect a dangerous and destructive pattern of Crown conduct. Further, the order takes no regard of the province’s lack of claim to native lands of Signigtog. Moreover, the actions appear to be calculated to destroy the rights of Wabanaki peoples and to cause bodily and mental harm to people who are fighting for their survival.
For all of these reasons, I respectfully request that the court, in good faith, place this matter under review.
PLEASE NOTE: All content in this document are my true words <signed> Wilhelmina (Willi) Nolan —Nbreferata (talk) 14:40, October 24, 2013 (EDT)
It is well stated that most parents place their hopes higher for their children that for themselves. We naturally hope that our children will be smarter, wiser, healthier and live better, freer lives than ours.
At the same time, youth are often unpredictable in their abilities to recognize and accept that their elders are not all seeing, all knowing, all powerful, that they are just people, spiritual beings in human form who have, for the most part, not having yet attained the highest levels of spiritual perfection, information and understanding. Instead, many of your young ones blame their elders for making the world that they will inherit such a mess.
So many of your young people do not see hope and some are even deciding not to bring any more children to live in your sick societies. All but gone are the times when your elders were relied on for guidance in all aspects of society. Historically, many of your societies relied more on philosophers than they do in present times on your planet.
But the ancient wisdom is still there, written in your DNA, in the stars and in your hopes and dreams for the future. You still have knowledge and wisdom keepers left on your planet and your spirits are all capable of achieving enlightenment and mastery over your own beings.
The Platonic Allegory of the Cave clearly articulates the essence of what is meant by enlightenment, coming into the light. These times of change upon you are calling forth aspects of your collective psyches that can enable humanity’s transition to what many are calling the era of Light and Life.
Some of you have awakened more fully than others, the progression being gradual and steady as your beings become accustomed to receiving new information, information that could not be received while the human consciousness was held in bondage in the realms of enslavement and subjugation. Now you are as free of those influences as you will let yourselves be. No more Satanic energy can ever reach your planet; in your new reality it has become annihilated, it is as though it never was, or it can be, if you will let it be.
We encourage you to keep bringing your youth to decision making tables. They will learn more from your actions than by your words alone. Remember that you are not only rescuing your ecological systems from the brink of extinction, you are rescuing your history, your cultures and your spiritual progressions from being hindered, hidden under the veils and shrouds of the dark realms of existence.
Every time that one of you frees yourself from addiction, anger, jealousy or harbouring ill will towards another, you are, in reality, freeing a portion of your collective psyche, you are creating space for true joy and real freedom to replace the realms of tyranny and oppression. And so must it be as you traverse this transition time.
We know that it can be hard on you to withstand the endless epiphanies of the depth and intricacies of the problems that must be resolved and healed in order for your race to continue on your planet. These times are trying for even the most enlightened human beings, and they are not easy for those of us in spirit world who have chosen to be here at this time to assist you either. As has been said by your philosophers and wise persons “No change can come without effort.”
Some of you have identified that it is not the effort that is the most difficult, it is the change in thought patterns and perspectives that is actually the greatest challenge to your peace and good way of life.
As we have said many times, learning to adjust your energy frequencies to be in harmony with your true purpose in Creation is essentially your reason for your being present as a human on the Earth. And now you are collectively choosing to overcome humankind’s greatest challenge – to free yourselves of enemies that lurk within your own beings, to free yourselves to move forward within your birthright as children of the Creator.
Can you see how important you are? If we could, we would show you the love in which you are held, the unwavering faith in you that is and always has been expressed by all who know and love your race. Your adventure is held by many of us who live in spirit world to be the greatest experiential adventure of all.
Recognize that your youth see the mistakes made by your societies throughout the ages. What they want to see now are the correct actions and patterns of thought that will lead humanity away from the path of destruction and self-annihilation and into the richness of being in oneness with the creative potential of the universe.
And so we leave you with our blessings. Know that our faith in you is unwavering. Via Willi Nolan 10 May 2014]]>
By Willi Nolan
The police made us braver. Warriors showed their love. Elders stayed, and their stories helped the people to keep going. Women held onto the sacred with their songs and prayers. The youth held onto the truth and received the gift of hope. No one will ever take away our power again.
We are stronger now. We still cry and chant outside police stations. We still keep an eye on each other and we keep watch for signs of the destroyers. And something miraculous took place on June 26th 2014.
In a quiet court clerk’s office in St. John, New Brunswick, an act of Peace and Friendship was committed. The descendents of First Peoples, settlers and the sixties brought truth to power to be tested under the Rule of Law. Weightily armed with a very long list of violations of the rights and responsibilities of citizens of Wabanaki Confederacy territory, one can’t help but notice their fresh and truly unified approach.
It is clear that their timing is perfect. At that same moment in time, as the Supreme Court of Canada recognized Unceded lands on Canada’s west borders, Treaty people claimed Wabanaki — all of it — in the name of Peace and Friendship and the Rule of Law.
The Peoples Lawsuit
On June 26th 2014, eighteen defenders filed legal action against the forces that took away their peace and violated their rights. The Peoples Lawsuit Statement of Claim could read — for those who followed the sad, violent applications of corporate rule that traumatized peaceful people at Elsipogtog, Harcourt, Moncton and Rexton in 2013 — like a saga.
The legal action numbers the ways that laws have been broken by politicos and corporations. Frackers Southwestern Energy (SWN) and Canada have been legally served 20 days notice to respond. The Peoples Lawsuit speaks truth to power… but that’s not all it does. By an uncanny set of circumstances, New Brunswick managed to delay the official filing of TWO lawsuits against itself. Not stopped, mind you, but delayed.
TWO lawsuits, you ask? On June 26th 2014, the New Brunswick Anti Shale Gas Alliance (NBASGA) and three compassionate and revolutionary-minded settlers also officially filed notice of a legal action against the province. Their lawsuit is demanding that the light of justice shine on scientific truths about fracking, truths that can no longer be twisted or ignored.
Fracking destroys farms. Fracking makes people sick. There’s really no money in it for the public, only debt, devaluation and destruction of communities. There is no doubt that Wabanaki, all of it, is unceded. There’s no doubt the game has changed.
Mainstream and social media have barely begun to acknowledge the magnitude of the June 26th Supreme Court decision and the filing of the Peoples Lawsuit and its sister, the “Science” lawsuit. Still fewer are aware yet of what the lawsuits are actually demanding from the court of justice.
Take the subsidies off dirty fuels and invest in jobs that are solutions to climate change. Stop the criminal politicians and their dealmaking lawyers. Respect First Peoples right to say no. Protect the water.
There’s room for everyone in the Peoples Lawsuit. Already, more people are coming forward to add their names alongside the ones who took the first steps.
Why not a class action, you ask? Well, I’ve heard that everything is possible when a small group of committed citizens come together in Unity.
“In June of 2013, SWN began seismic testing for shale gas deposits in the area of Kent County, New Brunswick. This territory was never ceded in the Covenant Chain of Peace and Friendship treaties, and is claimed as traditional land by the Mikmaq and Maliseet peoples, who are members of the Wabanaki Confederacy, which is a Confederacy of nations that includes the Mi’kmaq, Maliseet, Passamaquoddy and Penobscot peoples.”
[excerpt from: Peoples Lawsuit Statement of Claim]
Mother Earth’s children are learning a new kind of dance… can you hear the drums?
Note: Activist Willi Nolan lives in Wabanaki-Mi’kmaq territory (Kent County, New Brunswick) in an area targeted for shale gas development. She began collaborating in 2013 with her lawyer, Larry Kowalchuk, who is now representing citizens in both the Peoples Lawsuit and the “Science Lawsuit.”
NOTE: This article was first published by the NB Media Co-op under the title: ‘‘Peace, Friendship and Bravery Meet the Colonial Shale Gas Complex” http://nbmediacoop.org/2014/07/26/peace-friendship-and-bravery-meet-the-colonial-shale-gas-complex-2/
Peoples Lawsuit – Main Page – http://willinolanspeaks.com/shares/peoples-lawsuit/
NBASGA Legal Action – http://www.noshalegasnb.ca/our-strategies/legal-action/
Wabanaki – Wikipedia – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wabanaki
Rule of Law – Wikipedia – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rule_of_Law
Peoples Lawsuit Statement of Claim – https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B5JmzR9UoeLQNDgzNTN0bEs4blRPNWM0VW5mc1VUTzZRTWM0/edit?usp=sharing
Supreme Court of Canada decision Williams/Tsilhqot’in First Nations decision [PDF] https://s3.amazonaws.com/s3.documentcloud.org/documents/1209518/supreme-court-ruling-william.pdf
KAIROS [short link http://ht.ly/xIOwj]
KAIROS has recently undertaken a research project on the Indigenous right to free, prior and informed consent (FPIC) regarding proposed resource extraction projects on Indigenous lands. Willi Nolan is a member of the reference group for this project and she has contributed this piece about resistance to hydraulic fracturing (or fracking) in New Brunswick. Willi is a semi-retired, veteran activist who has been based in New Brunswick for fifteen years. Focusing on citizen education and drawing on her grassroots experience and Aboriginal teachings, she is playing a key role in defending the peoples, lands and waters in Wabanaki-Mi’kmaq District of Sikniktuk against threats from oil and gas companies. The views expressed in this article are not necessarily those of KAIROS.
by Willi Nolan
The harsh, violent and public denial of the right of Mi’kmaq peoples in New Brunswick to free prior and informed consent (FPIC) to shale gas developments on their lands made it to the news and table discussions everywhere. And it is still providing global citizens with an insight into a shocking, inspiring and historic movement of allied peoples in Canada who are under extreme threat and who are demanding to know who ordered the increasingly brutal assaults against peaceful land, water and human rights protectors in Canada in 2013, and why.    
The answers to questions about who is involved and why reveal the sinister continuance of a set of despicable, centuries-old, but only quietly spoken of, genocidal laws, policies and practices intended to completely eliminate Aboriginal rights in Canada. An examination of the answers reveals that New Brunswick is attempting to justify repression and brutality and that Canada is ignoring constitutional and international law including laws that protect human, civil and Aboriginal rights. Canada proceeds as if it has the right to subjugate, control and assimilate Aboriginal peoples as well as eliminate Aboriginal rights! Ironically, the same legislative trends also suppress some of the fundamental rights of settler peoples. The Glorious New Brunswick Shale Gas Rebellion has exposed tyranny and genocide and in so doing has become a model for communities seeking to eliminate unjust laws.   
Canada’s Mandatory Indian “Enfranchisement” Laws Have Never Been Repealed
It is shocking that laws for the mandatory “enfranchisement” (assimilation) of “Indians” have yet to be condemned or repealed. In Canada’s 1857 Gradual Civilization Act, Indians were granted the “privilege” of mandatory enfranchisement – forgoing their Indian status to become “civilized,” and to “no longer be deemed an Indian” with the “legal rights and habilities of Indians.” Some privilege! Another Act purporting “protection” of the “property of Indians” takes away Aboriginal peoples’ power to define their own territories, community members and leadership. It ignores community councils and well developed laws as well as economic and governance systems that had ensured peoples’ health and survival since time immemorial. Canada’s Indian Act is the first and only legislation in Canada specifically designed for a particular race of people.   
Despite the fact that FPIC is the human rights framework for negotiations between Indigenous peoples and States, the Canadian government claims that the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) is only “aspirational” and not legally binding. This view of FPIC is not shared by the people of New Brunswick. The Glorious New Brunswick Shale Gas Rebellion of 2013 has caused some legally problematic situations for provincial, federal and ‘enfranchised’ First Nations’ governments; their house of cards perches precariously. 
All the lands of the Wabanaki Confederacy, including Mi’kmaq territories, are unceded. Rights and title to the lands and waters are held communally by Aboriginal peoples themselves — and NOT by chiefs elected under the Indian Act. A failure to recognize this fact has led traditional authorities and members of the Wabanaki Confederacy to challenge decisions made in contempt of their inherent rights.    
As citizen education about shale gas took place across all cultural sectors, settler-citizens of Wabanaki-New Brunswick began asserting their collective rights and demanding that laws meant to ensure governments act in the best interest of their citizens are upheld! New, profound and powerful legal questions are being asked. The alliances between settlers and Aboriginal people are asserting pressure on industry representatives and law makers who overstep their jurisdiction and act too blatantly in the interests of corporations. People are not only upholding the Treaties, they are demanding that they be governed by the Rule of Law. 
The Glorious New Brunswick Shale Gas Rebellion is a living expression of peace and friendship between people who have survived centuries of colonial rule and oppression. A statement from the New Brunswick Shale Gas Alliance superbly sums up this solidarity relationship. “We stand in solidarity with these representatives of the Original Peoples, and that we will continue our common struggle together to have the technology known as “hydraulic fracturing” outlawed across all the Maritimes and in any and all other traditional lands of the Original People.” It is noteworthy that the Alliance has also called for an independent public inquiry into the police raid on a peaceful protest camp in Rexton on October 17th, 2013.  
Allied Movement Downplayed by Media Spin
Despite media reports focused on the support of Highway 11 Land Defenders for Elsipogtog and warriors, the “movement” did not begin or end near Rexton, New Brunswick on October 17, 2013. Decades old settler movements to live in peace and friendship and uphold the inherent rights of Indigenous peoples have become part of the fabric of Wabanaki Territory-Atlantic Canada. By October 17, violent police treatment of peaceful protesters had been ongoing for almost 5 months and the anti-shale gas movement had been building support for five years. Global media attention arrived in time to deliver impressive coverage of the prayerful women, visiting environmental activists, camouflaged warriors and sniper squads who happened to be on the scene on or after October 17 – the day everyone was traumatized. At this time, facts were manipulated, divisions were created and misinformation and partial truths began to shape journalistic, judicial and public opinion. 
Many people saw the anti-shale gas movement gain strength when Elsipogtog’s elected Chief and Council gave it public support. Well publicized meetings with Chief Aaren Sock, the Premier and their attachés were held and media reported a series of closed-door meetings. An APTN report revealed handwritten notes from one of these closed meetings attended by Sock and Premier David Alward. The notes contained a timeline to end blockades of SWN machinery and allow the company to finish some of its exploration work. Independent media reported a rift between Mi’kmaq Warriors and elected Elsipogtog leadership. Involvement of the Idle No More movement allowed people to connect to broader movements to free people from cycles of corrupt and oppressive regimes. Indigenous leaders across Turtle Island sought their place in the learning, knowing and actions taking place in New Brunswick; people across the world are watching.    
It must surely sting veteran activists a little to hear claims such as “In the last 30 years of Canadian environmentalism, there has not been a major environmental victory won without First Nations at the helm.” Such misleading information feeds right into the Government of Canada’s plans for control of resources, the assimilation of Aboriginal peoples and the eventual takeover of Aboriginal territories. In fact, historic alliances between First peoples and settlers have strengthened environmental protection and respect for Treaty and Aboriginal rights (notwithstanding the present government’s policies on these matters). By people joining together to uphold Indigenous and human rights, global movements to protect the lands, waters and fundamental rights of all peoples are strengthened. The last hope for the environment is unity among the people of the earth.   
Colonial Industrial Complex Strategy: Make “Good Deals” with “First Nations”
The resource extraction industry’s approach to engaging with “First Nations” peoples on proposed projects includes an understanding “that First Nations now hold the balance of power in deciding the fate of Canada’s resource projects”, and this approach is designed to undermine Indigenous rights by manipulating language to make it sound otherwise. Industry advocates rattle on about “good deals” made with willing Natives, including the deals that led to the establishment of the tar sands projects. Former federal officials become Treaty negotiators and praise those who negotiated the terms of the oil sands projects for “doing it right” by supporting Aboriginal enterprises and employing thousands. Note the key words and phrases being used to attract under-educated First Peoples to “resource development”:“revenue sharing”, “building trust”, “treating First Nations as full partners” and “co-applicants before regulatory boards.”   
Enter “check mark consultation”, “culture pimping” (sometimes described as “consultation and accommodation” with “First Nations”) and the Colonial Industrial Complex. Indian Act band leaders advance their demands using terminology like “Treaty Right to Resources” and “Revenue Benefit Sharing”. They talk about their approach as a strategy to “foster good relations between industry, the Crown, and First Nations” in order to “improve the investment climate, and thereby enhance the economic potential.”   
Most attempts to achieve genuine “consultation” and “accommodation” processes are stymied by ever-rotating Chief and Council members, making it impossible to create long term analysis and plans – while the “consultants” stay the same. Industry and governments only want to talk to the people who Indian Affairs relies on to make decisions. No one is taking the time to hear what Aboriginal people and communities really want, and prospects for obtaining free, prior and informed consent based on collective rights are strangled. 
Pre-existing, collectively-held rights are never, or very rarely, mentioned within the colonial-industrial complex. Likewise, countries that are signatories to the UNDRIP rarely mention that they are required to recognize that the rights of Indigenous peoples to redress, restitution, settlement and dispute resolution. This applies to lands and resources, development activities, environmental protection, cultural rights, repatriation and judicial and legislative processes that may affect Indigenous peoples. Member states are required by law to provide fair, independent, impartial, open and transparent access to justice processes that give due recognition to the laws, traditions, customs, lands, territories and resources of Indigenous peoples. 
But instead of affirming pre-existing and lawfully affirmed rights, there is a careful avoidance of the words “free”, “prior” and “informed” “consent” and “traditional authority” in agreements made with “First Nations” leadership. Well-meaning Canadian settlers are similarly misled to believe that they don’t have any real property rights and that only “First Nations” peoples on “reservations” do. But then, the misinformation and enfranchisement agenda included them from the beginning. Divide and conquer.
There are some high stakes games being played. It comes down to the core issues of the right of Indigenous peoples to give or withhold consent to use their lands and resources, the extinguishment of Indigenous peoples’ rights and genocide. You can’t experience the right to free, prior and informed consent at the frightened end of a tyrant’s fist. The colonial-industrial complex raised its fists against protectors of the lands and waters in Wabanaki in 2013. Let Peace and Friendship prevail.
– A KAIROS resource to facilitate discussion on hydraulic fracturing for shale gas and oil – Ethical Reflections on Fracking.
The Huffington Post. October 18, 2013 http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/bill-gallagher/new-brunswick-fracking-protest_b_4123114.html In oil sands, a native millionaire sees ‘economic force’ for first nations. By Nathan Vanderklippe. Globe & Mail. Aug. 13 2012 http://www.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business/industry-news/energy-and-resources/in-oil-sands-a-native-millionaire-sees-economic-force-for-first-nations/article4479795/  Treaty Right to Resources, Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations. Retrieved Jan. 20. 2014. http://www.fsin.com/index.php/treaty-right-to-resources.html  Green home brings electricity, clean water and jobs to Navajo Nation residents. By , Navajo Hopi Observer. December 10, 2013 http://www.navajohopiobserver.com/main.asp?SectionID=1&SubsectionID=1&ArticleID=15895  German solar producing as much as 20 fully operational nuclear power stations
Even my body belongs to Mother Earth. She is Boss over ALL the lands and waters.
It makes me cry sometimes when I hear people talk about “resource development,” because it always means exploitation at minimum and savage desecration at its extreme. We can do so much better. We have to.
The new conversation has begun. Gradually, hearts and minds and souls wake up to the possible. We can build a good way of life for all people. We can do this every time we stand together and share our power. We can do it now, we have the power. It’s Creation’s power. It’s collective power.
Meet our newest enemy: False Ego. This trickster would have you believe you have the right to make a living even if it means destroying the lands and waters. I will not place my trust or my energy in the desecration, rape and exploitation of Our Mother. There is no welcome for that Trickster at my lodge.
Say hello to our worst enemy: Fear. I’ll tell you what I think we gotta do about that one, we tell him we have no time for that now. Kiss that monster on the nose and keep going. Walk in that place of Protection and Peace, knowing that you walk with all of Creation’s army and that nothing is stronger than our love for the Earth and for each other.
Msit No’kmaq – All My Relations
Tan Tesic No’kmaq – All My Relations – plant and animal relatives too!
I am Little Fire Always Burning – Willi Nolan
29 June 2014
WE DO NOT OWN MOTHER EARTH – WE BELONG TO HER]]>
Earlier today, the ‘Peoples Lawsuit,’ was filed in St. John to stop Southwestern Energy Resources Canada (SWN) and the Canadian government from continuing involvement in shale gas operations in the province. A Notice of Action to enjoin the province of New Brunswick in the lawsuit was filed separately.
After local activist Willi Nolan was obliged to defend herself and “Jane Doe” — who is any of the yet-unnamed protesters who have not, but could be named — in SWN’s SLAPP lawsuit against her. She retained lawyer Larry Kowalchuck and gathered allies together to launch a private lawsuit. Today, she and seventeen more Plaintiffs brought their case before the New Brunswick courts.
Lorraine Clair, speaking on behalf of the Plaintiffs, said “Speaking on behalf of my family and I, we want our land and water to stay as it is for us and more important our future generations. With this, we want all oil and gas companies to stay off our lands and waters and to end any future plans of coming into our Hunting, Medicine and Burial grounds. We also wish to ask for damages from the companies and their contractors who have already caused harm to us and our land.”
Plaintiff, Marcel White, states “The courts have to do their part to stop climate change and protect our lives. We are demanding that they permanently remove the extreme threats that that we are facing from shale gas development in the Peoples Lawsuit.”
The Plaintiffs and their lawyer believe that the governments of Canada and New Brunswick and their courts have attacked their rights by illegally granting approval to SWN to develop shale gas, ignore environmental protection laws and unlawfully use malicious lawsuits and police aggression to attack and repress protectors of civil and human rights.
Lawyer Larry Kowalchuck states, “After being traumatized by aggression against peaceful protesters, regaining confidence in the Rule of Law is essential for the protection, peace and security of the people of New Brunswick. This lawsuit is a tool that we are using to offer protective exposure to those men and women who have been placed at risk because they are struggling for the respect of their rights and the Rule of Law. I am humbled and honoured to represent courageous people whose genuine intent is to protect their threatened lives, lands and waters. We are asking the New Brunswick courts to grant the people and all the life forms that they are defending an injunction against shale gas development and reparations for the wrongdoings that they have suffered.”
The legal action asks the courts to evaluate its commitment to human rights and fairness in judicial proceedings, to right the many wrongdoings and to uphold the Rule of Law, Peace and Friendship Treaties and the lawful rights of both indigenous people and citizens.
Willi Nolan says, “I know this is a big step but I have no fear. We are doing what needs to be done.”
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Contacts: Lorraine Clair (506) 523-8291 <lorrainetootoo4life@gmail.
Background information –
Peoples Lawsuit – http://willinolanspeaks.com/
* All Stars * PEOPLES LAWSUIT PLAINTIFFS – http://willinolanspeaks.com/
*JANE DOE TO MAKE HER CASE VS. FRACKING COMPANY SWN RESOURCES* –http://atlantic.sierraclub.ca/
Frack Back! The Peoples Lawsuit web page – http://peopleslawsuit.com
Facebook page – https://www.facebook.com/
“Jane Doe” SLAPPs Back! Defending Lawsuit to Silence & Intimidate Anti-Fracking Protestshttp://willinolanspeaks.com/
NB Referata Wiki – http://nb.referata.com/wiki
Statement of Claim Court file number (St. John Court of Queen’s Bench) S-C/263/14
June 24, 2014
Moncton, New Brunswick
Frack Back! Grassroots Peoples Prepare to Sue Southwestern Energy,
Canada and New Brunswick Governments to Stop Shale Gas Development
Group Charges Violations of Constitutional, Aboriginal, Environmental and Human Rights Laws
A group of courageous citizens is expected to announce the court filing of the ‘Peoples Lawsuit’ against the province of New Brunswick, the government of Canada and Southwestern Energy Resources Canada Inc. (SWN) in Moncton on Thursday, June 26, 2014. The media is invited to listen in at the Moncton Library, 644 Main at 2 p.m.
The ‘Peoples Lawsuit’ is being prepared to demand that the courts permanently remove the threats and risks from shale gas development that they are facing. The group of individuals and their lawyer, Larry Kowalchuk, believe that the governments of Canada and New Brunswick and their courts have attacked their rights to object and granted illegal approval to SWN to develop shale gas, ignore environmental protection laws and unlawfully use police and malicious lawsuits to suppress and silence protectors of civil and human rights.
After local activist Willi Nolan was named in an injunction and SLAPP lawsuit last October, which she is defending on behalf of herself and “Jane Doe,” she retained a lawyer and invited some of her friends and neighbours to launch private lawsuits.
Spokespeople for Peoples Lawsuit will be on hand to take questions from the media.
– 30 –
For more information, please contact us!
Background information –
*JANE DOE TO MAKE HER CASE VS. FRACKING COMPANY SWN RESOURCES* –http://atlantic.sierraclub.ca/
Frack Back! The Peoples Lawsuit web page – http://peopleslawsuit.com
Facebook page – https://www.facebook.com/
“Jane Doe” SLAPPs Back! Defending Lawsuit to Silence & Intimidate Anti-Fracking Protests http://willinolanspeaks.com/
NB Referata Wiki – http://nb.referata.com/wiki
Via fax and email: (506) 453-7407 <firstname.lastname@example.org> <email@example.com>
New Brunswick Premier & Minister David Alward
P. O. Box 6000
Dear Premier Alward:
I write with deep concern and in awareness of the demand for public inquiry delivered to you by the New Brunswick Anti Shale Gas Alliance (NBASGA) regarding the disturbing events that took place in Rexton on October 17, 2013.
Your government policies and actions with regard to development on native reserved (“Crown”) lands, shale gas developments in particular at this time, are creating widespread distress to countless members of our communities. The peaceful, non-violent opponents of the ruination of the lands and waters, along with their many allies, including true authorities of First Peoples, Amnesty International, doctors, scientists and economists, deserve a government that is there for them when their survival is on the line… as is now evident with the threats they are facing, and harm already caused, by your permitting these operations.
Our peoples in the province, and beyond, have been victimized. They are understandably deeply concerned that further violent incidents, such as what happened in Rexton last October 17th, could happen again. The peoples concerns are abundantly and clearly stated and they are amply justified; they do not approve of actions taken and sanctioned by your government, and they have been harmed. Given the reasoned appeals and growing public outcry for a public inquiry into these events, the people deserve to be certain that justice and the Rule of Law are being respectfully observed in New Brunswick. This is necessary in the public interest and essential for the public good.
As Premier, it is now incumbent upon you to facilitate a full, arm’s length and independent public inquiry into the circumstances and events culminating in the RCMP raid on a peaceful protest camp near Rexton on October 17th. The citizens of New Brunswick need, demand and have every right to know all the circumstances surrounding the escalation in the use of force by corporate and provincial security personnel, what precipitated the use of violence, and how the peoples can be assured that there will never be a recurrence.
I am grateful for and in full agreement with the legal opinions expressed by Amnesty International, the world’s foremost human rights organization, in its November 1, 2013 letter to you. The violence at Rexton most certainly “could have been avoided had the province acted in a manner consistent with its obligations to respect the human rights of Indigenous peoples under Canadian and international law”. In that letter, you were warned that without appropriate action, further clashes could occur. I hope and pray that you will heed this warning and change direction away from the dangerous and cruel path that you are forcing upon troubled and vulnerable peoples.
Please be advised that I, as Wilhelmina (Willi) Nolan, as a named defendant and/or “Jane Doe”, am pursuing legal action against third parties in relation to Southwestern Energy’s (SWN-Resources Canada Inc.) SLAPP suit. I have stated my understanding that the province of New Brunswick is ignoring its legal obligations to indigenous peoples and provincial citizens under Canadian and international law. I look forward to judicial scrutiny of the full nature and extent of the province’s violations of the aboriginal and human rights of our peoples as well as your responsibilities as an individual, Premier and Minister. I have every intention of pursuing this matter to the fullest possible extent of the Rule of Law.
It is impossible for me to understand what happened in the days leading up to October 17 that made the police think the situation had changed so radically after years of peaceful protest. For years, thousands of New Brunswickers, myself included, have written appeals to your offices, visited peaceful demonstrations and and offered support for the movement to protect our precious lands and waters.
Witnesses have publicly reported that there was no threat to public safety at the Rexton camp until police, accompanied by dogs and snipers in camouflage, attacked unarmed civilians, including women and children, with pepper spray, drawn handguns and non-lethal rounds. I was shocked and distressed to see an incident where an old woman praying the rosary was pepper-sprayed in the face. Did you order this level of violence against the camp?
When a court injunction against the peaceful protest was to be heard the very next day, why did you order the RCMP to raid the Rexton protest camp on October 17th? I would not want to believe that it was actually your intent to silence citizen engagement and judicial process. That would most certainly create an even more grievous ‘black eye’ on the province.
There are too many gravely serious and unanswered questions about the specific circumstances leading to the lamentable incidents that took place in Rexton. I find myself now also concerned about continuing negative impact following these incidents; please be aware that further harms are being suffered by many of our peoples seeking justice under the New Brunswick correction and court systems. Because the Province of New Brunswick itself became a player in these circumstances and events, its unfortunate position is in conflict of interest which precludes it from organizing or conducting an impartial public inquiry.
You must answer the public call without delay and empower the people of New Brunswick to conduct an independent, impartial public inquiry, held at arm’s length from the government. A few of the unanswered questions already expressed to you by the New Brunswick Anti Shale Gas Alliance include:
– Why were police continuing to allow citizens to enter the Rexton site, considering that the police themselves claim it was a dangerous situation threatening public safety, but drove away persons from the media (excepting one Brunswick News reporter who was curiously there at dawn)?
– Why didn’t police consult with First Nations chiefs who were vocal advocates of non-violence; especially why did they arrest a respected chief who had repeatedly stressed the importance of peaceful protest in the midst of inflamed situations?
– Why, despite a massive police presence at the camp, six RCMP vehicles were left unattended; how they could be set on fire with no police intervention and, to date, no arrests of suspects for arson?
I fully agree with you that “the truth cannot be silenced” and I look forward to your favourable response to this letter and to the citizen appeals for a public inquiry at your earliest convenience. Thank you for your attention to these matters.
Yours very truly,
Willi (Wilhelmina) Nolan
Cc: Noel Joe Augustine, Keptin Mi’kmaq Grand Council Sikniktuk District; His Excellency the Right Honourable David Johnston, Governor General of Canada; Hon. Graydon Nicholas, New Brunswick Lieutenant Governor; Hon. Dominic Leblanc, MP Beauséjour; Passamaquoddy Chief Hugh Akaji; Penobscot Chief Dave Mitchell; Dan Ennis, Saugem, Wulustukieg Traditional Council of Tobic; members of Wabanaki Confederacy;Brian Gallant, Leader NB Liberal Party; David Coon, Leader NB Green Party; Dominic Cardy, Leader NB NDP; Kris Austin, Leader People’s Alliance; Charles Murray, New Brunswick Ombudsman; members of the New Brunswick Anti Shale Gas Alliance, members of The Council of Canadians; Prof. James Anaya, Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights; members of Amnesty International.
enclosed: text of Dec 111, 2013 Times and Transcript article “New Brunswick Anti-Shale Gas Alliance wants ‘unanswered questions’ looked at surrounding incident on Oct. 17 that led to 40 arrests”
(article) New Brunswick Times & Transcript DEC 11, 2013
New Brunswick Anti-Shale Gas Alliance wants ‘unanswered questions’ looked at surrounding incident on Oct. 17 that led to 40 arrests
By COLE HOBSON, TIMES & TRANSCRIPT
The New Brunswick Anti-Shale Gas Alliance is asking the provincial government for an independent, public inquiry into events surrounding the Oct. 17 clash between shale gas protesters and the RCMP that led to an eruption of violence and 40 arrests along Route 134 near Rexton.
The group believes the people of New Brunswick have a right to know the reasons behind the escalation in the use of force used by RCMP, with the group saying there are ‘many unanswered questions’ about what transpired along the highway that day.
Jim Emberger, a spokesman for New Brunswick Anti-Shale Gas Alliance, said the discussion in the past couple of months has been about the demonstration and protests, but they want to return the dialogue to the pertinent information and scientific studies surrounding shale gas itself.
Yesterday was International Human Rights Day and the group used the opportunity to echo the concerns expressed in an Amnesty International letter to Premier David Alward and his cabinet dated on Nov. 1.
That letter stated that unless steps are taken to rebuild the relationship with Indigenous Peoples with respect to resource development, further incidents could occur.
Amnesty International said in the letter that this incident ‘could have been avoided had the province acted in a manner consistent with its obligations to respect the human rights of Indigenous peoples under Canadian and international law.’ The Alliance believes that if Amnesty International is raising concern about human rights issues in New Brunswick, citizens should be concerned as well.
‘We would like an independent public inquiry to examine what role this failure to respect the human rights of Indigenous peoples may have played in the events leading up to Oct. 17,’ said Emberger. ‘An independent, impartial inquiry held at arm’s length from government is necessary because the provincial government itself played a role in those events.’ It was during that October confrontation that the Mounties noted they found guns and firebombs at the protest camp and while the two sides squared off in the middle of Route 134 several police vehicles were set on fire. Some protesters claim the weapons were planted by police and the police cars were set ablaze by police ‘agents provocateurs’ but the end result was 40 arrests and six protesters behind bars facing charges ranging from weapons offences to assaulting police officers to unlawfully confining security guards who felt they couldn’t safely leave from behind the barricaded compound.
Alward has called it a ‘black eye’ on the province and said in a Moncton speech on Monday that he was troubled by what SWN was put through during their seismic exploration process, but was pleased they ‘persevered’ through the controversy.
Alward said it’s easy to be against things, ‘but very rarely do these opponents bring forward alternative ideas,’ he said, noting it’s ‘difficult to argue with those who use misinformation and false statements to promote fear and division within our communities. But I believe the truth cannot be silenced.’ Emberger contended that the government has been acting with blinders on, as he said for three years groups like theirs have been ready and willing to present alternative options and factual information to the government.
‘They are not responding in any way to options that have (been presented) in three years,’ he said, noting everything they’ve put forward has been based on peer-reviewed science and reliable reports.
The Alliance represents community groups and voices from across New Brunswick who are opposed to unconventional oil and gas development. While putting forward information about the potential risks of unconventional oil and gas development, the group also explore and promote clean energy and economic alternatives.
Emberger said they have seen studies showing that as an example, the clean energy economy in Massachusetts has created close to three times as many direct jobs as in Pennsylvania with jobs related to shale gas development.
Emberger said with the support their group has throughout the province, he has a hard time believing Alward’s assertions that most of what he’s hearing on the ground is overall support for the industry.
‘It’s not like we’re not telling anyone, but if you’re not listening you won’t hear it,’ he said.
‘We will admit that shale gas will do something, but it’s up to the government to make the case that it’s the economic and even more than that environmentally correct thing to do in particular in terms of all the news of all the climate change (issues).’ Emberger believes different methods, other than force, could have been used to achieve the goal of enforcing the injunction on Oct. 17 and believes it didn’t have to come to what it did.
‘This was civil disobedience and people were prepared to be arrested and had been all summer,’ he said. ‘The fact that people were surprised early in the morning as the first thing they saw were people with sniper rifles, sitting in fields all around. That’s not going from step one to step two, that’s going from step one to step 15. So our question is, OK, what did you know that made you think that you had to go to a military-style assault on what has been a peaceful demonstration?’ In the aftermath of the Oct. 17 incident, RCMP Assistant Commissioner Roger Brown said threat to public safety posed by lethal weapons and escalating tensions at the Rexton blockade forced them to take action against protesters.
Brown said on Oct. 18 at a press conference that in addition to 40 arrests and the six police cars being destroyed, several shots were fired by persons unknown within the encampment, potentially deadly explosives were seized and police officers discharged ‘soft rounds’ of bean-bag-like projectiles and pepper spray.
He said experts had to defuse several improvised explosive devices found at the blockade, where protesters had been encamped for close to three weeks.
‘Some contained shrapnel and had the potential to seriously injure or kill,’ Brown said. ‘This was no longer a peaceful protest, and there was a serious threat to public safety.’ Emberger said the presence of legally owned hunting rifles at a campsite in New Brunswick during hunting season isn’t cause for alarm. He said it also seems suspicious that despite the police cars lit on fire, there hasn’t been an arrest made for arson in relation to the incident. As for the other dangerous weapons found, he said he couldn’t comment as he never saw them, but he would like to see some context provided by the RCMP on what was found and how it was discovered.
‘From what we can see,’ Emberger said, ‘there was no threat to public safety until police, advancing with drawn guns and accompanied by dogs and snipers in camouflage, attacked unarmed civilians, including women and children, with pepper spray and non-lethal rounds.’ A request for comment from the Premier’s office was not returned by press time.
In the end, Emberger said he doesn’t believe the government will act on their request for an inquiry.
‘Do I have confidence the government will actually do anything about this … I think the answer is no,’ he said, noting he believes the Alward government will ultimately lose the next election based on their ‘my way or the highway’ attitude on issues.
He added that in the new year their group, in co-ordination with others to be named, will be doing a concentrated education and electoral campaign about issues relating to shale gas.
The NBASGA said they and other anti-shale groups have been engaged in peaceful education, discussion and debate for three years and it is their intent to continue.
The group said it recognizes that peaceful protest may include civil disobedience, but never violence, and feel acts of civil disobedience have occurred only because of government refusal to address citizen concerns in any meaningful way.
‘The current and continuing threat of violence was initiated by the RCMP and government in the Rexton raid,’ said Emberger. ‘This violence has drawn the public’s attention away from the important issues, and also from the coverage of recent significant scientific, economic and political reports and events concerning shale gas.’
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Read more background with links to court filings:
“Jane Doe” SLAPPs Back! Defending Lawsuit to Silence & Intimidate Anti-Fracking Protests – http://willinolanspeaks.com/shares/jane-doe-slapps-back-defending-lawsuit-to-silence-intimidate-anti-fracking-protests/
NB Referata Wiki – Main Page – http://nb.referata.com/wiki/Main_Page
New Brunswick Anti-Shale Gas Alliance Calls for Public Inquiry into October 17 Raid – http://protectalbertcounty.wordpress.com/2013/12/10/nbasga-calls-for-inquiry/
Open Letter to Premier David Alward from Amnesty International concerning anti-fracking protests at the Elsipogtog Mi’kmaq Nation Nov. 1, 2013 – http://www.amnesty.ca/news/coalition-letters/open-letter-concerning-anti-fracking-protests-at-the-elsipogtog-mi%E2%80%99kmaq-natio
You can find links to Support Willi Nolan’s Spirit Led Activism here