The Power of Informed Protest

Thank you for the Moratorium

Willi Nolan, Marcel White, Isaya Fiola, Jean Sebastien Theriault


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.[1]  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 [2]  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. [3]

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. [4] [5]  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 [6], private First Nations consulting and negotiation companies [7] for ‘TransCanaDeath‘, the Transcanada East Energy pipeline project.[8]

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. [9]  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… [10] [11] [12]

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.[13]  They also kicked the banksters out and made them eat their losses.[14]

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
November 2014


[1] Frack Back! Peoples Lawsuit

[2] RCMP watchdog reviews police handling of shale gas protests | CBC News Oct 14, 2014

[3]New Brunswick election: Brian Gallant Liberals win majority government Green Party Breakthrough.  Technical glitches stalled vote counting for nearly two hours Monday night, 32-year-old Gallant becomes youngest premier | Toronto Star September 22, 2014

[4] NB premier, Mi’kmaq chief discussed ending blockade, allowing shale gas exploration to continue, handwritten notes reveal

[5] Burns Lake Band members, including a child, evicted from their blockade by armed riot police | West Coast Native News April 7, 2013

[6]  Former AFN chief Phil Fontaine hired by TransCanada Pipeline Ltd | Warrior Publications Dec 9, 2013

[7] Negotiations: Treaty implementation with the Province of New Brunswick, and the Government of Canada | Assembly of First Nations’ Chiefs in New Brunswick Inc. | May 07, 2014

[8] Energy companies struggle with aboriginal needs on pipelines  | by Shawn McArthy,  Globe and Mail Ottawa Dec. 08 2013. Last updated Friday, May. 16 2014 (retrieved 27 Nov2014)

[9] Canada Responds to Tsilhqot’in in Supreme Court Case:  Extinguishment or Nothing!  By Russel Diabo, First Nations Strategic Bulletin Aug-Oct 2014.

[9] NB premier, Mi’kmaq chief discussed ending blockade, allowing shale gas exploration to continue, handwritten notes reveal | APTN National News 9 Oct 2013

[10]  Lawyer condemns arrests of Burnaby Mountain protesters while appeals are before courts |

[11]  Judge dismisses all civil contempt charges against Burnaby Mountain Protesters | Burnaby Now Nov 27 2014

[12] “Fabulous” victory for Burnaby Mountain protesters as court rejects Kinder Morgan contempt charges

[13]  In Iceland, When Police Kill a Gunman, They Apologize | Bloomberg View Dec 2 2013

[14]  Top Economists: Iceland Did It Right … And Everyone Else Is Doing It Wrong | WashingtonsBlog  August 25, 2012