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First Nation criticizes RCMP as it promises to continue fight against shale gas


 

ELSIPOGTOG FIRST NATION, N.B. – The people of the Elsipogtog First Nation will continue their fight against shale gas exploration in New Brunswick, the community’s chief said Monday as he criticized the RCMP for the way it handled a protest last week that spiralled out of control.

“What the RCMP put our people through was almost horrendous, to say the least,” Aaron Sock told a news conference.

Sock said every effort will be made to keep its opposition peaceful after 40 people were arrested and weapons seized when the Mounties enforced a court-ordered injunction Thursday to end the blockade of a compound near Rexton, where SWN Resources stored exploration equipment and vehicles.

On Monday, a judge with the Court of Queen’s Bench in Moncton, N.B., lifted that injunction, saying it was no longer required since the energy company’s equipment and vehicles have been removed from the site and the protesters are no longer blocking the road.

Grand Chief Derek Nepinak of the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs is in New Brunswick to show his support for Elsipogtog and said the RCMP’s actions last week were heavy-handed.

“I think every Canadian should be concerned when we look at the use of coercive state power against indigenous people,” he said.

Elsipogtog member Amy Sock lifted her arms to show bruises on her biceps that she says she received when she was arrested at the protest site.

Assistant commissioner Roger Brown, the RCMP’s commanding officer in the province, has defended the police response, saying officers seized firearms and improvised explosive devices that were a threat to public safety.

Sock was among those arrested last week. Police say the arrests were for firearms offences, threats, intimidation, mischief and violating the injunction.

Six police vehicles including an unmarked van were burned and the RCMP said they had Molotov cocktails tossed at them. In response, police fired non-lethal beanbag type bullets and used pepper spray to defuse the situation.

The burned vehicles were removed from the area Sunday night and taken to nearby Rexton.

RCMP Const. Julie Rogers-Marsh said the force is pleased with efforts from all sides to restore peace at the protest site.

“Anyone who wants to demonstrate can do so in a peaceful and lawful manner,” she said Monday.

“Criminal behaviour of some individuals in recent days is not representative of the greater First Nations community.”

Sock said no decisions have been made on how Elsipogtog will proceed but he expects a meeting later this week with Premier David Alward, whose government believes shale gas exploration can be done while protecting the environment and encouraging economic growth.

A spokesman for the premier’s office said he expects a meeting to be held this week, but no arrangements have been made yet.

On Monday, the Assembly of First Nations Chiefs issued a statement, calling for the provincial government to suspend the permits granted to SWN Resources so that a cooling period can take hold.

“There has to be recognition on behalf of the government that the consultation process has failed,” said Chief George Ginnish. “The Assembly has been telling the government and SWN for years that the phased approach to consultation is incompatible with the aboriginal perspective, and that it was not working.”

A small group of people remains at the protest site on Route 134. There are tents and many signs opposing shale gas exploration and the presence of SWN Resources in the province.

The RCMP blocked Route 134 three weeks ago after protesters began spilling onto the road. Protesters then cut down trees and placed them across another part of the road, blocking the entrance to the company’s equipment compound.

The protesters want SWN Resources to stop seismic testing and leave the province. The company says it’s only in the early stages of exploration in New Brunswick.


 
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First Nation criticizes RCMP as it promises to continue fight against shale gas

  1. This comment was deleted.

    • Great idea. Let’s start a shooting war with people that live in every corner or this country, but most particularly where the resources are. What could possibly go wrong with that plan.

      • Oka Crisis. Military handled it back then, and they can sure as hell handle it now.

        If they’re actually intending to have a shooting war, then we’ve got a serious problem that needs to be dealt with via the military. If some home-grown terrorist group wants to fight, then they’re going to get one hell of a fight.

        • Yes the military handled Oka well – if you remember they did not actually shoot anyone. Get real,a shooting war with FNs in this country is simply too nuts to contemplate.

          • Nobody wants it, but if the FN’s are going to set up armed encampments along road and rail, threaten or illegally search vehicles, or destroy police cruisers… well. they’re looking for a fight.

          • I’m gonna go out on a limb, based on your other comments. You do want it.

          • Last time I checked a number of ‘First Nations’ persons of interest flew to Libya for “special training”.

            Guess you hadn’t heard about that one.

          • Source please.

    • How about looking at why this keeps happening and then engage in some constructive land claim settlements rather than allowing them to drag on for decades. Insist that the govt adhere to the treaties and to their obligations .

      • There are NO legitimate land claims… anybody with a claim to any land is going to be 200 years old.

        Stop the payouts, get rid of the reserves… problem solved.

        • You have evidence for that opinion of course? Like legal evidence not Ezra. I think the judgement of the SCoC weighs a little more heavily here on native rights then yours.

        • I defer to your wisdom which is obviously greater than that of the Supreme Court of Canada and the Royal Commission on Aboriginal People,. It is not anybody but rather nations which signed treaties with the crown.

          • You mean the same one that supports the whole “Indian Act” and the requirement that any Native American being charged with a crime have his sentence lessened because he’s an “Indian”, even if that crime is murder?

            Stuff it.

          • Thanks for sharing your wisdom.

  2. Terrorist is what they are plain and simple….

    • Aren’t you being a little hard on the cops?

      Seriously, stop reading Blatchford’s bilge.

  3. Commenters who don’t use their real names or profiles to “own” the messages they post should all be ignored.

    I own the messages I post. We are not terrorists, nor are these “armed” encampments, riots or any of the other terminology our media has been playing the last few days.

    SWN just lost their injunction… If I were people looking into this situation, then I would explore the legal standings that got this injunction denied in court today.

    • Yeah, they were armed.

      And the violence started the moment they seized the equipment of the company and threatened the employees if they tried to do their jobs.

    • You are terrorists.

      You are creating armed encampments and road blocks. Illegal ones.

      You will be dealt with. Period.

      • And you’re the kind of moron who runs roughshod over important distinctions in the language. It was a few young hot heads with what – 3 old rifles and some pipe bombs. That is serious but it hardly warrants the use of the terrorist label.

  4. This isn’t an aboriginal-only issue. All people of Canada should stand up for our environment. Really how many Canadians actually benefit financially or otherwise from destroying the environment?

    • Damn near all Canadians so benefit.

      The most devastating destruction of ecosystems is imposed by farming and habitation.

      Much of southern Ontario is a wasteland of farms and artificial woodlots, or paved roads and buildings, a far cry from the pristine forests that once stood there.

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