KJIPUKTUK (Halifax) – A delegation lead by war chief Jim Maloney of the Sipeknekatik Band traveled to the Shediac, New Brunswick constituency office of Dominic Leblanc, the federal minister of Fisheries and Oceans.
The group asserted their treaty rights and demanded action on the Alton Gas storage project that will cause salt brine to be dumped in the Shubenacadie River as the storage caverns are being created.
They told the minister that the river will be defended, whatever that may take.
The Sipeknekatik Band members want the minister to stop the imminent dumping of salt brine through designation of the Bay of Fundy rivers and streams as critical habitat for Inner Bay of Fundy salmon, an endangered species. That designation has been in the works for years.
The delegation was joined by residents of Elsipogtog and New Brunswick and Nova Scotia allies.
The groups also oppose other projects that they believe put the Bay of Fundy at risk, such as the installation of turbines to generate electricity. Yet the Alton Gas project is considered the most urgent issue at this time.
“The Shubenacadie River has been under many attacks, but this attack is the larges yet,” Jim Maloney told a constituency worker representing the minister in a meeting that was live-streamed on Facebook.
“Now they want to put more salt in the river than they use in Nova Scotia in five winters,” said Jim Maloney. “Can you imagine that?”
Treaty rights ignored
The Band believes that its treaty right to grant or withhold consent were ignored when the Alton Gas project was given the provincial go-ahead.
“The Royal Proclamation and the Treaties have a requirement for the consent of equal partners,” said Cheryl Maloney, president of the Nova Scotia Native Women’s Association, who has spearheaded much of the resistance to the Alton Gas project.
“We, the heirs to the Treaties, are demanding our consent in our territories, especially the River,” said Cheryl Maloney. “We are prepared to defend that right, and this is our warning.”
An event is scheduled at the Alton Gas river site for this Sunday, September 4th. Check Facebook for further details.