“The March 12 Court Injunction to remove the Stop Alton Gas Treaty Truckhouse is Sustainable Northern Nova Scotia’s (SuNNS) opportunity to stand with this courageous group of Water and Treaty Protectors. We feel it is important to state our commitment to the Mi’kmaq Water Protectors in a public way as our solidarity acknowledges the legal Treaty relationships and responsibilities which the Mi’kmaq Water Protectors have been safeguarding,” says SuNNS spokesperson Paul Jenkinson.
SuNNS acknowledges the inspirational work of Mi’kmaq Water Protector Dale Andrew Poulette, Grandmother Water Protector Dorene Bernard and others such as Rachel Greenland–Smith. SuNNS also stands with all the individuals who have supported the Stop Alton Gas Treaty Truckhouse during the two years it has stood protecting the Shubenacadie River.
SuNNS decries the bullying legal maneuvers by Alton Gas especially the recent Court Injunction to remove Mi’kmaq Water Protectors from the Stop Alton Gas Treaty Truckhouse site.
“Alton Gas has chosen to drop the legal gavel on this grassroots group of Indigenous Water Protectors even while it ignores recent Federal environmental developments. Alton Gas knows that Environment and Climate Change Canada announced the intention of developing regulations governing the deposit of brine. This is the exact environmental risk that the Alton Gas Project represents to the Shubenacadie River. You would think that Alton Gas would wait to see what the new regulations regarding dumping brine in a river look like before proceeding legally but this is not the case,” says Jenkinson.
Hannah Martin, Mi’kmaq young adult leader and member of SuNNS, notes “when public organizations step up and support Indigenous water protection efforts these actions foster networks of mutual support,” Martin says. “I am hopeful that our combined efforts will move all governments, organizations and individuals concerned with environmental issues, Indigenous and non-Indigenous alike, toward the common goal of stopping irresponsible resource storage efforts by companies like Alton Gas.”
The Treaty Truckhouse water protection efforts are based on the Treaty Rights of the Mi’kmaq people. SuNNS notes these rights have been historically defended in Nova Scotia by a litany of Mi’kmaq activists like the late Donald Marshall Jr.
“You can be sure that the courtroom will be full of Mi’kmaq Water Protectors and allies eager to see if the Crown and it’s court will act honorably”, says Jenkinson. Every Treaty related court case is a test of the Federal and Provincial Government’s commitment to Treaties, to reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples and to the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People. On March 12, the Court will have the opportunity to affirm or deny the UN Declaration specifically Article Ten which states “the rights of Indigenous Peoples not to be forcibly removed from their lands and territories without the Free Prior and Informed Consent of those concerned.”