KJIPUKTUK (Halifax) – A peaceful occupation of the Lands and Forestry office in Halifax in support of the threatened mainland moose was abruptly ended by Halifax police after two hours.
The handful of demonstrators were dragged out of the lobby by Halifax police officers. Two were issued a $237 fine for failing to leave after being directed to. They will also not be allowed on the premises of the government office for one year.
The only demand of occupiers was for the minister of Lands and Forestry, to meet with representatives of a group of people who are camping out in Digby County backcountry to protect mainland moose habitat from clearcutting.
That shouldn’t be that hard, says Eleanor, a member of Extinction Rebellion Nova Scotia and one of the occupiers.
We were very clear that the only reason we were there is because we wanted minister Mombourquestte to have a meeting with Nina Newington, and one or two more forest protectors. Nina had requested that meeting on November 11, and she never even received a response,” Eleanor says.
“You need to follow the normal processes, they told us. But that’s exactly the problem. Her letter and supporting messages from other citizens have all been ignored. There’s been a whole lot of ignoring going on. We’re frustrated. We can’t think of anything else to do,” says Eleanor.
“Getting arrested, being dragged down the hallway, those aren’t things I want to do. But what else are we going to do?”
For over a month the group in Digby County has been occupying crown lands designated for clearcutting by the department of Lands and Forestry.
The forest protectors are worried because of sightings of mainland moose in the same area, a threatened species in steep decline, with some estimates that only around 100 remain in the province.
“In the past two weeks work has begun expanding and extending logging roads in the southern pod. This is in preparation for further extensive clearcutting in the area. New cuts totalling 1150 acres have been approved by our own government, half of them AFTER the Nova Scotia Supreme Court severely reprimanded the Department of Lands and Forestry for failing to fulfill its legal obligations under the Endangered Species Act,” a recent press release by the group states.
Over the last two days there have been confrontations with loggers, who have attempted to bypass the barricades and have threatened to forcibly remove vehicles owned by the occupiers.
You’d think that a minister would be willing to meet with some of these very knowledgeable people, most of whom are elderly, and who for over a month have camped out in all kinds of weather, Eleanore says. It shouldn’t be this hard.
Call Lands and Forestry Minister Derek Mombourquette:, (902) 424-5935 (Halifax main office), and Sydney office: 902-562-8870. Email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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