Roberta Benefiel, founding director of Grand Riverkeeper, Labrador, is visiting Nova Scotia to remind us that for the people who live there Muskrat Falls is an environmental disaster that will poison traditional food sources and flood indigenous lands. She believes that through the Maritime Link this is Nova Scotia issue as well. “There may not be that many of us, but people do live here. We need to put a face to these people,” Benefiel tells the Nova Scotia Advocate.
The Muskrat Falls development may be far away in Labrador, but it is very much Nova Scotia’s business. That was the message delivered by speakers at a news conference held outside the Emera / Nova Scotia Power offices on Lower Water Street in downtown Halifax this morning. “What we are seeing is massive destruction and genocide for profit. The crown corporation Nalcor is giving itself the legal authority to commit genocide using water as a vehicle for devastation. Once they drown the landscape, methylmercury poisoning is inevitable. We are talking mass genocide to all vegetation, medicines and all living species. Lives will be lost,” said Michelle Paul.
The Muskrat Falls project, future source for so-called green electricity for Nova Scotia, is in fact a man-made environmental disaster that has few equals. Meanwhile journalists who report on protests are muzzled, and land defenders continue to be thrown in jail. Progressive politicians in Nova Scotia prefer to look the other way, as if it isn’t our business.
Beatrice Hunter is an Inuk land defender who refused to promise a judge that she would not engage in further protests at Muskrat Falls. Because of that refusal she is now incarcerated in an overpopulated men’s prison in St. John’s, more than 1,000 kilometers from home. Hunter said her decision to remain in prison and not comply with the order to stay away from Muskrat Falls is her way of resisting colonization in Labrador. Nova Scotia, via the Maritime Link, is among those colonizing powers.
We talk with Justin Brake about the serious criminal charges he faces. Brake was the only journalist to report from the indigenous-led occupation of Nalcor property in protest of the Muskrat Falls development. “This is is more than an attack on my right to be a journalist, this is an attack on all journalists everywhere.”
Justin Brake, the fearless Newfoundland and Labrador journalist for the TheIndependent.ca is facing jail for reporting on an occupation of Nalcor buildings at Muskrat Falls by indigenous people. Everybody should care, and Nova Scotians doubly so, because through the Maritime Link these things are a lot closer than they appear.
Land protectors in Labrador continue their resistance against Muskrat Falls. Just because the national and Nova Scotia press stopped reporting doesn’t mean all is quiet. We talk with Ossie Michelin about the Nova Scotia connection. Ossie’s 96-year old aunt was just served with a court order for visiting a protest site.
Should we make Muskrat Falls right, or should we just walk away from a mega project that is terribly destructive in so many ways? Sierra Club Atlantic and the Ecology Action Centre land on different sides of the discussion.
Stop arresting journalists in Labrador or anywhere. Pretty embarrassing that you have to write an op-ed to make that point.
This story / interview was originally published on the Halifax Media Co-op website in April 2014. We are running it again because it’s a necessary reminder that the Muskrat Falls development affects multiple marginalized groups in Labrador and it clearly addresses Nova Scotia’s complicity through the Maritime Link.