Sunday, 20 October 2019

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.

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.

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.