Thursday, 24 January 2019

John Collins on Premier Stephen MacNeil’s response to a letter from the three Pictou MLAs: “I actually commend you for the courage and determination to stand up for what’s right and sticking to the legislated closure as implemented by your government in the ‘Boat Harbour Act’.  For the mill to even promote a continuance of this level of environmental racism by asking for an extension is an insult to Pictou Landing First Nations, and First Nations Peoples in general.”

“Many fishermen I know, in addition to being fishermen are educated professionals, ranging from various engineers to geologists; recently I’ve heard our objection for the proposed pipeline by Northern Pulp … described as: ‘the fishermen’s objections are based on emotion, not science’.  I take offence to that and actually, my objections are based on science specifically,” writes John Collins.

In 1965, prior to the construction of the Boat Harbour treatment facility, the Nova Scotia Water Authority, representing the provincial government, assured upset members of the Pictou Landing First Nation that the lagoon would remain suitable for boating, and even that fresh-water fish could be introduced. The only time there would be a bit of a smell would be in spring as the ice in the lagoon was breaking up, community members were told.

“Nova Scotians must project into the future and realize the consequences resulting from the industrial actions of the multinational corporations who appear to be salivating over what Nova Scotia’s governments might be willing to offer,” writes Guysborough resident Ray Bates.

This article by historian Lachlan MacKinnon was originally published on September 18, 2014 on the excellent ActiveHistory.ca site. We re-publish this now three-year old article because the gap between mill workers and Pictou County environmentalists the author identifies if anything has widened in the last three years. “Environmentalists must confront the fact that structural power is also wielded against other marginalized groups, such as industrial workers facing the threat of deindustrialization. In this recognition, we can hope to transcend narrow categories such as worker and environmentalist and achieve a broader-based support for systemic change.”