Saturday, 16 November 2019

“So what will happen if the mill just defies the Boat Harbour Act and keeps on operating, using Boat Harbour for its effluent?” Not a whole lot of anything, writes Betsy MacDonald. Which is why we urgently need honesty and clarity from Premier McNeil, she argues.

Very pleased to post the brief but well-argued Save our Seas and Shores submission in response to the Northern Pulp proposal to dump its effluent pipe into the Northumberland Strait. “Northern Pulp’s focus report reads as if they are dumping into pristine waters, rather than the deeply degraded fragile ecosystem the Northumberland Strait and Gulf of St Lawrence have now become in 2019,” write Mary Gorman and Percy Hayne.

Many different groups have challenged Mi’kmaw sovereignty over A’Se’k and the area around it, and for centuries, the Mi’kmaq have resisted and protected their homeland. Historian Colin Osmond describes how today’s Mi’kmaq protectors of A’se’k walk in the footsteps and shadows of generations of Mi’kmaq who have done the same.

I am curious about how grassroots activism intersects with traditional politics, so with a federal election coming up I figured I do a couple of interviews with candidates, and ask my questions.

Here is the first interview, with Betsy MacDonald, who is running for the NDP in Central Nova. We talked with her about Boat Harbour, poverty, climate change, how activism shapes her views, and what to do about the many challenges people face in rural Nova Scotia.

Chief Andrea Paul of Pictou Landing First Nation posted a response to the Unifor proposal on her Facebook page. “Today, they are caught in a battle that THEY had years and years to resolve. They had many years of opportunity to do better. They chose not to. Even with the Boat Harbour ACT they still believed they were above that and didn’t begin consultation with the Band until 2017 after we requested it.”

Pictou MD John Krawczyk on the presence of methyl mercury near Pictou Landing First Nation and what that means for the Northern Pulp plans to dump treated effluent in the Strait. “The effluent will not be toxin free no matter how it is treated and will bio-accumulate in bi-valves (mussels, scallops, oysters) and lobsters. Seafood will be contaminated. The archaic expression dilution is the solution to pollution is no longer acceptable. Humans are at risk!”