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.”
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.
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.”
A review of the Mill, the by now quite famous book by Joan Baxter on Northern Pulp and its predecessors. It’s really good, and you should buy it. Meanwhile, activists need to figure out how to heal the split between community and mill workers which only helps the company.
A proposed Environmental Bill of Rights for Nova Scotia is designed to empower communities and stop stonewalling by polluters and governments.
“What do I miss most about the place? The fun and the beauty. It used to be a very beautiful place,” says elder Molly Denny of Pictou Landing First Nation. Boat Harbour, or A’sek, Mi’kmaq for the other room, is a documentary about the transformation of Boat Harbour from a beautiful body of water, great for swimming, fishing and hunting, to a poisoned dumping ground for first Scott Paper, and now Northern Pulp.
Some ordinary people fighting environmental hazards in their backyards, and a bunch of students as well, showed up at the start of the fall session at Province House, and they aren’t very happy with the Liberal government.
A victim impact statement by the Pictou Landing First Nation after Northern Pulp pleaded guilty to leaking effluent into the East River in 2014 makes for interesting reading. Government sure lied a lot, and it broke a lot of promises in the last 60 years.