Recent CPTnet stories

ABORIGINAL JUSTICE: SWN temporarily halts seismic testing at Elsipogtog

Elsipogtog First Nation protectors and SWN Resources Canada (‘SWN’) have reached an understanding that has resulted in an apparent temporary cessation of seismic testing.

 
 Elsipogtog Warrior Chief John Levi
 Photo: Miles Howe

Representatives of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (‘RCMP’), Warrior Chief John Levi, former Elsipogtog Band Chief Susan Levi, District Warrior Chief “Seven,” Elsipogtog Peacekeepers and other community members held a meeting on 30 July with SWN.  SWN will detonate several un-exploded shot holes located on seismic Line 5, but agreed not to continue seismic testing and to remove the rest of their equipment. 

The police will dismiss criminal charges against twenty-five of the thirty-five people arrested since non-violent direct actions began in June.  Community members gave SWN until Friday 2 August to complete the agreed upon tasks.  A team of observers from the Elsipogtog community, including eight scouts, three Grandmothers and two Elsipogtog Peacekeepers accompanied SWN workers to monitor operations.  SWN said it would return mid-September to continue seismic testing along seismic Lines 3 and 4.

ABORIGINAL JUSTICE: Elsipogtog resistance to shale gas exploration intensifies

Elsipogtog protectors of the land and water, together with representatives of other First Nation, Acadian, and Anglophone communities, continue to stand together in nonviolent resistance to ongoing SWN Resources Canada (“SWN”) exploratory natural gas seismic testing.

The week began with protectors discovering unexploded ordnance behind a cemetery, near Rogersville on 21 July 2013.  The cemetery parallels SWN seismic ‘Line 5.’  SWN has received licenses to test along multiple sites within Kent and surrounding counties, with five testing lines designated for exploration.  Most are deep within the bush.  Line 5 in particular has been heavily patrolled by RCMP and private security.  A canister of C4 explosive was observed in a private driveway designated for testing, only yards away from a private residence.

In addition to the concerns regarding the unexploded ordnance, SWN appeared to be in violation of regulations that setbacks of cemeteries should be at least fifty meters away from a seismic energy source.  SWN’s seismic testing equipment sat just two meters away.…

Local members of the resistance asked CPTers Stewart Vriesinga and Chris Sabas to proceed with two other vehicles to the work site.  As the group waited for others to arrive, a female protector, identifying herself as ‘Pocahontas,’ decided to strap herself to bundles slated for helicopter transport.  CPTer Sabas's interview with Pocahontas is avilable at http://youtu.be/07OxXf3-jDQ.  

ABORIGINAL JUSTICE: Video shows Elsipogtog community undoing police harassment

 

On 21 July 2013, members of the Elsipogtog community who are trying to protect their traditional lands from fracking discovered that SWN Resources Canada had an unknown amount of unexploded ordinance behind a cemetery, located on Pleasant Ridge Road, Rogersville, New Brunswick.

 The cemetery, owned by the local Catholic diocese, borders a seismic testing line known as “Line 5” that Canadian police have been heavily guarding.  The video shows police trying to prevent Elsipogtog members from parking in a lot located directly across the street from the cemetery where a Catholic church had once stood.  The police told protectors the lot was private property and the landowner had not given permission for "protesters" to be on site, where at least a dozen police and private security vehicles had parked.  Lorraine Claire of the Elsipogtog First Nation had, however, obtained permission from caretakers of the property to park there.  Watch how she and other protectors of the land peacefully confront the police. 

ABORIGINAL JUSTICE: A week with the Elsipogtog anti-fracking resistance

In November 2010 Canada finally signed the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, which declares, “States will consult and obtain free, prior and informed consent for any project affecting the land, territory or resources of indigenous peoples.”  (Art.32-2)

Elsipogtog, a Mi’kmaq First Nation in New Brunswick, was not consulted and certainly do not consent to the seismic survey of their land in preparation for fracking for shale gas.  They have joined with equally concerned non-aboriginal residents in the area to stop the exploration.  Canadian police arrested thirty-three protestors in June.

On Sunday 30 June, Chris Sabas and I, representing the CPT Aboriginal Justice Team, arrived in Elsipogtog at the invitation of John Levi, leader at the Sacred Fire camp.  Colourful flags, abundant signage and a community of Indigenous, Acadian, and Anglo folk, welcomed us to their tent-city and the sacred fire.

 


Photo by Greg Cook SJ

Prayers for Peacemakers, July 13, 2013

Epixel* for July 14, 2013
"How long will you judge
unjustly and show
partiality to the wicked?…"
Psalm 82:2

Prayers for Peacemakers, June 13, 2013

Give thanks that Warrior Chief John Levi of Elsipogtog was released on his own recognizance on Monday after an arrest for probation violations stemming from a June 21 demonstration in which Canadian police had arrested other people, but had neither arrested nor cited him.  The arrest seemed designed to do harm to Levi’s standing in his community.