Recent CPTnet stories

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.

 

 

ABORIGINAL JUSTICE: Warrior Chief John Levi released from custody


John Levi

Chief John Levi (photo by Greg Cook SJ)

Warrior Chief John Levi is free on his own recognizance.  After a hearing held on the Crown’s request to have him remain incarcerated, the presiding Judge ordered his immediate release with the stipulation that he remain 100 meters away from SWN corporation equipment or any of its subcontractors’ machinery and equipment. 

Many native and non-native people packed the courtroom to show their support; court officials permitted people to stand in the back as the seats filled up.  When Levi's case was called, and as he entered the courtroom, people stood in unison.  His supporters had also done so on Friday, 5 July, at the initial hearing.  A different judge heard the matter today, and he ordered spectators to remain seated, saying he would clear the courtroom if they did not follow proper court decorum.