Indigenous leaders warn of protests, halting developments over shale gas exemption

‘It is our job to ensure the protection of lands and waters for our future generations’: Chief Ross Perley


Assembly of First Nations Regional Chief Roger Augustine says ‘the blueprint’ for government to consult Indigenous groups is there. (Radio-Canada)

Top Indigenous leaders are warning that the Higgs government has made “a serious mistake” on shale gas that may reignite protests like those seen in the Rexton area in 2013.

They say the province’s duty to consult Indigenous people is clearly defined, and the government should have known how to proceed as it tries to restart the industry in one part of the province.

“It’s not as if this is all new,” said Roger Augustine, the regional chief for the Assembly of First Nations in New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island. “The blueprint is there.”

“There’s a lot of case law,” said Chief George Ginnish of Natoaganeg First Nation. “There are actual court cases. … If he needs clarity, we’ll certainly provide clarity if that’s what he needs.”

‘Reckless voice’

Augustine said the Progressive Conservative government’s decision to lift the moratorium on fracking in the Sussex area risks alarming members of First Nations communities.

“When a reckless voice speaks out, be it the premier or the prime minister, they should realize what could happen, what it causes in communities,” he said. “Once we’ve got outrage out there, and we’ve got roadblocks, we’ve got cars burned.”

He was referring to anti-shale gas protests near Elsipogtog First Nation in 2013 that saw violent confrontations between protestors and police. MORE

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Federal Court quashes federal policy allowing transfer of salmon into fish farms without testing for contagious virus or consulting with Indigenous peoples

Image result for salmon smolts

On Feb. 4, 2019, the Federal Court issued its reasons for judgment regarding certain decisions made by the Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and Canadian Coast Guard. The Court’s reasons were extensive, spanning roughly 200 pages.

At issue in Morton 2015 was a condition DFO had included in fish farms’ licenses to operate. This condition allowed the operator to itself authorize transfers if it deemed certain criteria were satisfied. The Court in Morton 2015 held that (i) this approach constituted an impermissible delegation of the Minister’s regulatory authority to fish farm operators, and (ii) s. 56(b) requires the Minister to take an approach consistent with the precautionary principle when considering transfer requests.

…Further, the Court considered that the health of wild Pacific salmon was (i) a relevant factor required to be taken into account but was not, and (ii) that not accounting for this was additionally contrary to the precautionary principle, which further rendered the Policy unreasonable. MORE