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What happens when people stand in the way of big oil

Canadian indigenous protest fracking at Rexton, New Brunswick. It is distressing to see the powerlessness of these citizens. How frightened they are, aware that they are too unhealthy and disempowered to fight for their rights. Canada is becoming one scary place. Because of consumer culture, overpopulation and the growth lobby, democracy is going to disappear. What will happen to these peoples' water? It's not only Indians who don't have rights to stop fracking in Canada; it's anyone.

Activist speaks to banner:

Protest Against A Shale-gas Project


In 2013, members of Elsipogtog First Nation demonstrated their concern over the proposed shale-gas project and 2D seismic imaging done near their reserve by SWN Resources Canada [7] a subsidiary of Southwestern Energy Company. Workers were on site to conduct seismic exploration that uses sound wave technology to create images underground shale beds that might contain natural gas. Many residents voiced their concerns about the planned hydraulic fracturing (fracking) through social media. Throughout the summer of 2013, protesters where blocking SWN Resources Canada workers from accessing their seismic equipment.

On July 24, 2013, a video was recorded of a First Nations protester strapping herself to bundles of Geophones and other equipment used by SWN Resources Canada for seismic testing on the site. She slowed down the workers access to the equipment until the RCMP removed her later that day.

On October 1, 2013, a video was recorded of Elsipogtog First Nation Chief Aaron James Sock delivering an eviction notice to SWN Resources Canadawhile dozens of protesters continued to block Route 134 in Rexton to prevent SWN Resources Canada from moving their exploration equipment.

On October 7, 2013, a video was recorded of Elsipogtog First Nation Chief Arren James Sock and Premier David Alward faced the media regarding the blockage of the shale gas research and the injunction regarding the blockade.

On Thursday October 17, 2013 a road block by shale-gas and fracking protesters "exploded in violence, sending dozens of people to jail and reducing five police cars to smouldering ruins". The RCMP said "more than 40 protesters were arrested for various offences including firearms offences, uttering threats, intimidation, mischief and for refusing to abide by a court injunction". T.J. Burke, the lawyer for the Elsipogtog First Nation, confirmed Chief Aaron Sock was among those arrested in the clash. "Chief Aaron Sock and a few of his band council members were released a few hours after their arrests".

Local activists join Rexton protest

(From the Argosy, Independent Student Newspaper, Mt. Allison)
by Kevin Levangie
October 9, 2013
Anti-fracking groups across New Brunswick have been converging on Rexton to voice their opposition to shale gas exploration in the area.

Recent protests directed toward gas company SWN Resources by the Elsipogtog First Nation just outside of Rexton, a small town in Kent County, have attracted support from a variety of groups, including members of the Tantramar Alliance Against Hydrofracking (TAAHF), as well as Mount Allison University students and professors.

The Elsipogtog First Nation issued an eviction notice to SWN Resources on October 2. In a statement to the media, captured on camera by CBC, Elsipogtog band chief Aaron Sock explained the reason for the eviction attempt. “Due to mismanagement by the province and exploitation by corporations, our reserve native lands and waters are being ravaged and ruined,” Sock said.

SWN ignored the band’s eviction notice. The provincial government currently controls the land, and has given SWN permission to explore for potential shale gas wells. Protestors set up a highway barricade, blocking access to and from a lot where company trucks have been parked. SWN filed a successful injunction to remove the protestors, which has not yet been enforced by the RCMP.

On Saturday October 5, TAAHF held a yard sale at 1 Rectory Lane in Sackville, named ‘Junk for the Injunction’, to raise funds for a legal injunction against fracking in the province. This yard sale complements the work they have been doing for over two years, appearing at the Sackville Farmers’ Market every Saturday to raise public awareness about fracking, and to raise funds.

The group behind the injunction, NB Water First, explain their goals on their website. “We are seeking what is called a quia timet injunction that indicates there is a future probability of injury to our rights and interests if unconventional shale gas drilling […] is pursued.” The group aims to raise $500,000 in order to launch their legal challenge, aiming for a moratorium on hydrofracking in New Brunswick.

Linda Dornan, who worked at the yard sale, explained that TAAHF is part of a broader movement. “We have twenty-nine groups across the province who have formed a coalition that includes the three communities of Mi’kmaq, Acadien, and English-speakers,” Dornan said.

Penny Mott, another TAAHF member at the yard sale, went to Rexton on October 4, and described the TAAHF’s activities as supportive. She said, “We sat with the native people; we talked; we supported them; we listened a great deal. It’s a very respectful, positive, slow moving conversation.”

Emma Jackson, a Mt. A student, also went to Rexton on October 4 with twelve other students and three professors. Jackson also emphasized the community and discussion-based nature of the gathering, describing the atmosphere as “welcoming” and “positive,” and, despite the tensions, similar to “a community picnic.”

While some TAAHF members were running the yard sale, others were staffing their display at the Sackville Farmers’ Market. Marilyn Lerch commented on the recently approved injunction: “One of the really shocking things is how quickly SWN was able to get an injunction to stop the protestors, when [activist groups have] been working for two years. You know they have deep pockets and will be fighting for a long time.”
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