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- Created: Tuesday, 29 October 2013 14:26
- Published: Tuesday, 29 October 2013 14:26
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Atleo’s comments last week on P.E.I. indicate no support for development
The Guardian (Charlettetown)
The cooling-off period New Brunswick Premier David Alward and that province’s First Nations leaders called for in the wake of violent clashes between protesters and RCMP officers 10 days ago at an anti-fracking road barricade in Rexton, N.B., appears to be coming to an abrupt end.
In remarks Friday on P.E.I. and a day earlier at Elsipogtog First Nation in N.B., the national chief of the Assembly of First Nations says Aboriginal peoples will not support resource development at any cost.
Shawn Atleo made those comments after he met Thursday with leaders of the band battling against shale gas exploration in eastern New Brunswick.
No one question people’s legal right to peacefully protest but when cars are destroyed, roads are barricaded, there are alleged threats of violence, and homemade pipe bombs, guns, knives and other weapons are seized by police at the scene, things have gotten way out of hand.
Atleo’s comments on P.E.I. indicate there is not much chance for a compromise between the two sides.
Atleo said all bands’ treaties must be respected while reiterating support for the Elsipogtog First Nation and defending its attempts to assert their treaty rights and responsibilities over lands and waters.
Atleo did hold out a small olive branch when he suggested the situation in New Brunswick provides an opportunity to spark discussion and action on the part of federal and provincial governments.
So perhaps there is an opportunity to forge a new and better way to implement the spirit and intent of treaties which exist with the Mi’kmaq.
What are required then are meaningful talks on a nation-to-nation, treaty-by-treaty basis between the Mi’kmaq nations like Elsipogtog and other levels of government.
Atleo said governments are not fulfilling their treaty obligations now, and even exploration permits for energy companies like what is happening in N.B. are a violation of treaty rights.
The exploration for shale gas includes seismic testing, not the controversial method of fracking at this time.
But wherever exploration companies try to get gas and oil to the surface in this day, fracking is usually the preferred method and aboriginals have good cause to be wary.