How low is the Alward Government prepared to stoop?
Non-violent civil disobedience is no match for thumper trucks. Twelve New Brunswick activists found this out the hard way, after being arrested Friday morning. This brings to 20 the number arrested in the past two weeks.
While partaking in a sunrise ceremony in a roadside field at the intersection of highways 116 and 126 in rural New Brunswick, many ran onto the road to prevent thumper trucks from passing by the area where a sacred fire had been burning since Wednesday.
Thumper trucks are being used by SWN Resources Canada to detect the presence of shale gas deep beneath the Earth’s surface.
According to scientific evidence, shale gas extraction leads to degradation of land, water, and air.
Among those arrested was pipe-carrying St. Mary’s Maliseet Ron Tremblay, a respected elder and spiritual leader in his community. The pipe carries the same meaning as the rosary in the Catholic faith.
Although disappointing, these new arrests should come as no surprise to any who have been following the Alward government’s handling of this file. With not a single word mentioned about shale gas in the Progressive Conservative’s 2010 party platform, the Alward government has no clear mandate to pursue shale gas exploration and mining.
Yet, this government has refused (with the exception of one riding) to consult with Aboriginals and non-Aboriginals on this issue.
It has ignored petitions sent to its members in the Legislative Assembly asking for it to cease and desist.
It even tried to suppress a report produced on the health effects of this industry by its own public health officer.
And now, it is being complicit in the arrest of an Aboriginal spiritual leader whose only crime was having to resort to non-violent civil disobedience in order to protect what is sacred for all of us—our land, water, and air.
New Brunswickers deserve far better than this. An information session on shale gas mining is being organized Wednesday, June 19th at the Club 50 Plus, Route 535 in Cocagne starting at 7:00 pm. The public is invited to attend.