Photo: RCMP officers block Highway 126 in Rexton on June 5, 2013. Shale gas protesters had gathered there to oppose shale gas exploration by SWN. Photo by Roy MacMullin.

The Brief

Vol. 12 No. 4 | A publication of the NB Media Co-op | December 2020/January 2021 |

RCMP shrugs off findings it acted illegally at Rexton raid against shale gas protesters

The RCMP is refusing to accept several findings made by the Civilian Review and Complaints Commission on the RCMP response to the 2013 RCMP raid on the anti-shale gas camp in Rexton, New Brunswick.

Among the Commission’s findings were that the RCMP violated citizens’ Charter Rights on issues of warrantless searches, stops and spot checks, and the retention of personal and social media data gathered by the RCMP, even after it was established that an individual was cleared of any criminal or security concerns.

The final report, released on Nov. 12, comes seven years after the New Brunswick Anti-Shale Gas Alliance called for the investigation.

Without offering any new evidence to support its views, the RCMP rejected the Commission’s findings. In fact, it clearly implied that only the RCMP could judge the constitutionality of actions by its officers.

So, if it can simply dismiss the Civilian Review Commission, is the RCMP accountable to anyone outside of its own ranks?

That the report took seven years to complete is an obvious failure of the system, and emphasizes that ‘justice delayed is justice denied. Except for those who were there, few may remember much about the event beyond pictures of burning cars.

Many who testified before the Commission as eyewitnesses may read this report and marvel that some of its conclusions directly contradict their testimony. This was especially true in instances where it was alleged that the RCMP arrested Indigenous protesters, while they only dispersed nonindigenous protesters.

The Commission concluded that this did not occur, primarily because there was no supporting video evidence, and so simply resolved this issue in favour of RCMP claims. Multiple witnesses, who independently testified about such events (myself included), will not accept the conclusion that they didn’t occur, whether or not they were widespread or videotaped.

This report also cast doubts on the RCMP’s competence and judgment. The Commission found that RCMP negotiators had reached an agreement with the protesters to calm down the tense situation, just as the tactical force was finalizing the next morning’s raid. Had the two groups actually just talked with each other, the entire incident may have been avoided.

A primary reason for justifying the raid was ‘unverified rumours’ of weapons at the protestors’ encampment. Yet the RCMP’s own testimony revealed that its infiltrators, vehicle spot checks, personal searches and continuous surveillance had not turned up a single observation of any firearms. They had simply ‘heard rumours’ about weapons.

The RCMP also admitted that it made a tactical error in letting several police cars remain unmanned, which led to them being burned. The implication at the time was that they were burnt by protesters.

Credible witnesses testified that non-indigenous people, unknown to local residents, were able to approach and burn the cars and escape, without any intercession by the RCMP. As no perpetrators were ever identified, the Commission attributed the incident to a RCMP error, and they didn’t attribute the burning of the cars to the protesters or anyone else specifically.

They did, however, dismiss the possibility that it was the result of agent provocateurs, based solely on the RCMP saying so. So, incompetence or coverup? We’ll never know.

If one thinks that such speculation is a step too far, then I would suggest they read some academic research on this topic such as, Policing Indigenous Movements: Dissent and the Security State by Andrew Crosby and Jeffrey Monaghan. The book covers four Indigenous movements, concluding with the raid on the anti-shale gas camp near the Mi’kmaw First Nation of Elsipogtog in Rexton.

To quote from the book’s promotion, it “raises critical questions regarding the expansion of the security apparatus, the normalization of police surveillance targeting social movements, the relationship between police and energy corporations, the criminalization of dissent and threats to civil liberties and collective action in an era of extractive capitalism and hyper surveillance.”

It also provides context to the Commission report, which focuses solely on RCMP actions. We should not lose sight of, nor excuse, those who were ultimately responsible for this tragedy.

New Brunswick’s Alward government refused for years to engage in discussions with a united province-wide opposition, despite huge demonstrations, petitions from tens of thousands of citizens, and expert testimony. Its intransigence and obvious collusion with the gas industry, led directly to the raid at Rexton. Ironically, that may have been the event that finally doomed shale gas and spelled the end of the Alward government.

Unfortunately, current events, like the RCMP’s violent actions against Wet’suwet’en opposition to the Coastal GasLink LNG pipeline in BC, and its failure to protect Mi’kmaw fishers in Nova Scotia, illustrate that government practices that allow the RCMP and the security services to abet corporate interests (especially fossil fuels) continue unabated.

Commercial rights continue to supersede personal rights, and especially treaty rights, in a peculiar and twisted hierarchy of justice overlaying a barely hidden foundation of racism.

The RCMP’s contention that it is the sole arbiter of the correctness or legality of its actions emphasizes that it, along with the intelligence services, governments, and fossil fuel interests will learn no lessons from the Commission report. And without real accountability they never will.

Jim Emberger is the spokesperson of the New Brunswick
Anti-Shale Gas Alliance
Le Nouveau-Brunswick abrite un mélange d’habitats et d’espèces sauvages uniques qui sont très importants pour les Néo-Brunswickois et qui sont essentiels à notre bien-être. Nous voulons nous assurer que ces espaces naturels et la faune qui y vit restent protégés pour les générations à venir.  Ces espaces sauvages sont également importants pour nous permettre de nous rapprocher de la nature.

D’ici à mars 2022, nous aiderons le Nouveau-Brunswick à plus que doubler ses terres conservées, passant de 4,7% à 10% de la province – et vous pouvez nous aider aussi !

Visitez pour en savoir plus sur l’approche du GNB dans le choix de nouvelles zones naturelles protégées et conservées, et sur la façon dont il souhaite vous entendre.
Le Groupe de développement durable du Pays de Cocagne réitère sa demande pour une décentralisation des services de buanderie des hôpitaux afin de diminuer les émissions de gaz à effet de serre lié au transport routier. En réponse au courriel de M. Flemming en date du 23 septembre 2020 , vous trouverez en pièce jointe la lettre d’Odette Landry, co-présidente du conseil d’administration du GDDPC.

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No satisfaction: Chief Tremblay calls an emergency Wabanaki Confederacy meeting


by J.L. Deveau, Ron Tremblay, and Alma Brooks

Imagine how betrayed you would feel if you were an Indigenous person knowing your ancestors had agreed to make peace with the British on a promise made – that any Wolastoquyik (Maliseet person) would be entitled to satisfaction and reparation for any controversy, whether real or imagined – but that 300 years later, a judge reneged on that promise.

This happened after Wolastoqewi-Grand Chief Ron Tremblay and Wolastoqey Grand Council found out that the New Brunswick Department of Tourism, Heritage and Culture had begun working on the development of a Snowmobile Grooming Hub project at Mount Carleton Park, in northern New Brunswick, with no park management plan in place authorizing such a thing.

They went to court to ask for satisfaction and reparation from a judge. However Justice Petrie gave Grand Chief Tremblay and Wolastoqey Grand Council No Satisfaction (like the Rolling Stones’ 1965 hit (I can’t get no satisfaction). An appeal was subsequently filed with the NB Court of Appeal.

Since our last NB Media Co-op article was published, the NB Court of Appeal summoned all three of us to a teleconference call scheduled for Dec. 8. At that time, a judge from the high court will assess the legitimacy of our delay in perfecting (completing) our appeal filed in October 2019. If satisfied with our explanation, the judge can order us to perfect our appeal by a specific date. Alternatively, if not satisfied, the judge can dismiss our appeal.

We're facing a dilemma.

The Treaty of 1725-26 was the product of negotiations not only between two parties, Wolastoqiyik and the British, but also between representatives of a Confederacy, the Wabanaki Confederacy, and the British. "Wabanaki" means "people of the dawn."

The Wabanaki Compact (Treaty of 1725-26) was broken in Wolastokuk (Maliseet homeland). This has implications for all five nations in Wabanakiak (Abenaki, Mi’kmaq, Penobscot, Passamaquoddy, and Wolatoqiyik combined territories). Therefore, Grand Chief Tremblay is beholden to inform the Confederacy of this breach in their treaty with the British and to seek guidance from its peoples on how best to proceed.

Few people in New Brunswick realize that Wolastoqiyik never abandoned their own legal system, agreeing only to set aside their international law of private satisfaction (komucikotuwal) for those instances involving controversies with the British. The deal was that in so doing, they were guaranteed satisfaction and reparation from His Majesty’s laws.

We have two options. Option 1 is to continue with the appeal and file everything before our conference call with the NB Court of Appeal judge on Dec. 8.  Option 2 is for Grand Chief Tremblay to revoke Wolastoqewi-Grand Chief Charles Manituphike’s agreement of 1728, to seek redress before the British court system for any controversies involving the settlers and to revive instead their own legal system.

Given the risk of having the appeal thrown out by a judge from the NB Court of Appeal, Grand Chief Tremblay and the Wolastoqey Grand Council have called for an Emergency Wabanaki Confederacy meeting.

Traditionally, a Confederacy meeting takes place in person at some fixed location during mid-winter however that is not possible this upcoming winter because of the pandemic.

The Wabanaki Confederacy meeting will be held online, through the videoconference platform Zoom, on the afternoons of Saturday Nov. 21 and Saturday Nov. 28, from 1pm to 5pm Atlantic time.

The first Saturday will be focused on treaty education, the second on determining how the Grand Council and its Grand Chief ought to proceed following the No Satisfaction outcome of Justice Petrie’s ruling.

Nov. 21 features three experts: Professor Harald Prins on the history of the Confederacy and how Wabanaki spokesperson Loron Saugaaram felt duped by the British even before he signed the Treaty of 1725-26; Professor Katherine Hermes on Indigenous Northeast law and the evolution of the legal arrangements that existed between Native peoples and colonial governments in the 17th and 18th centuries; and, Professor Heather Hirschfeld on how the term satisfaction as the bastion of substantive justice in the 17th and 18th centuries was whittled down to becoming nothing more than the touchy feely expressions of the fulfillment of our carnal needs and wants.

These events are free. The general public is invited to attend the three education sessions on Saturday Nov. 21. The following Saturday, Nov. 28, is reserved just for the Peoples of Wabanaki Confederacy.

Registration is required for both days to receive the link to the online sessions via email. For additional information, please visit our Facebook event page , email or call 1-506-260-1331.

This article was first published by NB Media Co-op on November 17th, 2020.

Dr. Jean Louis Deveau is an independent scholar, former manager of Mt. Carleton Park, and co-founder of the Friends of Mt. Carleton Provincial Park.


Alma H. Brooks, BA, is a Wolastoqwey Grandmother (the people of the beautiful & bountiful River) residing in the territory of EkPahak ( the place where the tide ends ) is physically, linguistically, spiritually, culturally, and biologically connected to the traditional homeland of her ancestors.


Ron Tremblay is his colonial birth name but is known as “spasaqsit possesom” (spuz-akw-zid  buz-za-zum) – morningstar burning. He is a citizen of Wolastokuk (Wa-lus-da-gook). Being the youngest of 10 children of the late Doris Sappier and Raymond Tremblay, spasaqsit possesom grew-up surrounded by Wolastoqey (Wa-lus-do-kway) Language spoken fluently. spasaqsit possesom credits his mother Doris and grandparents Madeline LePorte and Louise Sappier for his genuine love of Wolastoqey Language and he also acknowledges that they provided him the true teachings of life.


After moving to Fredericton in 1991 he befriended several Elders from local area. The two main Elders Ulsonuwit Sqot (Harry LaPorte) and Sagatay (Gwen Bear) guided him deeper into his Wolastoqey Traditional Ways. After years of involvement in various ceremonies with his teachers spasaqsit possesom gained wisdom and knowledge of “Wolastoqey way of life”. Still today, Ron practices the traditional ways of Wolastoqewiyik. In November 2016, Ron was installed as Traditional Wolastoqewi-Grand Chief. The mandate of the Wolastoqey Grand Council is to protect and preserve Wolastokuk, their non-ceded traditional homeland, waterways, ceremonies and language.


Content Warning: This article contains references to anti-Indigenous racism and hate crimes committed against the Mi'kmaq.
  • Indigenous-owned vehicles torched, food destroyed, and Mi'kmaw fishermen forced to barricade themselves indoors to escape violent mobs hurling rocks and racist insults. [1]
  • These were some of the shocking hate crimes committed in Nova Scotia on Tuesday night, while the RCMP watched. [2]
  • The Mi'kmaw people's right to fish is protected by the Peace and Friendship Treaties and was upheld by a Supreme Court decision. But so far, the federal government has avoided defining and protecting these treaty rights — leading to unrest and racial violence. [3]
  • Prime Minister Trudeau and Minister of Fisheries, Bernadette Jordan, have condemned these appalling acts of terrorism and hate. [4]
  • But Jean-Louis the Mi'kmaq need more than words. They’re calling on the federal government to urgently step in before the situation escalates further and someone is seriously injured or killed.
  • While this story is dominating the news, the federal government is vulnerable to public pressure. [5] If we flood their inboxes with tens of thousands of messages calling on them to protect the treaty rights of the Mi'kmaq, we could convince them to intervene and put a stop to the violent and unlawful attacks on Indigenous fishers.
  • Non-Indigenous fishermen raided a Mi'kmaq food storage facility, cut the power, poured chemicals on live lobsters, and threatened the Indigenous fishermen inside. [6]
  • Jason Marr, a fisherman with the Sipekne’katik First Nation barricaded himself inside a facility to escape the violent mob’s racist taunts and threats. He waited for the RCMP to escort him out safely but once the RCMP showed up, "they just stood there". [7] Sipekne’katik Chief Mike Sack said he couldn't believe the violent mob was getting away with terrorist acts while the police were present. [8]
  • The Mi’kmaq have a treaty protected, legal right to catch and sell fish to earn a moderate livelihood — one which includes the right for Mi'kmaw people to provide housing, food, clothing and amenities for themselves and their families. This is recognised by a 1999 Supreme Court decision and enshrined in Section 35 of the 1982 Constitution Act. [9]
  • Jean-Louis, Mi’kmaw fishermen have 250 lobster traps in the contested area, while non-Indigenous fishermen have approximately 390,000. This isn’t a dispute about over-fishing — it’s racist hate meant to intimidate Indigenous fishermen away from the waters. [10]

We must use our platform to amplify the voices and demands of the Mi'kmaq because it is the right thing to do. Send a message to Prime Minister Trudeau and Minister Jordan now.

Please check out this list of ways people can help.

To donate to people on the ground you can send an e-transfer or paypal to Sipekne'katik First Nation at Please make the subject line: “1752 Moderate Livelihood”.

Aujourd'hui, nous célébrons la Journée Nationale de l'Arbre. Saviez-vous que c'est aussi le 100e anniversaire de la #Semainenationaledelarbreetdesforets ?

Il n'y a pas de meilleure façon de célébrer les arbres du Nouveau-Brunswick qu'une séance de questions-réponses avec Tracy Glynn, co-auteur de « The Great Trees of New Brunswick ».

Originaire de Miramichi et fille d'un bûcheron, Tracy Glynn a été la responsable de la campagne forestière au Conseil de la conservation du Nouveau-Brunswick de 2006 à 2018. Tracy enseigne à l'Université St. Thomas, écrit et coordonne le montage pour la NB Media Co-op, et travaille avec des défenseurs des terres à travers l'île de la Tortue, l'Indonésie, les Philippines, le Guatemala, la Colombie et au-delà.

Q : Racontez-nous comment le livre « The Great Trees of New Brunswick » a vu le jour.
R : Le forestier David Palmer a demandé au Conseil de la conservation du Nouveau-Brunswick d'écrire une deuxième édition du livre « The Great Trees of New Brunswick ». Il voulait honorer la mémoire de son ami, David Folster, qui a écrit la première édition. J'ai sautée sur l'occasion de participer à ce projet intéressant, qui me semblait être une belle façon de terminer mon mandat de responsable de la campagne forestière au Conseil de la conservation. J'ai pris contact avec Goose Lane, un éditeur de livres basé à Fredericton, pour voir s'ils étaient intéressés par la publication du livre et il n'a pas fallu convaincre, ils ont été immédiatement intéressés. David a fait le gros du travail en visitant presque tous les arbres nominés pour le livre, en prenant leurs mesures et en écoutant les histoires des nominateurs de leur grand arbre. David et moi avons passé les années 2018 et 2019 à en apprendre plus sur nos arbres et à écrire le livre.

Q : Pourquoi pensez-vous qu'il est important pour les Néo-Brunswickois de développer une relation avec nos forêts ?
R : Nos forêts sont tellement magnifiques. Nos forêts abritent 32 espèces d'arbres indigènes différentes, de magnifiques orchidées forestières, des champignons amusants, des oiseaux chanteurs, des pics et des hiboux, et tant d'autres créatures qui méritent d'être connues, aimées et protégées.

Q : La deuxième édition de « The Great Trees of New Brunswick » mettait fortement l'accent sur les espèces indigènes. Pouvez-vous nous dire pourquoi ?
R : Nous voulions nous assurer d'inclure un chapitre sur chaque espèce d'arbre indigène ainsi que sur certaines des espèces exotiques que les gens ont appris à connaître et à aimer. La première édition célébrait beaucoup d'arbres communs que les gens connaissent comme le pin blanc de l'Est et l'érable à sucre, mais nous voulions produire un guide de terrain folklorique qui permettrait aux lecteurs d'identifier tous les différents arbres de notre forêt, y compris les plus rares.

Q : Le changement climatique et les espèces envahissantes telles que l'agrile du frêne constituent des menaces importantes pour nos forêts. Comment pensez-vous qu'elles affecteront les arbres présentés dans ce livre ?
R : Les scientifiques affirment que le changement climatique et les espèces envahissantes pourraient entraîner la disparition de certains de nos arbres indigènes. Certains de nos arbres indigènes sont en danger, comme le noyer cendré. Dans le livre, nous discutons des perspectives pour chaque arbre et nous examinons comment les actions humaines affectent nos arbres.
Nous y parlons de l'agrile du frêne et des ravages qu'il cause dans les frênes de l'est du Canada et des États-Unis. Nos trois espèces de frênes indigènes sont toutes sensibles et ne présentent aucune résistance naturelle à l'insecte. Le Centre national de semences forestières à Fredericton recueille des graines de frêne à des fins de conservation génétique et l'on espère que le frêne aura un avenir dans notre forêt.

Q : Quel est votre arbre préféré ?
R : C'est une question difficile. Je pense que tous nos arbres sont uniques. Je suis continuellement étonnée par le bouleau jaune et son écorce chatoyante, le tilleul en fleurs et le mélèze laricin qui devient doré à l'automne. Si je devais choisir un arbre qui m'est spécial, ce serait un vieux pin blanc de l'Est sur la route où j'ai grandi. Connu simplement sous le nom de "pin" par ma famille et mes voisins, l'arbre aux formes asymétriques était un lieu de rencontre où l'on surveillait les ours noirs tout en dévorant des framboises. Regarder le soleil se coucher derrière l'arbre ne deviendra jamais fatiguant pour moi.

Achetez votre exemplaire de « The Great Trees of New Brunswick », 2e édition dès aujourd'hui, et assurez-vous de faire votre part pour aider à protéger nos grands arbres en prenant des mesures contre les espèces envahissantes !

Visitez le site web du Conseil des espèces envahissantes du Nouveau-Brunswick pour d'autres histoires comme celle-ci.
 © 2018 NBEN / RENB