On November 18th the Mi’kmaq Nation went to a courthouse in Frederiction, New Brunswick, hoping to win an injunction against Southwestern Energies (SWN) to stop the shale gas “exploration” on Mi’kmaq land.
Justice Judy Clendening ruled against the injunction claiming there was not an adequate case against the company on the two issues cited: that fracking is harmful to the land and therefore harmful to the people and that a violent conflict was inevitable if SWN was allowed to continue their work.
After the ruling Clendening said, “In my view and at this stage, and without any real evidence of the irreparable harm that may be occasioned on Elsipogtog; it is apparent that SWN is suffering monetary losses, and there is no evidence of the degrees of harm to Elsipogtog that is related to the Crown’s request to consult,”
The court hearing was arranged after SWN tried on November 14th to get seismic testing equipment on Mi’kmaq land. The effort was met with indigenous resistance. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) armed with live guns confronted the demonstrators.
The RCMP surrounded the SWN equipment but the protest held a strong line of defense. Arrests included one warrior woman named Lorraine Clair who is still being held and is waiting for a court date. By the end of the day the indigenous forces were able to send SWN home resulting in a small victory against the oil giants.
After the court hearing Lorraine Clair released a statement to her comrades telling them not to give up and to find strength within each other.
The Mi’kmaq people are dusting themselves off but they are not done fighting. They plan to hold the blockade and continue a peaceful resistance against SWN. The growing movement of solidarity for the Blockade continues to grow. They plan to take SWN back to court at a later date.
The blockade however now faces a volatile time. The ruling means that the law will not be on the side of the people.
Many Mi’kmaq are worried about what is going to happen now and are wondering how far the Crown is willing to go.
The Canadian government has shown the First Nations people that a multi-billion dollar company is more important than the lives and wellbeing of the Mi’kmaq people.
The Mi’kmaq people are dedicated to protecting Mother Earth not just for themselves but for all. Once the land is scarred and ripped apart and the water turned to dust by the fracking, will people then cry out against the oil companies? Will people then see that they should have fought alongside these warriors to help save the land?
Photo: The Mi’kmaq blockade. EarthFirstJournal