Aboriginal leaders issue eviction notice to shale gas testing company
Aboriginal leaders have issued an eviction notice to the company exploring for gas in New Brunswick, saying they weren’t consulted before permits were issued.
A new protest site has popped up near Rexton, attracting hundreds of protesters since Sunday. The protesters are blocking access to a compound where shale gas testing trucks remain idle.
A member of the Mi’kmaq Warrior Society says their issue is not with the Houston-based company, SWN Resources, but with the government for failing to consult with them.
“It is not about the company,” says Suzanne Patles. “It is the Crown’s fiduciary responsibility to consult prior to issuing the lease or permit so the company needs to go back to the province and tell them that they are in the wrong.”
New Brunswick Premier David Alward says it would be wrong not to explore the potential of shale gas and that the province should follow the lead of other resource-rich provinces.
“Those are the provinces that are growing their economies,” says Alward. “Those are the provinces that are helping stabilize or grow their populations as well.”
RCMP confirmed they have put up road blocks in the area for public safety and made two arrests Sunday, but would not talk about backfilling arrangements while officers are pulled from other communities, which was the case in the summer.
“I certainly don’t think so. I can’t confirm whether we have seen that or not,” says RCMP Const. Julie Rogers-Marsh.
A political scientist at Mount Allison University says Louis LaPierre could be a wild card in the matter, after it was revealed the high-profile academic had misrepresented his credentials.
The reveal came at a bad time for the New Brunswick government because a pro-shale gas report written by LaPierre has been used heavily to argue their case.
“No one knows how that will play out. They had wanted someone with authority to manage the issue,” says Wayne Hunt. “Now that authority has been called into question, so how is this going to work out?”
Another possible stumbling block is the eviction notice issued to SWN Resources by the Elsipogtog First Nation on Tuesday.
So far, there has been no movement on either side.
With files from CTV Atlantic's David Bell