Anti-fracking protest snarls traffic near Canso Causeway
The latest protest against hydraulic fracturing for natural gas snarled traffic between Cape Breton Island and mainland Nova Scotia Friday.
Anti-fracking protesters tied up traffic at the Canso Causeway in a last-ditch effort to prevent drilling near Cape Breton’s Lake Ainslie.
People from at least six Mi’kmaq communities see the lake and its nearby oil and gas as precioLus natural resources.
“Somewhere along the way, we have to stop destroying the earth. Our children and grandchildren are going to be deeply affected by this,” says protester Emmett Peters.
An environmental group appealed the Nova Scotia government’s decision to allow drilling near Lake Ainslie by an Ontario company. However, their plea was rejected in Nova Scotia Supreme Court.
Still, Rebecca Parkins refuses to give in.
“I want our government to realize the First Nations and concerned citizens of this province are coming together and you’d better watch out because we mean business now,” says Parkins, a member of the Margaree Environmental Association.
The protesters say they are in for the long haul and will set up camping gear so they can remain at the site overnight. Police are making sure the peaceful protest remains just that.
“At this point in time, their plan is simply to slow down traffic so they can speak to motorists and hand out pamphlets,” says Const. Brad Anderson of the Inverness District RCMP.
Today, traffic was merely delayed at the Causeway, but protesters say if they don’t get results soon, they’re prepared to take things a step further.
“If we don’t get satisfactory results, it’s eventually going to lead to a full blockade,” says Peters.
Some area residents approve the drilling project with the belief it will create jobs. However, today’s protesters received plenty of support and plan to hold a similar picket tomorrow.
“I can’t look at my children and say I did nothing,” says Ginny Marshall. “That I stood there and watched.”
Marshall and her friends will be watching the calendar. The Ontario drilling company has a one-year extension on its permit to work near Lake Ainslie and could start before the end of the fall.
With files from CTV Atlantic's Ryan MacDonald