• Attention: The New Brunswick Hydraulic Fracturing Commission

    Ancient Voices

    We are totally dependent on the Earth for life, and because of the arrogance of a superiority attitude, western society is headed in the wrong direction. As a consequence, climate change is here and people are in a panic. Grandchildren are asking, “What will happen to me?”

    What 200 year old prophesies said has now come to pass. People have disobeyed the natural laws of the universe, and are stubbornly determined to ignore the voices of reason and truth. The Earth governs all life here, and she will have no mercy.

    The Wolastokewinobk (Maliseet Grand Council) is the traditional decision-making structure of the Wolastokewiyik - the people of the beautiful river. We are the river people, indigenous to the entire St. John River watershed. Our Grand Council is made up of our clans, from the oldest to the youngest. We send these words to your commission on behalf of our extended families, as well as the deer, the moose, birds, fishes, and all other living things within our traditional territories. Our lands and waters have never been ceded or surrendered, therefore we are still the title holders.

    Canada, New Brunswick and big business have and continue to exploit and expropriate our traditional lands and resources amounting to categorical infringement on our right to use our land and hunt, fish, and gather. Currently the following industries are infringing on our Aboriginal and Treaty Rights:
    • All attempts to further the industry of hydraulic fracturing for natural gas in our territory must stop immediately.
    First of all our people have not been adequately consulted, and in fact we have been abused and punished for taking a stand to protect our sacred lands and waters. Secondly, traditional stories in our language tell us of a time when there was great flooding on the river and the reversing falls was caused by an ancient earthquake. There is also historical evidence of major fault lines through the centre of our territory from earlier earth quakes which is what caused salt water lakes to form all the way up to central parts of the Province of New Brunswick. It is well known that ‘fracking’ causes earthquakes to happen, because of the lubricated, chemically laced cocktail that is pumped into the ground under extremely high pressure. There is too much of a risk to allow fracturing to take place here and we do not support this destructive industry. We request that you to put a stop to this detrimental activity in our homeland.
    • The Irving Forestry Companies have not only clear cut our forests, they are also spraying poisonous carcinogenic herbicides such as glyphosate all over ‘our land,’ to kill hardwood trees, and other green vegetation. Both human and animal health is at serious risk, not to mention leaving no food for the animals.
    Streams, brooks and creeks are drying up, causing the dwindling of Atlantic salmon and trout. Places where our people gather medicines, hunt deer and moose are being contaminated with poison. We were not warned about the use of these dangerous herbicides, but then cancer rates have been on the rise in Maliseet communities, especially breast cancers in women and younger people are dying from cancer.
    • Open Pit Mining for tungsten and molybdenum is another infringement on the rights of our people – archeology shows that our people have been there around 7000 years – the oldest period found in the heart of New Brunswick.
    This is Maliseet traditional territory and we have not been consulted. Open pit mines require tailing ponds, this one designated to be the largest in the world. It is well known that all tailing ponds have a high probability to breach their bounds, and definitely will seep out into the environment. A spill or leak from the Sisson Brook open pit mine will permanently contaminate the Nashwaak River, which is a tributary of the Wolastok (St. John River) and surrounding waterways. This is the only place left clean enough for the survival of the Atlantic salmon.
    • Oil pipelines and refineries are also among the current abominable schemes, bent on contaminating and destroying the very last inch of (Wblastokok) Maliseet territory.
    The above mentioned industries are just another layer of infringements on the aboriginal and treaty rights of the Wolastokewiyik. Rivers, lakes, streams, and lands have been contaminated already to the point that we are unable to gather our annual supply of fiddleheads, and medicines. This territory has never been ceded or surrendered by our people – yet not an inch of our land has been spared for our traditional use. Government and industry blindly and carelessly proceed to exploit and misappropriate Indigenous lands and resources to the point of extreme damage and destruction, and continue to ignored the concerns and protests of Indigenous peoples in New Brunswick.

    The Supreme Court of Canada has stated that all levels of government have a “duty to consult with aboriginal people” prior to the beginning of any project, or any other kind of land use, that would cause an infringement on the Indigenous rights of our people.

    The Wolastokewiyik (Maliseet People) - the Title Holders - have not been consulted on any of the above projects. Therefore governments and/or companies do not have our consent to proceed with hydro-fracturing, open pit mining, or the building of pipelines for gas and oil bitumen, on or across our traditional lands and waters.

    The duty to consult has become a meaningless process. Companies meet with INAC Chiefs, who’s jurisdiction is limited to within each of their respective reserves. Individuals are given a power point presentation, and then told the next step is accommodation. Question: then to the chief - What do you want?

    The majority of the people do not go to these meetings due to the manipulation of the process, and the lack of regard for collective rights. Collective rights require collective discussion and collective decision-making. The closest interpretation of our treaty and aboriginal right to consultation is written in international law: Free, Prior and informed consent.

    In conclusion, humans are supposed to be responsible and intelligent beings, who were given instruction on how to live on the earth.

    One of the oldest teachings about how to live on the land – “ wihkwelan tehpo eli powalbkw wblam keti sepowsowipbn” itbm Kelowbskap.” Take only what you need in order to live. Maintaining the balance of nature is the way to live on the earth. Arrogance is why we are going in the wrong direction. If we do not follow the spiritual laws of the universe, nature will take over. There will be no mercy in nature, only law.

    It is the Earth that governs life here – all life comes from the earth. You can have no value for resources that have been stolen. Greed, selfishness, and foolishness have taken over, and they have no value at all for life. Why else have become the enemy of the earth?

    Business as usual is over. Oil and Carbon is over. We will pay for damages by what is coming. Economies will be wrecked. If we continue to disregard the laws of nature the Earth will bring about the balance herself, through diseases, crisis events – etc. We have to change the way of living.

    Sincerely,

    Alma H. Brooks
    Grandmother, The Maliseet Grand Council

    October 15, 2015
  • ‪Online Petition: Give Energy East a People's Intervention‬ - Follow the link and share it widely
    http://act.350.org/letter/energy_east/

    Stephen Harper and Big Oil have gutted Canada’s environmental review process -- cutting people's voices and climate change out of the National Energy Board review of the largest tar sands pipeline ever proposed.

    Harper and Big Oil know they can only build this pipeline if they ignore the facts and ignore the people. It's time for a People's Intervention... Read more
  •  La désobéissance civile prend racine lorsque les actions du parti gouvernemental sont influencés par un petit nombre et la puissance des citoyens en général et la capacité d'influence est enlevé... Est-ce que c’est là où le Nouveau-Brunswick et le Canada en est maintenant?

    Canada says oil, gas industry organized PR strategy for oilsands, The Gazette

    Shale gas protesters to end blockade, CBC News

    Un barrage contre le gaz de schiste près de Fredericton, Radio Canada

  • Tories are incoherent on 'regional social licence'

    Jim Emberger,Commentary, Telegraph Journal   September 13, 2018

    The freshly released Progressive Conservatives platform contains only a single sentence on shale gas, and leaves "regional social license" – mooted by leader Blaine Higgs in April – entirely unexplained.

    Even without adequate detail in the platform, the very concept is a clear case of putting the cart before the horse.

    The shale gas moratorium’s first condition sensibly dictates that, before social license can be granted, citizens must receive “clear and credible information about the impacts of hydraulic fracturing on public health, the environment and water.”

    As I have documented in previous articles, the “clear and credible evidence” from science and public health studies, court cases, journalistic investigations and government regulatory actions reveal shale gas impacts including:
    • A host of serious diseases affecting those living near gas wells, and especially the unborn. 
    • Water contamination from every aspect of industry activity.
    • Leaking methane from gas infrastructure, making it a leading contributor to climate change.
    • Toxic wastewater created by fracking, with no safe way of disposal.
    • Universally inadequate regulations and oversight, plus the precarious financial state of the industry, means that these threats continue unabated.
    As the Progressive Conservatives haven’t provided the public with any credible evidence that these risks have been addressed, how can they ask anyone for social license?

    Meanwhile, extensive government reviews of shale gas elsewhere have almost unanimously led to bans or moratoriums. These include Quebec, Canada’s Maritime Provinces, 19 of the 25 countries of the European Union, Scotland, Ireland, Wales, and several U.S. and Australian states. Mexico, a major fossil fuel producer, is banning fracking.

    In many U.S. states that launched the shale industry before conducting public reviews, hundreds of cities and counties have passed resolutions restricting fracking.

    Before New Brunswick's last election, over 70 municipalities and dozens of medical, public health, religious, community, environmental and indigenous groups called for a moratorium – including Mr. Higgs’ community of Quispamsis.

    The PCs apparently are aware of this widespread public opposition, and attempt to sidestep it by claiming that fracking will be limited to Sussex and Albert County, because those localities want it.

    Yet the municipality of Sussex Corner supported the moratorium, as did citizen groups in the nearby agricultural area of Cornhill, and in Penobsquis, where existing gas wells are located.

    In Albert County, the municipalities of Hillsborough and Alma supported the moratorium, as did the neighboring city of Moncton. Citizen groups – e.g. the Petitcodiac Watershed Alliance, Water and Environmental Protection for Albert County, and the Chepoudy Communities Revitalization Committee – have reaffirmed their support for the moratorium.

    So who will grant "social license," and how is "regional" defined? The PC platform contains nary a clue.

    Do businessmen reaping financial benefits, but living away from the wells, get the same vote as pregnant mothers living next to gas wells, who – willingly or not – will assume greater health risks?

    Airborne chemical pollution affects those with asthma and respiratory problems up to hundreds of kilometres away. Likewise, waterborne contaminants can travel the length of whatever waterways they enter. How far downstream and downwind is the regional line drawn for health and environmental risks? 

    Increased health care and road repair costs have been documented everywhere a shale gas industry exists, as have the costs of dealing with abandoned wells. These financial risks and costs will be borne by all the taxpayers of New Brunswick.

    Leaking methane gas damages the climate for everyone.

    These widespread risks to health and environment from fracking have been proven. Living on one side of some arbitrary regional line doesn’t grant the right to accept those risks for everyone.

    The ethics of medical research require that every individual give their informed consent to be a ‘guinea pig’ before being exposed to toxic, carcinogenic or untested chemicals. Fracking, which uses hundreds of such chemicals, is a massive uncontrolled experiment and should require no less a standard.

    And yet, the PCs are running with the slogan that they will restore trust. 

    Mr. Higgs recently wrote a commentary in this newspaper on his plans to fight climate change ("A carbon plan, not a carbon tax," Aug. 18, A11). It did not once mention his policy on shale gas. Does he know the gas industry is a major contributor to climate change?

    Also unaddressed is the 800-pound gorilla in the room. The rapid depletion of shale gas wells means the industry must continually drill new wells. Thus, a "regional" industry won’t stay regional for long. 

    The PCs have not discussed these concerns, or any of the risks catalogued above. Their platform does not even contain the words "shale," "fracking," or "moratorium." Doesn’t the path to trust demand a demonstration that one understands and can discuss the concerns now, before the election?

    If facts don’t support a policy, the policy must change. Not discussing the facts won’t build trust.

    Canada’s Dr. John Cherry, one of the world’s foremost experts on groundwater contamination, testified before our Commission on Hydrofracturing, noting, “It is hard to make the case for social license if you have no scientific proof of safety.” These are words the PCs, and indeed all New Brunswickers, need to heed.

    Jim Emberger is spokesperson for the New Brunswick Anti-Shale Gas Alliance.
  • VOICE OF THE PEOPLE TOUR: Red Dot Poll Results for Perth Andover NB May 21 2014

    1. Government should represent people not the Irvings (18)

    2. Create local jobs that stay in the community (10)

    3. (tie)
    - Stop media control by Irving (9)

    - Kick the Alward government out (9)

    - Pressure government to kick-start renewable energy (9)

    4. (tie)
    - Give back control of our forests to NBers. Remove control by Irving (8)

    - No pipeline (8)

    - Elect politicians who don't want shale gas (8)

    5. (tie)
    - Create your own job - more opportunity for small business, self sufficiency (7)

    - Cultivate Hemp (7)

    6. Promote food products from our forests, ecotourism, native medicines (6)

    7. (tie)
    - Keep big logs and trees and process them here, add value (4)

    - Community owned and run forestry (4)

    - Policies to replace imports with domestic goods (4)

    Study successful plans in Vermont, Nova Scotia, etc and implement here in NB (4)

    8. (tie)
    - Community gardens (3)

    - Maintain good jobs, education and health care (3)

    - People need to get informed (3)
  • VOICE OF THE PEOPLE TOUR: Red Dot Poll Results for Rexton NB and area May 14 2014

    Two hundred and more enthusiastic and engaged people from the Rexton and Kent County areas attended a standing room-only Voice of the People Tour stop at the Bonar Law High School Wednesday evening.

    Aboriginal, Acadian, English and other friends and neighbours spoke their minds on the issue of fracking and how they choose to take a stand in rejecting the shale gas industry while pursuing viable and locally-based solutions and alternatives to our 'Dig it Up, Cut it Down, Ship it Out'economy.


    Below are the results of the VOICE OF THE PEOPLE TOUR Red Dot Poll for Rexton NB

    1. People of NB will not stand by and allow this (fracking) to happen (112 dots)

    2. Boycott Irving (83 dots)

    3. More emphasis on food security for Kent County (64 dots)

    4. On election day make a statement by voting for a party opposed to fracking (59 dots)

    5. SLAPP suits by SWN (South Western Energy) are unacceptable and will be challenged by individuals and by class action (53 dots)

    6. Honour Aboriginal land and rights (51 dots)

    7. Exploration test wells need to be opposed/stopped. "We have to stop before they drill" (36 dots)

    8. We need to get behind local & provincial politicians who have opposed shale gas (33 dots)

    9. Tools and incentives (e.g. community economic development investment funds) need to be made more available to assist communities to develop renewable energy programs (29 dots)

    10. Greater transparency from government regarding costs incurred from shale gas industry (impacts to air quality, water quality, public health, road maintenance, etc.) (18 dots)

    11. Organized tours of Penobsquis are available. It is important that we see and smell what the industry creates (17 dots)

    12. Speak out not only for yourself but for your wider community (11 dots)

    13. Phased environmental impact assessments (EIA) will be ineffective tools of a regulatory process (9 dots)

    14. Make personal submissions or complaints if medical conditions are potentially at risk by operations that may be planned to happen near or around your community (4 dots)

    15. Challenge the establishment and their use of words to obscure the truth & take away our rights (2 dots)
  • VOICE OF THE PEOPLE TOUR: Red Dot Poll Results for Stanley NB May 27 2014


    70 people attended the  Stanley Voice of the People Town Hall Wednesday evening. Here are the Red Dot Poll results:

    1) Need community meetings to generate ideas about creating our own industries, just like at this town hall meeting

    2) Our water must be protected!

    3) Stop the centralization of power and industry in NB ( lack of democracy)

    4) Moratorium on shale gas

    5) We want long term jobs for our children and a clean future

    6) Bring back sustainable forestry not plantations

    7) Business opportunities for wind energy in NB

    8) Need more tools to create small, local economies

    9) Keep our children here by rural development 

    10) Home owners need incentives to generate own power i.e. Solar, biogas, windmill
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