Fracking company sues protesters by Kris Sims, QMI Agency, October 29th, 2013, Sun News
The company trying to explore for shale gas near Rexton, N.B., is suing Native anti-fracking protesters because it alleges they held its security workers captive, threatened them and destroyed an expensive piece of drilling equipment. In its statement of claim dated Oct. 3, SWN Resources Canada Inc. names 12 defendants, including protesters Willi Nolan and Ann Pohl and self-described Mi’kmaq warriors Susan Patles and Jim Pictou. The Texas-based company alleges people identifying themselves as “warriors” held its security workers captive prior to Oct. 17, when the RCMP enforced a court injunction against the Native blockade near the site where the company is trying to find shale gas. The statement of claim alleges the workers were trapped near their seismic equipment in the woods near Rexton and claims they were threatened by people yelling over a megaphone: “This is the last face you will see” and “Your family will hate you because you won’t come home.”
SWN Resources says an expensive piece of drilling equipment was also “burned to the ground” and is seeking damages including lost profits, interest and the company’s legal costs. Requests for comment from the protesters were not returned. None of the allegations have been proven in court. New Brunswick Premier David Alward says there were plenty of meetings between his government, the company and the Elsipogtog First Nation before things boiled over with violent protests earlier this month. “There’s been significant consultation that has taken place…that’s work that we will continue to do to build relationships,” Alward told reporters in Ottawa. Alward added he suspects the recent violence in Rexton was sparked by interlopers and not locals.
Maliseet anti-shale gas letter delivered to premier’s office by CBC News, October 28, 2013
A letter signed by several First Nation leaders, calling for a moratorium on shale gas exploration and development in New Brunswick, has been delivered to the premier’s office. Meanwhile, members of the Maliseet First Nation continued to gather Monday at a traditional longhouse set up one block away from the premier’s office over the weekend. Others are being urged to bring tepees to set up there as well, in hopes the site will be crowded by Nov. 5, when the legislature’s fall session is scheduled to begin, said Ron Tremblay, of Wolastoq Grand Council. Tremblay wants more than a temporary moratorium to allow for more research. He wants the shale gas industry stopped before it’s started.
“Gone. Period. Forever,” he said.
On Sunday, members of the Maliseet First Nation carried a sacred fire across the St. John River for a ceremony at the longhouse, where six elected Maliseet chiefs and the traditional chief of the St. John River Valley signed an agreement, stating all are unified in their opposition to shale gas development.
Premier David Alward was in Ottawa on Monday, St. Mary’s First Nation Chief Candice Paul hand delivered the letter to one of his staff members. Paul contends there needs to be an independent review of the contentious issue. “It would involve qualified people that we would pick … and with the proper credentials,” she said. Bronson Acquin-Mandisodza, 17, of St. Mary’s First Nation, says it’s an historic occasion. “My mom, in her lifetime, said she’s never seen all the Maliseet communities being brought together until this week,” said Acquin-Mandisodza, the keeper of the sacred fire at the longhouse. “This gathering here is a show of unity and solidarity among the nations here,” said elder Alma Brooks. Harry LaPorte, grand chief of the Maliseet First Nation, said he hopes the unity shown among the Maliseet will be echoed by the Mi’kmaq and Passamaquoddy nations they also invited to the longhouse.
Laporte said Alward is welcome to visit the longhouse any time. “Our unified front has already been established by us meeting in here today in our government longhouse. Mr. Alward probably should come talk to us. Then he’ll have a better understanding of who we are. And what we are. And why we are.” [Emphasis added]
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