Common Sense Canadian

Grand Chief: Unite in face of Elsipogtog, Harper ‘War on Mother Earth’

PostedOctober 20, 2013 by in Canada

Grand Chief Stewart Phillip called for unity in the face of Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s “War on Mother Earth” at a Vancouver rally this past Friday – connected to the Elsipogtog people’s protests against fracking in New Brunswick.

The Vancouver rally was one of dozens across the country and took place on the same day as hundreds of “Global Frackdown” events around the world in opposition to controversial shale gas development.

The Canadian rallies were in support of the Mi’kmaq peoples of the Elsipogtog Nation, whose peaceful protest against fracking exploration was broken up by a heavy-handed RCMP raid early Thursday morning, sparking outrage across the nation.

Phillip, the president of the Union of BC Indian Chiefs, told the crowd of a thousand, “We are heading for a watershed moment in this country” – suggesting that Harper’s “petro-power” agenda to “sell out the resources of all Canadians” is coming to a head with First Nations and Canadian citizens.

What we witnessed yesterday – the brutality of the RCMP, the heavy-handed, para-miniltary response to a peaceful protest was a message…sent to British Columbia. It was a message sent to all of us here that when the Harper government vetoes any notion on the Joint Review Panel – to approve the pipeline projects, the natural gas developments, liquified natural gas exports to Asia and other countries – the Harper government is telling us this is what we may expect, that type of brutal response from the RCMP.

Philip suggested these Elsipogtog developments are timely, coming on the heels of a visit by UN aboriginal rights envoy Dr. James Anaya, who concluded Canada faces a “crisis” over its treatment of indigenous peoples. Philip connects this crisis directly to the federal government’s resource extraction agenda:

“We know it’s the $650 Billion worth of large-scale resource development projects that the Harper government is attempting to ram through. Prime Minister Harper wants to turn this into a petro-power and it’s our duty to stand up and say, ‘No’.”


About the Author

Damien Gillis

Damien Gillis is a Vancouver-based documentary filmmaker with a focus on environmental and social justice issues - especially relating to water, energy, and saving Canada's wild salmon - working with many environmental organizations in BC and around the world. He is the co-founder, along with Rafe Mair, of The Common Sense Canadian, and a board member of both the BC Environmental Network and the Haig-Brown Institute.


    Carol Ring

    We non-1st Nations people in new Brunswick are standing shoulder to shoulder with our native brothers and sisters in this fight against shale gas exploration and development in this province.There are at least 29 groups of concerned citizens made up of Anglophones, Francophones and 1st Nations who have been peacefully protesting shale gas here. We have asked our premier to listen to our concerns but no valid response. A poll taken here showed that at least 66% of Atlantic Canadians do not want fracking for shale gas to take place. Yet our government appears to plan to go ahead with this extremely destructive industry on the basis of the economy, despite the fact that many studies have shown the economy dwindles after the land has been fracked. Our environment ; our health , our air, water and soil are at extreme risk.
    Let us all fight to STOP SHALE GAS!

    Alexandra Morton

    Damien, thank you for posting this. And thank you to Grand Chief Stewart Phillip for your powerful, peaceful presence, so full of integrity. I hope that people realize that if future generations could speak to us right now, they would beg us to protect mother earth. They would tell us of the horrors of their existence without clean air, water and food and among them would be Harper’s descendants, yours and mine. There are no losers when you are protecting our home. We have to do this if you love a child, if you love the animals who are our neighbours. Our challenge is to remain peaceful and immoveable. I hope that the RCMP can find their way through this, as we are working for their children too. Our species is looking a painful extinction in the eye – make no mistake about it.

    John Gilberts

    Somewhat bizarre for a BC Indigenous leader to be extolling ‘the values that were responsible for creating this country’, ‘For the values that thounsands upon thousands of men and women laid down their lives on the battlefields of Europe…’to defend the ideals of democracy.’

    Those ‘ideals’ were ‘defending’ a settler-state and empire based on usurpation, genocide and occupation. Or perhaps the ‘Grand Chief’ still has an NDP party card in his back pocket and is thinking of running for Canada? Sure sounds like it..

    Kevin Logan

    Thanks for posting this.

    The severely skewed CBC coverage of the event happened to overlook the first words out of the Chiefs mouth with respect to the deceleration of war that he goes on to describe in significant detail.

    CBC instead chose to tell a story that there is much support for fracking amongst indigenous British Columbians as seen here:

    Odd interpretation of the events that occurred that day on behalf of the CBC I would say.

    Jan Halvarson

    Who said this?

    BREAKING NEWS: Reports are coming in of a massive build up of Police/Military from both the US and Canadian forces in New Brunswick after Canadian PM vows to “Crush this indigenous issue at all costs by what ever means at our disposal” More information as it becomes available

Leave a Response