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