Is Elsipogtog the spark that will light the fracking fire?

 Is #Elsipogtog the spark that will light the fracking fire?
A Vancouver protest in sympathy with the Elsipogtog First Nation (Damien Gillis)

Yesterday, Canadian Ministers were attending the World Energy Congress, delivering keynote speeches. BC Minister of Natural gas non-disclosure, Rich Coleman, was in attendance, amidst negotiations for one of the world’s largest energy deals – destined to frack northeast of BC in ways we have never seen before.

Canadian Natural resource Minister Joe Oliver told the Congress that Canada expects 650 Billion US dollars worth of investment in the energy industry. We are at the Centre of the international fracking boom and most Canadians dont know it. It is literally like being in the eye of the storm.

And then it happened.


Early in the morning, a frightening squadron of snipers crawling on their bellies through the long grass snuck up on a line of tents in rural New Brunswick, where Mi’kmaq elders, children and other “protectors” were camped in a weeks long blockade.copdog

They were quickly followed up with a small army of thoroughly geared para-military-like “authorities”. It looked like a scene from any tin pot dictatorship hell bent on oppressing its own citizens while protecting the rights of foreign energy giants.

The crude awakening for the spattering of Mi’kmaq protectors quickly led to an escalation in fear and soon rubber bullets were flying and police cars were blazing.

What was a weeks-long peaceful display of people protecting their land and demanding a respectful and responsible process that was inclusive and fair in the exploitation our nation’s resource wealth quickly became a spectacle of police state oppression.

Trade Deals and Treaties collide

Much like BC, the Mi’kmaq lands are unceded, with a stalled treaty process that has been going since before the Burying the Hatchet ceremony of 1761. The Treaties did not gain legal status until they were enshrined into the Canadian Constitution in 1982.

Every October 1, “Treaty Day” is now celebrated by Nova Scotians. Recently, upwards of 100,000 of Mi’kmaq people gained “status” due to court proceedings and it was a serious landmark in the struggle of the Mi’kmaq people.

However, today may be the beginning of a another page of history for the Mi’kmaq people.

After yet another prorogued parliament and the day after the pomp and ceremony of the “Speech from the Throne” designed to “turn the channel” away from the torrent of scandals the first half of the Harper majority visited upon the land, the Mi’kmaq people turned the channel back to the now longstanding undercurrent of native unrest from coast to coast, manifested in major movements like Idle no More.

At the very heart of the unrest is the collision between dysfunctional treaty relations, international trade agreements and the unprecedented exploitation of the land. Literally, trillions of dollars of Canadian natural resources are up for grabs and the international corporate model of globalized exploitation has ushered in a third world model of oppression and greed that is sparking significant pushback.

Therefore it was fitting that this event occurred while Harper was skipping out on his first day back at the House to fly to Europe and celebrate his government’s signing of the first major Free Trade Agreement since the Mulroney conservatives entered us into the highly controversial North American Free Trade Agreement.

European trade deal, oil and gas

CETA is a comprehensive trade agreement with huge implications, much of which revolve around oil and gas, despite the fact that all that is being reported is a squabble over cheese.

CETA can be added to a long list of trade and investment agreements that are ushering in a new era, sidelining governments in favour of corporate rights and control and placing the profitability of foreign interests over the citizens of the country, our domestic economy and the environment we all depend upon.

First Nations people understand that the window of opportunity to try and wrestle a modicum of sovereignty and control over our economic destiny and environmental sustainability is closing. CETA, TPP, FIPPA are all about to slam that window shut and build upon existing trade and investment agreements that thoroughly alter the economic and political landscape of the country at the expense of the citizens who depend upon it.

This affects all Canadians

With the pace of the oil and gas agenda reaching a “gold rush” stage and Harper’s vision of “Energy Super Power” becoming crystal clear, people from coast to coast to coast are beginning to realize this might not be all that it was cracked up to be – and that when Harper claimed “you won’t recognize Canada when I am done”, he was right.

The labyrinth of domestic legislation rammed through by way of omnibus coupled with trade and investment agreements have, in effect, left all Canadians voiceless squatters on our own land.

The courageous actions of the Mi’kmaq people and leaders like Pam Palmater are at the tip of the spear.

#Elsipogtog could be the spark that starts the fracking fire, putting at risk the 650 Billion dollar agenda Oliver boasted about and trade agreements Harper celebrated on the same day they unleashed the RCMP in rural New Brunswick against a brave and courageous people.


About Kevin Logan

Kevin Logan's career has been diverse, ranging from small business to NGOs through finance and government. Early on, he operated the research department for the Vancouver branch of international brokerage Richardson Greenshields. After leaving the finance industry he owned operated small businesses and eventually established a consulting company which contracts with both the private and public sectors. He served as a ministerial assistant to numerous ministers and a premier in the former BC NDP Administration. Kevin is also an independent researcher and writer who has administered many diverse and successful campaigns.

19 thoughts on “Is Elsipogtog the spark that will light the fracking fire?

  1. much appreciation for this informative and accurate disclosure on yet another crucial attack on common Canadian citizens who as usual are much like the canary in the coal mines…

    since when do we shoot the canary and dig deeper…

    history seems to reveal that ” Nothings Changed”

    consequently we must overcome even more challenges as Canada becomes increasingly exploited .. resources are plenty inhabitants few… but if we understand that we are all citizens of this vast land no matter what our historical nationality there is a lot more of us who have the same goal… democracy …

    i am so grateful for the courageous and hard working people who contribute to common sense and who are putting things straight so we can gather and debate and find our common ground..

    much thanks Kevin

  2. It was said that “clear cutting the trees of our land would produce Canadians with more jobs.” Now look at us! With only 40% Left of our forests left and still not yet living the high life as Canadians. We have been living our lives all wrong and the cost of it all will leave us shaken

  3. Keep in mind, they drill to feed our demand, stop being customers to these fossil fuel companies, start investing and buying clean green energies, get into clean renewable programs!! There are billions of people who uses dirty energy daily and we people, gotta change what energy we use, if those who care about the environment, start acting like you do!! Just go clean! Be part of a solution and NOT a problem (customer).
    I had to change career paths cause I care what is going on with the environment, my home, my future, and other living creatures, I will be enrolling myself in a clean renewable energy program after I am done upgrading at the college here.
    It will take a whole lot more clean energy workers to help transition our selfs off of fossil fuels quickly.
    As long you are driving, and heating up your home with fossil fuels, you ARE part of the audience! Wake up and do something to help us go green!

  4. It us said the officers found guns and bombs…hmmm doesnt that just conveniently justify their presence…That territory is in bear country… protection…moose…food???

    1. It is a good point you make.

      Much of what treaties enable on land like the land in question here is hunting.

      So the police finding hunting gear is akin to raiding a golf course and finding people with golf clubs, which I guess could be used to hurt someone, but are probably just there so people can golf. Exactly why people in that vicinity may have had hunting gear like rifles, hunting knives, ammo and bear spray, that was included in the exhibit to prove they “were armed to the teeth.”

      BTW – Armed to the teeth is the exact language used by Sun News in their headline on this story….

  5. This is what they’re saying about CETA:

    “It will boost Canada’s economy by $12 billion annually – the equivalent of creating 80,000 new jobs, or increasing the average Canadian household’s annual income by $1,000.”

    This is what they said about TILMA, between BC and Alberta, in 2006:

    “It could mean as much as an additional $4.8 billion in real GDP and 78,000 jobs in BC alone.”

    Total B.S.

  6. When will more Canadians wake up, too many people with power/voice must feel they are so insulated that environmental damage won’t impact them – that they can buy their way out of poisoned water, air and land, and for a while they will be able to, but as the damage deepens it will find them also.

  7. While one may agree with the author’s sentiments and analysis, you certainly cannot dismiss the fact that police discovered guns and pipe bombs. While police were looking more like a paramilitary force in recent days, it looks like it was prudent, given the increased level of danger.

    1. Thanks for your comment, and agreeing with the premise of my piece.

      There were no “pipe bombs” found, the police had an exhibit that included modified fireworks, and three hunting rifles with some ammunition.

      The origin of the exhibit has not been confirmed by anyone, but any such findings have been denied by the largely peaceful protest.

      Of the 40 people the police detained only 6 remain in custody, no charges have been reported. Remember the Harper administration has ushered in draconian anti terrorism laws, and they can contain anyone without charge for up to the three days. That seems to be what has occurred here with the 6 remaining in custody.

      There are first hand accounts of people who were detained, and were never charged and eventually released, and the CBC reports what I just outlined above in terms of the 6 remaining detainees.

      Finally, see this video that was taken one week before this event and you can see the same people in the second video (below) where the military style intervention is occurring. The first video is a very peaceful event…. the second has the same people but with much less peace as a result of an armed intervention where shots are ringing out.

      Peaceful gathering…

      Non peaceful gathering

      Same people same place, only difference is hundreds of armed authorities.

      The land in question is unceded territory with a long history see here:

  8. they are also trying this action in Ireland, but the Irish people have fought the big companies to a standstill for 13 years check out the fight at

    the police illegally arrest the locals for the companies, a film was make to support the locals “THE PIPE” on imdb

    i can only hope that the same courage to stand for what is right is allowed for your convictions.

    just to let you all know you do not stand alone in this small planet earth.

    let us journey into the future in peace, we stand beside you and please check us out and share ideas to keep our rights.

    tiocfaidh bhúr lá (“your day will come”) borthers and sisters

  9. It is ironic that those who have benefitted the least from “development” and “progress” are the vanguard in resisting further encroachment. Evidence mounts that fracking poisons groundwater and ruins farmland and the lives of those who depend on the drinking water, and yet both provincial and federal governments continue to not only allow but actually encourage the industry increasingly dependent on fracking. They are putting profit ahead of people.

  10. Fracking affects all of us equally, please everyone educate yourself on the whole process. It is poisoning our land and water and also we are loosing a enormous amount of water that can not be regained. We have to share this Earth, please help to take care if it. This seems as it’s quickly becoming a race issue, do not buy into this. If we continue to fight against each other we will not get anything done, this is not at race issue, this is a environment issue. Please educate yourselves, share valuable information with others and don’t get caught up in all this hate and racism. thank you for this article.

  11. .. the image is eloquent .. in many ways representing the savage attack actuality of our current civil servant Stephen Harper and the forces he is turning against Canada and Canadians. there should be no misunderstanding here.. Stephen Harper will order police, RCMP and Canadian Forces into the boreal, the coasts, the mountains, prairies and arctic to attack First Nations and Canadians defending treaties, environment and Canada.. from foreign owned energy consortiums aided by deluded MP’s, Ministers, secretive unelected PMO stooges and lobbyists.

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