Solidarity Halifax stands in support of all those who have risked violence and incarceration to oppose natural gas exploration near Elsipogtog and Kent, New Brunswick. The bravery and sacrifice of those blocking SWN contractors and tending to the sacred fire are an inspiration to all those who oppose capitalist and colonial exploitation and the dispossession of common land in the name of private profits.
We deplore the provincial and federal governments’ willingness to sacrifice the environment and traditional ways of life to appease corporate interests. Allowing SWN, a Texas oil and gas company, and its partners to destroy New Brunswick’s water and land in the name of wealth accumulation is an assault on the commons and is a clear prioritization of the needs of the wealthy few over those who live and work in the communities around the possible well sites.
We oppose attempts by self-interested political leaders to negotiate profit sharing agreements with oil and gas companies. Like the protestors on the ground, we reject the political opportunism of elected leaders who have sided with corporations against the people of New Brunswick. No amount of money can justify the damage that fracking has wrought on communities across North America, and there is no way to safely or responsibly desecrate the environment for profit.
For a century the RCMP have diligently worked to protect the interests of capital by serving as their armed enforcers against Canada’s First Nations and working people. Given this history, the videos, photos and first-hand accounts from the Elsipogtog Nation are disheartening but not surprising. The role that Canada’s national police force has played in serving as an armed escort for trucks owned by a massive multi-national corporation make it clear that those who place a higher priority on the health of people and the land will find no assistance from Canada, the police, or our elected political leadership. The province of New Brunswick and the Canadian state prioritize profit over freedom of speech, human health and responsible environmental stewardship.
We recognize the disproportionate impact that fracking will have on the Mi’kmaq and Maliseet and we deplore the targeted arrests by the RCMP of Indigenous activists. The struggle in Elsipogtog is part of a larger history of Indigenous struggle which stretches back to contact and has been re-ignited by the Idle No More movement. While this battle is currently being fought in a small corner of New Brunswick, the impact will be felt across the entire region. We are heartened and inspired by the multi-racial coalition which has sprung up to resist the intrusion of SWN and the RCMP onto traditional Mi’kmaq territory.
The events of recent weeks represent clear warnings. First, a warning to the people of Atlantic Canada that gas companies who use hydraulic fracturing have begun their assault on our land. Second, the police, political parties and most other alleged leaders will side with capital if profits are threatened. The resistance of the people of New Brunswick is also a warning to those in power: if you won’t fight against those who seek only to destroy in the name of profit, then we will.
Solidarity Halifax is a democratic, non-sectarian, anti-capitalist organization based in Halifax, NS. We oppose capitalism and all forms of oppression and work to create a more fair and equitable world free of exploitation.