Oct 222013
 

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People’s Voice newspaper commentary

The shocking attack on Oct. 17 by RCMP officers against anti-fracking protesters in New Brunswick sends a clear signal that the Canadian state and the Harper Conservative government want to smash the growing resistance by Aboriginal peoples, environmentalists and other forces which oppose the destructive profiteering of transnational energy monopolies, such as the Houston-based Southwest Energy company (SWN).

People’s Voice and the Communist Party of Canada join with all democratic and progressive people in condemning this brutal police violence. The Oct. 21 decision by the Court of Queen’s Bench to lift SWN’s injunction, which had been filed to end the blockade protecting Mi’kmaq traditional territory from fracking, is a major victory, and makes clear that the RCMP attack was completely unjustified.

We urge full solidarity with the Elsipogtog First Nation in the struggle against fracking on their traditional territories. The wave of solidarity demonstrations across Canada and around the world was a powerful statement that the Harper government must be compelled to abandon its repressive tactics, and to engage in meaningful and constructive dialogue with Aboriginal peoples.

But the RCMP attack in New Brunswick, coming just two days after the departure from Canada of James Anaya, the UN Special Rapporteur on indigenous peoples, proves that much stronger public opposition will be needed to block the Conservative agenda.

Fracking exploration and development of shale gas are proceeding at a frantic pace across much of Canada, despite mounting evidence that injecting a mix of sand, chemicals and water into the ground contaminates drinking water sources.

In western Canada, the Conservatives continue to give one hundred percent support to the drive by the big energy monopolies to export diluted bitumen from the tar sands, heedless of the massive environmental dangers involved in using pipelines, tankers and rail transport. The Line 9 proposal in central Canada, again backed by the federal Conservatives, is yet another energy export plan which has generated serious concerns among Aboriginal peoples and other residents.

In every case, the inherent rights of Aboriginal peoples are trampled in the race to expand energy exports. The rights of all Canadians are also under attack, as the Harper government removes or even simply ignores legislative and legal impediments to its reactionary agenda.

We extend our full support to all struggles by Aboriginal peoples and their allies against the expansion of energy exports, which threatens to further poison the natural environment, and which contributes to the serious crisis of climate change fuelled by carbon emissions. This is a struggle for the future of Canada, and for the entire planet.

We further demand that the Conservative federal government and provincial governments immediately cease their campaign of injunctions, harassment, violence against critics of their environmental destruction.