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The Council of Canadians supports call to respect UNDRIP, oppose Muskrat Falls dam

The Council of Canadians will be on Parliament Hill on Monday in solidarity with the Labrador Land Protectors and Grand Riverkeeper-Labrador and their opposition to the Muskrat Falls hydro-electric dam.

The Facebook event page for the rally highlights, “On Monday, May 7, the Ontario-Muskrat Solidarity Coalition and Direct Action Muskrat (DAM) will hold a rally on Parliament Hill (traditional, unceded Algonquin territory) and an act of civil resistance (aka civil disobedience) from which individuals trained in nonviolence will nonviolently enter the Parliament building and place the names and faces and words of all those whose lives are at risk at Muskrat Falls on the desks of MPs in the House of Commons. These will be representative of the people from whom the government has failed to seek and obtain free, prior, and informed consent (as required by the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples).”

This is part of a coordinated day of action with events also happening in Halifax, St. John’s, Winnipeg, Mississauga and Happy Valley-Goose Bay.

The Council of Canadians has been raising concerns about the Muskrat Falls project since November 2012. The project would see two large dams on the lower Churchill River in Labrador. The dams are being built on Innu territory, but the Inuit also claim part of the lands that would be affected by the project as their traditional territory.

Our Groundswell annual conference in St. John’s in October 2016 featured Tshaukuesh (Elizabeth) Penashue, an Innu elder who opposes the dam. At that time, The Independent reported, “To the 69-year-old, the most important thing is preserving nutshimit (the country), of which Muskrat Falls is a significant part for the Innu, Inuit and Inuit-Metis. The Innu’s unhindered access and connection to the land and water are fundamental to the preservation of their culture.”

The Council of Canadians St. John’s chapter also called for a halt to the project in 2016 to protect the health, culture and human rights of the people of Labrador. More recently, the chapter applied for standing with the Commission of Inquiry of the project, but their application was denied as being outside their mandate.

Halifax-based Council of Canadians Atlantic regional organizer Angela Giles has stated, “For the Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples in Happy Valley-Goose Bay, living downstream from this mega hydro project is putting their lives, livelihood and culture at risk. There are real concerns with the safety of this dam, and the threat of methylmercury poisoning for all generations to come.”

For information on the ‘Hear the Voices of Muskrat Falls! Solidarity rally in Halifax’ on May 7 hosted by the Council of Canadians Atlantic Office, Solidarity Halifax and Sierra Club Atlantic Canada Chapter, click here. That event page notes, “In Halifax, we are standing in solidarity with our sisters and brothers in Labrador calling for the clearing of the reservoir, raising awareness of the connection Emera / Nova Scotia Power has to this project, and talking about other water protection struggles happening in this region. Join us!”

For more on the action on Parliament Hill, click here.

For numerous blogs about our opposition to the Muskrat Falls dam, please click here.