A New Brunswick court has just granted Texas-based SWN Resources the injunction it requested, that means those defending the land and water against fracking are supposed to stay 250 metres (about 750 feet) away from the front and back of SWN’s trucks and 20 metres (about 60 feet) back from the side of the highway. It appears from the news we have at this point that this is a permanent injunction.
This decision brings to mind the highly-controversial law in Ontario several years ago when a temporary 5-metre ‘security zone’ was established around the fence built for the G20 summit in Toronto.
Ontario’s ombudsman said for various reasons that law was illegal, likely unconstitutional, should never have been enacted, was beyond the authority of the government to enact, and gave the police powers that are unfamiliar in a democratic society. The Canadian Civil Liberties Association also raised concerns about the appropriateness of ‘security perimeters’ and the limits it places on the right to express dissent.
When the law in Ontario was first noted in the news, the Council of Canadians used a measuring tape to determine the 5-metre distance from the G20 fence, put duct tape on the ground to mark that measurement, and expressed our concerns to the media and the police about this law (see photo).
Maybe the Ombudsman in New Brunswick could be asked to comment on the concerns raised by his counterpart in Ontario?
Perhaps more significantly, we need to recognize, as argued by Chelsea Vowel, that, “The Mi’kmaq never gave up legal rights to their land or resources. Canada does not own the land that the people of Elsipogtog are defending. This is not conspiracy theory, or indigenous interpretation. This is Canadian law, interpreted by the Supreme Court of Canada, applying Canadian constitutional principles.”