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Offshore Nova Scotia: Not Worth The Risk rally in Halifax

People rallied outside the Maritimes Energy Association’s Core conference today in downtown Halifax, chanting ‘Water is Life’, holding signs and banners, and passing out leaflets to passersby and conference participants and they left for the day.

Unfortunately, conference participants were redirected to another exit so they could avoid the rally.

They missed speakers who raised concerns with the threat to existing sustainable industries, in particular the fishery. John Davis of the Clean Ocean Action Committee came from Shelburne to tell us the importance of the fishing industry to his community and to the Nova Scotia economy. Darlene Gilbert, Mi’kmaq grandmother and Treaty Rights holder, pointed out that Mi’kmaq depend on fish for sustenance, and wondered who would buy our fish once we’ve had an oil spill.

Darlene Gilbert, Mi’kmaq grassroots activist and treaty rights holder (to the left of banner): “When was I consulted about this? Nobody consulted me.”

They missed my colleague Robin Tress share a statement from the 2030 Network which calls on the Nova Scotia Government to set strong greenhouse gas targets and transition to a low-carbon economy while recognizing “the structural inequalities of race, gender, income, and the ongoing impacts of colonization and environmental racism in our province.” The Council of Canadians is part of this Network, made up of two dozen groups including labour organizations, Mi’kmaq groups, students, businesses, energy affordability advocates and environmental and social justice organizations.

Robin addressing the crowd in Halifax. Offshore Drilling: Not Worth the Risk signs available through the Campaign to Protect Offshore Nova Scotia (CPONS)

They missed the intention of the gathering completely: to raise awareness that despite being a major sponsor of their industry conference, BP should not have a role in determining our energy future and they are not welcome here, offshore unceded territory of the Mi’kmaq Nation.

More events to come this week! We’re at the Mahone Bay Centre tomorrow night (7-9pm) for a panel event (featuring Maude Barlow, Mayor David Devenne and Chelsea Fougere of CPONS), a flotilla Thursday morning at 10am, and a public panel in Halifax Thursday evening at the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic (again 7-9pm with Marilynn-Leigh Francis, Indigenous fisherwoman as well as Maude and Chelsea).

BP’s drilling is part of bigger issues as we see them:

  • We are over-dependent on fossil fuels;

  • Our governments’ subsidies to the industry need to stop;

  • Free, Prior and Informed Consent as outlined under the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples needs to be more than a talking point about how the federal government is working on reconciliation;

  • It is time for a just transition to become a real thing that all levels of government support. NOW.

  • So. Many. Other. Issues.

Offshore drilling needs to be part of our past, not part of our future. #ProtectOffshoreNS #ProtectOffshoreNSMikmaki #NSpoli

Elder Billy Lewis welcomes the crowd to unceded territory of the Mi’kmaq Nation, reminds us our government has precautionary principle and offshore drilling would not pass the test.

John Davis of the Clean Ocean Action Committee tells us how important the fishery is to NS.