The Maritimes Energy Association hosted another conference promoting fossil fuel expansion in the region yesterday, this time in Moncton with the focus on natural gas. “Natural Gas Supply 2018 and Beyond”, also connected with the Atlantica Centre for Energy whose interests cover the Maritimes plus Newfoundland and Labrador, Ontario, Alberta and Maine, was met with opposition waving signs and banging drums to indicate the industry still is not welcome.
The shale gas fracking debate is heightened again in New Brunswick with Progressive Conservative leader Blaine Higgs now in power after the Brian Gallant Liberals lost a vote of confidence on November 02nd, 2018. Higgs has been clear that his minority government would move to lift the moratorium and allow communities who support shale gas exploration and development to go ahead.
This new leadership position in New Brunswick, coupled with the uncertainty of support for the existing moratorium by the Nova Scotia Liberals under Stephen McNeil, have created hope for the industry. The MEA was clearly hoping to build on with their conference yesterday.
But those hopes may have been dashed by the 30-50 people who showed up outside with signs and drums in an event organized by the Moncton Chapter of the Council of Canadians, proving that the opposition to shale gas development is still alive and well. As with the opposition that peaked in the Fall of 2013 in Kent County, people from Indigenous, Francophone and Anglophone backgrounds came together in the spirit of protecting the water and the environment from the damaging industry.
Kopit Lodge, a community-run territorial protection organization in Elsipogtog (whose first mission to protect the water, because for the Mi’kmaq the water is alive and sacred and without water there is no life), issued a statement in advance of the MEA conference yesterday. You can read the full statement here, but the group is concerned that this industry may be looking to come to unceded, unsurrendered territory of the Mi’kmaq Nation despite not being welcome.
The opposition 5 years ago was strong and this time will be no different. Old friends reconnected and alliances reborn to protect communities from the fracking industry. The Moncton and Kent County chapters were both there in force and the Council of Canadians (the grassroots chapters in NB along with the national organization) stands with our allies, resolute in our opposition to fracking - regardless of what happens in relation to colonial leadership in the province of New Brunswick.
To read more about the opposition in 2013 and to fracking in New Brunswick, click here.