The Council of Canadians chapter activists, supporters and staff are involved in the Muskrat Falls Solidarity Chain Fast. Today, I am fasting to raise awareness and build resistance to the Muskrat Falls project. I join others including Emma Webb, Chris White and members of Solidarity Halifax, and those who fasted before me and those who will fast after - much love and respect to you all.
As I attempt to focus on doing good work* with the Council of Canadians today, I am also taking the time to reflect upon the grassroots struggle that has been ongoing in Labrador in opposition to the Muskrat Falls project.
I choose to fast today because the largely Indigenous population downstream from this project will be faced with either going hungry or eating a country food web poisoned by methylmercury.
I choose to fast today because the grassroots opposition hungers for justice, for true consultation, and for respect for the Truth and Reconciliation Commission recommendations and the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
I choose to fast today because the three demands of the Labrador Land Protectors, the Grand Riverkeeper Labrador and other grassroots opposition have still not been met. They are:
Immediate implementation of the original recommendations from a major 2016 Harvard University study (seconded by an Independent Experts Advisory Committee) for full clearance of brush, trees, and topsoil, along with the capping of the wetlands, at the Muskrat Falls reservoir to prevent the bioaccumulation of the neurotoxin methylmercury.
Immediate appointment of an independent inquiry into the instability of the North Spur, because no study has proven that it is secure enough to prevent a catastrophic dam break and mass drowning.
- The federal government, provincial government, and Nalcor (the crown corporation behind the dam) must halt all work on the dam until they have received the free, prior and informed consent of all Indigenous peoples affected by the dam, as well as that of non-Indigenous downstream residents.
As part of my fast today, I will send the above to PM Trudeau and relevant ministers, to Newfoundland and Labrador Premier Ball and relevant ministers and Nalcor Energy’s CEO Stan Marshall (NL’s provincial energy corporation).
I fast again on August 22nd and September 19th. If you’d like to find out more, check out this blog. If you’re in a position of privilege as I am, where fasting is an option and you’d like to volunteer to fast a day or a few days before the chain fast ends on September 22nd, email Matthew at firstname.lastname@example.org (feel free to identify yourself as a Council of Canadians activist or supporter).
A big thanks to Matthew for organizing this chain fast and many other important events, and big hugs and thanks to all of those opposing this and other megaprojects across Turtle Island and around the world, but especially Denise Cole and Roberta Benefiel for their contributions to this ongoing local struggle.
To learn more about the Council of Canadians involvement in Muskrat Falls opposition, click here.
(*[I would be remiss to not mention other important work on my plate today] this includes supporting amazing chapter work in the Atlantic region, continuing to raise awareness about BP and the Offshore industry in Nova Scotia including a radio interview with Antonia Juhasz to be aired tomorrow, and supporting the release of the NS Offshore Alliance’s call for a public inquiry)