Today, I was on Parliament Hill to stand in solidarity with the Labrador Land Protectors and the Grand Riverkeeper-Labrador. Fifteen people, including three Inuit elders, were arrested while attempting to make their voices and others opposing the dam heard about the dangers of the Muskrat Falls mega-dam project, which threatens their land and environment, their traditional food sources and cultural practices, their health and well-being – their very survival.
This action at Parliament Hill was amplified by others across the country, including in Halifax, St. John’s, Winnipeg, Mississauga and Happy Valley-Goose Bay.
The Council of Canadians has joined the call on the federal government to withdraw its $9.2 billion loan guarantee for Muskrat Falls. Nalcor Energy and the government of Newfoundland and Labrador must also enact the recommendations of the Independent Expert Advisory Committee, including removal of vegetation and topsoil prior to further flooding of the reservoir to minimize the threat of methylmercury entering the land, water and food system, which are critical to the social, cultural and spiritual well-being of local Innu and Inuit. Without this, nearby Indigenous communities are at risk. This is nothing short of cultural genocide.
Some people say that the whole project should be shut down, because no amount of methylmercury, a potent neurotoxin, is safe.
There is also the very real potential for a catastrophic break in the dam due to its dependency on a natural formation known as the North Spur. The North Spur is mainly made of quick clay, which is known to move under pressure.
Dr. Stig Bernander, the world’s foremost quick clay expert, provided a damning assessment of the project, yet Nalcor continues to depend on the North Spur.
The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, which the federal government has promised to respect and fully implement, along with Trudeau’s own claimed commitment to reconciliation, should have steered this ship in another direction long ago. Free, prior and informed consent did not take place.
This is unacceptable. Join us in supporting this frontline call!
Muskrat Falls already has a price tag nearing $13-billion – more than double the initial estimates – with a life-of-project cost projected to be $78 billion.
This massive hydro dam project is one of 118 dams proposed across Canada and Muskrat Falls is paving the way for the others. The Trudeau government is supporting Nalcor Energy’s corporate interests at the risk of the health and well-being of the predominantly Indigenous communities downstream.
Let’s #MakeMuskratRight #ShutMuskratDown