13 people were arrested on Parliament Hill yesterday at a Protest Against Megadam Megadamage in Ottawa, which started outside the annual meeting of the International Coalition on Large Dams before marching to the Hill. Everyone was released with a trespass ticket and a 90 day ban from the Hill soon after.
I took part in the protest, organized by the Ontario-Muskrat Solidarity Coalition and Wa Ni Ska Tan: An Alliance of Hydro Impacted Communities. Indigenous Land and Water Protectors were in Ottawa to challenge Site C, Muskrat Falls, the Automation of the Grand Rapids Generation Station, and other damaging megadam projects.
The Indigenous Land and Water Protectors and allies were arrested while trying to deliver a 15,000 signature petition against megadams to Minister of Environment and Climate Change, Catherine McKenna.
Indigenous Labrador Land Protectors Amy Norman, Erin Saunders and Eldred Davis drove 13 hours to get to Ottawa. They and many others travelled a significant distance to seek a meeting with the Minister, after being ignored for over a year. It’s shameful that instead of having their concerns - and those of the petition signatories - listened to and addressed, many were arrested.
Megadams have a track record of trampling Indigenous rights and are - despite a perception to the contrary - a significant source of Greenhouse Gas emissions. If we're serious about Indigenous rights and reducing our emissions in line with climate science, as well as a Green New Deal that respects both, we must say no to megadams.
Megaprojects like Site C and Muskrat Falls are destroying Indigenous peoples lives and the environment. They are part of the genocide identified by the Report of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls.
For all of these reasons and more, the Council will continue organizing in solidarity with Indigenous peoples rejecting these lethal projects.