The Canadian Press - ONLINE EDITION

New Brunswick shale gas fight will go on, chief vows despite court ruling

  • Print

FREDERICTON - The chief of the Elsipogtog First Nation says the fight to halt shale gas exploration in New Brunswick will go on despite a court ruling Monday rejecting his request for an injunction to stop seismic testing.

The province's Court of Queen's Bench dismissed Aaron Sock's application for an injunction, saying there was no evidence that plans by SWN Resources to proceed in its search for shale gas would amount to a degree of harm to Elsipogtog.

"It's a small step backwards," said Sock as he left the courthouse.

"We will regroup and come back with other options."

The lawyer for Elsipogtog had argued Friday that the provincial government failed to properly consult with First Nations before granting exploration licences to SWN Resources.

In his application for the injunction, T.J. Burke also said there is a risk of the type of violent clash that erupted last month between police and protesters near Rexton if exploration is allowed to continue.

But Judge Judy Clendening said there is no evidence that the behaviour of the respondents could be the basis for possible civil unrest. She added that given that Elsipogtog had delegated responsibility for the consultation process to the Assembly of First Nations Chiefs of New Brunswick, any dispute between those two sides should be resolved at a trial.

Clendening also said it is apparent that SWN Resources is suffering monetary losses as a result of protests over shale gas development.

Sock said he hopes protests remain peaceful but he couldn't guarantee they would.

"I'm just one man and I can't really commit to anything," he said.

Burke said the fight with the provincial government over what he described as a lack of consultation is far from over.

"Fighting for aboriginal rights and treaty rights is never a waste of time," he said. "They are constitutionally protected rights."

The company's lawyer, Matt Hayes, declined comment Monday. But on Friday, he said granting an injunction would cause the company to lose about $54,000 for each day crews and trucks are not able to do their work.

The lawyer for the provincial government also declined comment Monday. But Premier David Alward has said his government has had more discussions with First Nations on shale gas development than any past government in the province and will continue to hold those consultations if a shale gas industry develops.

An anti-shale gas protest near Rexton, N.B., turned violent last month when police enforced an injunction to halt the blockade of a compound where SWN had stored equipment. Forty people were arrested and six police vehicles burned.

Last week, one woman was arrested and police say a vehicle and some equipment were vandalized during a protest on Highway 11 near Laketon, N.B.

Judie Acquin-Miksovsky of the St. Mary's First Nation attended Monday's court decision. She said she was worried for the safety of young men from her community who have travelled to Laketon to join the protest.

"We just want to make sure that they stay safe," she said.

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes

    No

  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

LATEST VIDEO

Gary Lawless & Ed Tait try not to bleeping cry over the woesome Jets

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • RUTH BONNEVILLE / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS June 23, 2011 Local - A Monarch butterfly is perched on a flower  in the newly opened Butterfly Garden in Assiniboine Park Thursday morning.
  • A one day old piglet glances up from his morning feeding at Cedar Lane Farm near Altona.    Standup photo Ruth Bonneville Winnipeg Free Press

View More Gallery Photos

Poll

Do you support Pimicikamak First Nation's protest against Manitoba Hydro?

View Results

View Related Story

Ads by Google