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Canada 'Do your job': Sipekne'katik chief calls on PM to protect Mi'kmaq fishermen

00:41  16 october  2020
00:41  16 october  2020 Source:   cbc.ca

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Sipekne ’ katik Chief Mike Sack talks to CBC Information Morning host Portia Clark about the ongoing tension over Nova Scotia’s lobster fisheries. Sipekne ' katik First Nation Chief Michael Sack, right, says his band will regulate their own fishery. (Paul Withers/CBC).

Sipekne ' katik Chief Mike Sack told CBC's Information Morning in Nova Scotia that their licence Sack said the Mi ' kmaq of Sipekne ' katik are concerned about conservation themselves and take less than Fishers with the Sipekne ' katik First Nation allege the non-Indigenous fishermen vandalized their

a man that is standing in the grass: Chief Mike Sack is calling for better protection for Mi'kmaq fishermen after two lobster pounds were attacked Tuesday night. © CBC Chief Mike Sack is calling for better protection for Mi'kmaq fishermen after two lobster pounds were attacked Tuesday night.

The chief of the Sipekne'katik First Nation is calling for better protection after a mob of hundreds of commercial fishermen and their supporters raided and vandalized two facilities in southwest Nova Scotia where Mi'kmaq fishermen were storing their catches.

Speaking with reporters Thursday afternoon, Chief Mike Sack said he sent a letter to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau asking him to make sure those involved in the violence are prosecuted.

'Do your job': Sipekne'katik chief calls on PM to protect Mi'kmaq fishermen

  'Do your job': Sipekne'katik chief calls on PM to protect Mi'kmaq fishermen Prime Minister Justin Trudeau claims provinces aren't taking advantage of federal government aid aimed at bolstering contact tracing efforts. Mike Le Couteur looks at who's not asking for help, and the barriers facing contact tracers.

Chief Michael Sack of Sipekne ' katik First Nation says he had a positive conversation with the fisheries minister on Saturday. (Jeorge Sadi/CBC). The Coalition of the Atlantic and Québec Fishing Organizations joined the Maritime Fishermen 's Union in calling on DFO to publicly retrieve the

Sipekne ' katik fisheries director Brandon Maloney (right), said the band's new fishery regulations are Sipekne ' katik 's director of fisheries said he believes illegally modified traps in photos, like the ones Rights ' protected in perpetuity'. According to Maloney, the seven Mi 'kmaw harvesters who received

"Our last resort is to reach out to Trudeau, hoping that he can assist us and to ensure the safety of our members," he said.

On Wednesday, Trudeau tweeted that the acts of violence committed Tuesday night were "unacceptable," and said "we must work together to advance reconciliation and implement First Nation treaty rights."

However, Sack said the prime minister's response rang hollow.

"Actions speak louder than words," he said. "Do your job…. Come here, protect us, and don't just tweet about it."

The two raids in New Edinburgh and Middle West Pubnico came after weeks of simmering tensions in the province's southwest, sparked by the launch of a moderate livelihood lobster fishery by the Sipekne'katik band outside the federally mandated commercial season.

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Sipekne ' katik First Nation has so far issued licenses and lobster trap tags to seven Mi ’kmaw harvesters under the new Mi 'kmaw-regulated fishery. (Nic Meloney/CBC). A university professor who studies fisheries management says the Mi 'kmaw fishery in southwest Nova Scotia won't harm lobster stocks

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The night of unrest saw lobster destroyed, a lobster pound damaged, a van set on fire and another vehicle vandalized.

Sack said he has hired lawyers and will be pursuing legal action against any individuals or groups "that are interfering with our right to fish" — including a man that grabbed and shoved him during an altercation Wednesday at the lobster pound in New Edinburgh.

He said the RCMP response was inadequate. Sack said the police presence wasn't enough to protect Mi'kmaq fishermen. So far, no arrests have been made.

"This truly is systemic racism. If it was 300 of our people and 40 of theirs, the place will be full of cops," he said.

"Does Trudeau care about our people? Does he care about reconciliation? They talk about it, but I don't see any actions towards it."

Sack suggested Sipekne'katik may call on help from other First Nations in this dispute to "protect each other when the levels of government that are supposed to do not."

Fire destroys lobster facility in southwest Nova Scotia amid escalating fishery tensions

  Fire destroys lobster facility in southwest Nova Scotia amid escalating fishery tensions A fire that police are calling suspicious destroyed a lobster pound in Middle West Pubnico, N.S., early Saturday. The blaze broke out at one of two facilities raided and vandalized by commercial fishermen in southwest Nova Scotia earlier this week protesting the "moderate livelihood" fishery launched by Sipekne'katik First Nation last month. Mi'kmaw fishers were storing their catches at the facilities. In a news release Saturday morning, the RCMP said they responded to the blaze at about midnight Saturday. Police say the fire is suspicious, and a man is in hospital with life-threatening injuries believed to be related to the fire.

Sipekne ' katik Chief Michael Sack addresses Mi 'kmaw fishermen and their supporters Thursday during the launch of an Indigenous lobster fishery that local commercial fishermen say is illegal. (Steve Lawrence/CBC). About 200 people gathered on a wharf in Saulnierville, N.S

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"Every day I'm getting messages: 'Should we come?' ... I'm holding them off to keep everything peaceful. But if there's no protection for us, we're going to have to go with the forces we need to."

CBC has reached out to the Prime Minister's Office for comment.

In an email, Nova Scotia RCMP spokesperson Sgt. Andrew Joyce said the RCMP has increased their police presence in the area each day since the raids.

"We have remained on scene during and since this incident. We have also assembled investigative teams actively gathering evidence to support criminal charges," he wrote.

"I cannot stress enough the RCMP take criminal behaviour seriously and will seek evidence to support it in court."

Joyce would not say how many officers are in the area.

Nova Scotia Justice Minister Mark Furey told reporters Thursday that the RCMP responded "with the resources they had available to them" and he was satisfied with their response.

"It's very difficult when they're faced with the circumstances they are — I believe in one case, 200 commercial fishers and six uniformed police officers," he said.

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Sipekne ' katik First Nation launched their moderate livelihood fishery on Thursday. (Paul Legere/CBC). Some media coverage of tension between Mi'kmaw Chief Terry Paul also said that they have been waiting for essentially 21 years for DFO and for some sort of governance. The Mi ' kmaq are doing that

SAULNIERVILLE, N.S. — Fishermen from Nova Scotia's Sipekne ' katik First Nation prepared to Senators Dan Christmas from Nova Scotia and Brian Francis from P.E.I. called on the federal "As Canada’s Mi’kmaw senators, we stand in solidarity with the Mi’kmaw chiefs and the Mi ’ kmaq

"They have a responsibility for public safety and that includes their own safety."

a pile of hay: The inside of the van that was torched Tuesday night. © Robert Short/CBC The inside of the van that was torched Tuesday night.

Furey said the RCMP are using video and photographs to advance their investigation, and they can call in resources from other provinces if they see fit.

Sipekne'katik First Nation launched what the band calls a self-regulated lobster fishery at a wharf in Saulnierville, N.S., on Sept. 17 — 21 years after the Supreme Court ruling in the case of Donald Marshall Jr.

The landmark decision affirmed the Mi'kmaw right to earn a "moderate livelihood" from fishing. The court later said the federal government could regulate the Mi'kmaw fishery, but must justify any restrictions it placed on it.

Sipekne'katik officials have said the fishery was launched after the band was unable to find common ground with the Department of Fisheries and Oceans on the definition of moderate livelihood.

a parking meter sitting on the side of the street: A view of the lobster pound in New Edinburgh on Thursday. © Robert Short/CBC A view of the lobster pound in New Edinburgh on Thursday.

Sack said DFO must be held accountable.

"We're here fighting for something that's already ours. It's very unfortunate," he said.

Sack also said Sipekne'katik is looking to buy the lobster facility in New Edinburgh, but he said they're still working out the costs.

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He said they're concerned about the amount of damage that was done to it by the commercial fishermen.

Attack described as 'racist vigilantism'

Nova Scotia Premier Stephen McNeil has repeatedly said it's up to Ottawa and DFO to settle the lobster fishing dispute, and he did so again Wednesday when answering questions from reporters after a COVID-19 briefing.

On Thursday, Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller also said the dispute was within the purview of DFO and Fisheries Minister Bernadette Jordan, and condemned the violence that took place.

"These unacceptable acts of violence, including the assault on [Sipekne'katik Chief Mike] Sack with threats and intimidation, some racist in nature, cannot and will not fetter the right of the people to pursue a moderate livelihood," he said.

Nova Scotia NDP leader Gary Burrill has used the strongest language yet of any political leader in Nova Scotia to denounce the violence.

Burrill told reporters Thursday that it is a "repugnant thing that citizens of our province should have to endure racist vigilantism in the exercise of a right which has been established incontrovertibly by the highest court in our country."

He, too, said DFO was to blame for not defining a "moderate livelihood" sooner.

In a statement Wednesday, Jordan said she was "appalled by the reported events" and that she condemned the destruction of property, violence and threats.

"There is no place for this kind of violence or intimidation," Jordan said.

She said DFO "will continue to work with both First Nations and industry leadership to find a path forward" but said "progress cannot be made if individuals resort to violence."

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Five things to know about the dispute over Nova Scotia's Indigenous lobster fishery .
HALIFAX — Tensions remain high in the dispute over the Indigenous lobster fishery in Nova Scotia. Here are five things to know about the situation. 1. The dispute has a long history. In September 1999, the Supreme Court of Canada affirmed the treaty rights of the Mi'kmaq, Maliseet and Passamaquoddy bands in Eastern Canada to hunt, fish and gather to earn a "moderate livelihood." The court decided that a Mi'kmaq fisherman from Cape Breton, Donald Marshall Jr., had the right to fish for eels and sell them when and where he wanted — without a licence.

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