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Canada AFN chief calls for resignation of RCMP commissioner as N.S. fishery dispute continues

22:00  23 october  2020
22:00  23 october  2020 Source:   cbc.ca

‘Terrorizing our people’: N.S. Mi’kmaw fishers have property vandalized, lobsters destroyed

  ‘Terrorizing our people’: N.S. Mi’kmaw fishers have property vandalized, lobsters destroyed On Tuesday night a facility was 'swarmed and vandalized' by commercial fishermen, said Chief Michael Sack of the Sipeknet'katik First Nation.The incidents, the latest in continuing tensions between Indigenous and non-Indigenous fishers in Nova Scotia, allegedly occurred at two locations, one in Central West Pubnico, N.S., and the other in New Edinburgh, N.S.

Perry Bellegarde wearing a suit and tie: Assembly of First Nations Chief Perry Bellegarde (left) is calling for the resignation of RCMP Commissioner Brenda Lucki after she defended the RCMP response to an ongoing fishery dispute in Nova Scotia. © Sean Kilpatrick/Adrian Wyld/The Canadian Press Assembly of First Nations Chief Perry Bellegarde (left) is calling for the resignation of RCMP Commissioner Brenda Lucki after she defended the RCMP response to an ongoing fishery dispute in Nova Scotia.

Assembly of First Nations National Chief Perry Bellegarde is calling on RCMP Commissioner Brenda Lucki to resign days after she defended the response of RCMP officers to an ongoing dispute between Mi'kmaw lobster harvesters and non-Indigenous commercial fishers in Nova Scotia.

"Given months of civil unrest and multiple issues relating to the safety of First Nations people across the country, I will be writing to Prime Minister Trudeau to express that we have lost confidence in Royal Canadian Mounted Police Commissioner Brenda Lucki," Bellegarde said in a media statement.

'The world's watching': Mi'kmaw fishers use live broadcasts to combat violence and racism

  'The world's watching': Mi'kmaw fishers use live broadcasts to combat violence and racism The sister of a Mi'kmaw fisherman trapped in a building and attacked by a violent mob on Oct. 14 says social media and live streaming are crucial tools to combat racism and protect supporters of Mi'kmaw fishers and their new rights-based fishery in Nova Scotia. Jolene Marr, a fisher from Sipekne'katik First Nation, had already begun the nearly five-hour trip from her community to a lobster pound in New Edinburgh, N.S., to investigate a growing crowd of opposing, non-Indigenous fishery workers, when her car was redirected by a text from her brother. "It said, 'They have me surrounded,' and I gasped," she said.

"The safety and security of all Canadians, including First Nations people, must be the top priority of the Prime Minister and the federal government."

Lucki is under pressure after pushing back against claims that police have done little to curb the violence directed at Mi'kmaw people.

Bellegarde said he will ask Trudeau to replace Lucki with someone who will focus on public safety and combating racism.


Video: RCMP ‘deeply concerned' by violence against Indigenous lobster fisheries in Nova Scotia (Global News)

His statement comes after weeks of tensions over the launch of a self-regulated lobster fishery by the Sipekne'katik band outside of the federally mandated commercial season.

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The Supreme Court of Canada ruled 21 years ago the Mi'kmaw have a 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.

Several hundred commercial fishermen and their supporters raided two lobster facilities in southwest Nova Scotia on Oct. 14, vandalizing the buildings where Mi'kmaw fishers were storing their catches and removing crates of lobster. One of the facilities, located in Middle West Pubnico, N.S., was destroyed days later in a blaze RCMP have deemed suspicious.

Many commercial lobster fishermen say they view the new Sipekne'katik fishery in St. Mary's Bay as illegal and worry that catching lobster outside the mandated season will have a negative impact on lobster stocks.

This week, the Sipekne'katik band obtained an injunction to protect its fishers and property, and to prevent interference with its business operations in St. Mary's Bay.

Lucki came under fire earlier this year when she told several media outlets that she struggled to define the term "systemic racism" at a time when several Indigenous people had been killed in police shootings in the span of a few months.

Lucki later walked back those comments and said systemic racism exists in every institution, including the RCMP, and that she has a responsibility to ensure the force is "free of racism, discrimination and bias."

For Acadian fisherman, early Mi'kmaq fishery in N.S. bay can 'never' be respected .
METEGHAN, N.S. — As he stands calmly splicing anchor rope, Roger LeBlanc describes the anxiety, anger and suspicion over a Mi'kmaq lobster fishery that is coursing through his small Acadian community. "This stock has been building up for 150 years, and my grandfather and my father and myself, we sat at the table with governments, we made rules to have a livelihood for our kids and grandkids," he said during an interview this week at his workshop in Meteghan, a largely French-speaking town on St. Marys Bay. "In a few more years, what we worked for . . . will be gone.

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This is interesting!