The Green Party of Canada today voiced its support for a groundbreaking new political coalition of First Nations chiefs in the Gulf of St. Lawrence region fighting to defend the area from invasive oil and gas exploration.
At the most recent meeting of the Chiefs Assembly of the First Nations of Quebec and Labrador, chiefs representing the Innu, Maliseet, and Mi’gmaq Nations signed on to an historic Memorandum of Understanding, committing to defend Aboriginal and Treaty Rights and Title throughout the Gulf region with a united voice.
“We must support the efforts of Indigenous Peoples in protecting the environment and respect their role as land stewards” stated Green Party Aboriginal Affairs Critic Lorraine Rekmans, “The legal rights of these peoples to occupy, use and protect their traditional territories are enshrined in Section 35 of the Canadian Constitution.”
Citing the potential for a catastrophic oil spill of the kind that devastated the Gulf of Mexico in 2010, Party Leader Elizabeth May decried the federal and provincial governments’ total lack of preparedness for an offshore drilling accident in the Gulf of St. Lawrence.
“A disaster like Deepwater Horizon would have absolutely catastrophic consequences for this entire region” said the MP for Saanich-Gulf Islands “I applaud the decision of the Innu, Maliseet, and Mi’gmaq Nations to stand united in defending their land and water.”
In an interview yesterday, Troy Jerome, Executive Director of the Mi’gmawei Mawiomi Secretariat stated that there were “significant knowledge gaps” in environmental monitoring in the region, and emphasized the need for a far more comprehensive assessment of the potential risks of oil and gas drilling in the Gulf. “We’re not sitting at the table trying to negotiate this,” said Jerome, “We’re calling for a moratorium.”