(Ottawa, ON): Assembly of First Nations (AFN) National Chief Perry Bellegarde expressed concern and support for the Pictou Landing First Nation and other First Nations who are apprehensive of a plan to dump millions of liters of pulp mill effluent into the Northumberland Strait.
“It is up to Ottawa to ensure any plan to deal with the mill waste will not impact the First Nations that use the Northumberland Strait for food gathering, water, tourism opportunities, and recreation and swimming,” said National Chief Perry Bellegarde. “The population surrounding the Northern Pulp mill should not have to bear the burden of this company’s waste. It is crucial that the impact be studied before any dumping occurs and that First Nations in the region be fully informed and give their approval to any proposal.”
AFN Nova Scotia-Newfoundland Regional Chief Morley Googoo is also concerned about the environmental impact of the effluent dump: “Environmental stewardship is an ancestral legacy of the Mi’kmaw people. I fully support Chief Andrea Paul and the community of Pictou Landing in their efforts to cease the dumping of Northern Pulp’s effluent into the Northumberland Strait and their commitment to mandate a federal environmental assessment.”
AFN New Brunswick/Prince Edward Island Regional Chief Roger Augustine expressed serious concern that First Nations in Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and PEI have not heard of Northern Pulp Mill’s plans to discharge effluent into the Northumberland Strait: “The Departments of Environment and the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, let alone the Prime Minister’s office, is well aware of the drastic effects such a move could have. So much work is being done with the National Fisheries program, and to see something like this even being considered without taking into consideration our Indigenous Knowledge is an insult.”
The AFN office of New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island will work closely with the AFN office of Nova Scotia and Newfoundland to ensure this plan does not move forward. The AFN Regional Chiefs believe dumping polluting effluent into the Strait will impact their peoples’ inherent rights.
The AFN is the national organization representing First Nations citizens in Canada. Follow AFN on Twitter @AFN_Updates.
For media requests or more information, please contact:
Bilingual Communications Officer
Assembly of First Nations
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Jenna Young Castro
AFN Senior Communications Advisor
613-241-6789 ext. 201