Fundy Borehole Test Drills — a Violation of Peace & Friendship Treaties

August 31, 2015
respond to:

TransCanada is set to begin borehole drill testing in the world-renowned, fragile Bay of Fundy ecosystem, off-shore at Red Head NB. No approvals have been granted for this work, which is related to the proposed Energy East Pipeline, for which no project plan has even been finalized. This is a violation of Peace & Friendship Treaty obligations.

Statement to:
  • Prime Minister Stephen Harper, Government of Canada;
  • Premier Brian Gallant, Government of New Brunswick;
  • Bernard Valcourt, Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development, Government of Canada;
  • Ed Doherty, Minister responsible for Aboriginal Affairs, Government of New Brunswick;
  • Leona Aglukkaq, Environment Canada, also Minister responsible for Species at Risk Act (SARA), North American Waterfowl Management Plan, and Migratory Birds Convention Act;
  • Gail Shea, Minister of Fisheries and Oceans, Government of Canada;
  • Denis Landry, Minister of Natural Resources, Government of New Brunswick, also Minister responsible for Species at Risk Act (SARA);
  • Rick Doucet, Minister of Agriculture, Aquaculture and Fisheries, Government of New Brunswick;
  • Russ Girling, CEO, TransCanada Corporation;
  • Peter Watson, Chair and CEO, National Energy Board; c/o

We, the undersigned New Brunswick provincial chapters of the Council of Canadians, are aware of the imminent intention of TransCanada to undertake borehole testing in the Bay of Fundy, near Red Head. As loyal citizen groups committed to human rights and democracy, we are placing on record our united opposition to this plan. There are many reasons a person might oppose TransCanada’s development plans, but here we wish to deal with a matter we think takes precedence over all others, in relation to the laws of this land.

In regards to the proposed borehole drilling, based on the Peace & Friendship Treaties, indigenous law precedents, Section 35 of the Canadian Constitution, and the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (to which Canada is signatory), as well as other legal precepts, the governments of Canada and New Brunswick have neglected to “uphold the honour of the Crown” and also neglected to carry out their fiduciary duties to the Indigenous Peoples of this region.

No valid consultation has taken place regarding this planned incursion into the shared territory of the Wabanaki Peoples, in specific the three original indigenous cultures of what is now known as the Province of New Brunswick, to wit: the Mi’kmaq, the Wolastoqiyik, and the Passamaquoddy Peoples. A valid consultation involves:

  • notice to the Wabanaki Peoples and other Indigeneous intervenors and interested parties about what is proposed in their region, before any related work commences;
  • provision of full information about exactly what is planned including all relevant documents;
  • reasonable time to deal with concerns and matters before any such work is considered for approval;
  • indigenous access to adequate resources to engage in a valid process;
  • full respect for traditional indigenous knowledge and knowledge holders;
  • the opportunity to be listened to, not just heard.

As non-Indigenous people, it is our view that the treaties, which were signed in our name and for our benefit, must be honoured and upheld for all time and in all ways. When all our ancestors entering into these sacred agreements, an enduring mutual structure and responsibility was established that was intended to govern how we all relate to one another, for all time, on this land. This protocol clearly has not been respected in regards to this initiative, which could have devastating outcomes.

The ink is barely dry on the Final Report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. Already we can see that Canada and New Brunswick are still operating with the old colonial mindset, which says that it is fine for Canadian and international corporations to do as they wish within the unceded territory of the Wabanaki Peoples.

We are all Treaty People. We call on the governments of Canada and New Brunswick to put a stop to the planned bore head drilling. Sit down and speak in a constructive manner with the Indigenous peoples of this region, with the goal of meeting Canada’s fiduciary and human rights obligations in a direct and sincere manner.

Respectfully yours,

Ann Pohl,
Chairperson, Kent County Chapter, Council of Canadians

Jean Louis Deveau,
Chairperson, Fredericton Chapter, Council of Canadians

Leticia Adair,
Chairperson, Saint John Chapter, Council of Canadians

membership image
Copied to:
  • Hugh Akagi, Chief of the Passamaquoddy at Oonaskamkuk
  • Kenneth Francis, Speaker, IMW/Kopit Lodge at Elsipogtog First Nation
  • Ron Tremblay, Speaker, Wolastoq Grand Council, also Spokesperson for the Peace & Friendship Alliance
  • Alex Neve, General Secretary, Amnesty International Canadian Section
  • Angela Giles, Atlantic Organizer, Council of Canadians
  • Benjamin Craig, Campaigner for the Human Rights of Indigenous Peoples, Amnesty International, Canada Section
  • Brent Patterson; Political Director, Council of Canadians
  • Charles Murray, Ombudsman for New Brunswick
  • Ed Bianchi, Program Manager, KAIROS
  • Rev. David Hewitt, United Church of Canada Maritime Conference
  • The Right Rev. Jordan Cantwell, Moderator, United Church of Canada
  • Nora Sanders, General Secretary, United Church of Canada

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