Mi’kmaq water protectors are winning some battles

For close to a year and a half, Mi’kmaq water protectors have had an encampment, Truckhouse #2, alongside the Windsor Causeway of Highway 101 in Nova Scotia to monitor government compliance with tidal water flows vital to fish habitat in the macro tidal estuary of the Avon River. Through their resistance and organizing work they are winning some battles.

Most recently the federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans has issued an order that the Nova Scotia Department of Agriculture and the person or persons in charge of the Windsor Causeway gate system on the Avon River must “fully open both gates throughout each of the outgoing tides and fully open the gates through each incoming tide for a minimum of 10 minutes of salt water entry upstream of the gates.” This is one of the demands of the Mi’kmaq water protectors.

Zacc Paul, an activist who has been at the encampment for 15 months, told Renewal Update that the tidal estuaries of the rivers in the Minas Basin are a rare and unique ecological resource. When Highway 101 was constructed in the 1970s, the Windsor Causeway essentially choked off the river and changed the entire ecosystem.

The provincial government is currently twinning Highway 101, which the Mi’kmaq support, for the safety of highway travellers. The issue however is to ensure that the structures that span the Avon River will not impede tidal flow. The structures planned thus far for the twinning project are not designed to withstand tidal flow. The Truckhouse #2 encampment was set up both to monitor tidal flow with the existing structure and to hold the government to account for its environmental responsibility with the new structures being erected.

The Truckhouse concept dates back to the 1762 treaty between the Mi’kmaq and the Crown which recognizes the right of the Mi’kmaq to erect such structures on any river in order to conduct their affairs. In this instance it is conservation of the fish habitat and advocating for highway infrastructure that does not impede habitat vital to fish reproduction.

Zacc Paul said that is a big part of the work they are doing at the Truckhouse #2 encampment: outreach, teaching and learning. More than 81 per cent of local residents responding to the Windsor Causeway survey supported the position of the water protectors that the new structures must not impede tidal flow and fish habitat. The Maritime Fishermen’s Union for example, with their extensive understanding of the issue at the Avon River Causeway, have given their support, as has the Avon River Heritage Society.

Anyone interested in getting involved in helping the Avon water protectors can email 1752treatytruckhouse2@gmail.com or visit the Treaty Truckhouse #2 Society Facebook page

Renewal Update, No. 37, October, 2021

Renewal Update is the election bulletin of the Marxist-Leninist Party of Canada, the electoral name registered by Elections Canada of the Communist Party of Canada (Marxist-Leninist) or CPC(M-L).
National Office: 404-1066 Somerset St. W., Ottawa, ON K1Y 4T3
E-mail: info@cpcml.ca.

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Filed under Canada, Indigenous Peoples, Nova Scotia Government

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