Mar 202016

Solidarity Halifax opposes the project by Alton Natural Gas Storage to store natural gas in three underground salt caverns near Stewiacke, N.S. We stand with our allies, other activists and community members against politics that prioritize forms of development and resource extraction that negatively impact our lives, our shared natural environment and our relationships with one another. We have a collective responsibility to protect our environment. A healthy environment is something we all need regardless of our similarities or differences. We oppose this project for the following reasons.

  1. Environmental impact from the release of brine into the river systems could affect the livelihood and quality of life of the local communities who use the river. Local First Nations communities will experience the worst of these impacts.
  1. The Alton Gas project adds to the experience of environmental racism faced by First Nations communities. The Nova Scotia Legislature is currently in the second reading of Bill 111, an act to address environmental racism in Nova Scotia.1
  1. The Mi’kmaq communities of Sipekne’katik and Millbrook First Nation state the Province of Nova Scotia and Alton Gas did not adequately consult them.
  1. First Nations people are too often over-burdened with the responsibility to protect our shared natural environment. The environment is shared by all of us and so it is our shared responsibility to protect it. This is not just an indigenous issue.
  1. Because of the connection between environmental destruction and the economy, particularly in resource extraction and fossil fuels, First Nations are often portrayed as a burden to the economy when they oppose projects such as Alton Gas. It is the responsibility of non-indigenous people to counter this depiction and stand in solidarity with indigenous peoples against corporations that threaten our natural environment.
  1. The Province of N.S. is choosing to prioritize economic gain and private profit over its treaty responsibilities. The recently elected federal Liberal government has mandated repairing and reconciling relationships between First Nations and the Canadian state. This province must do its part in that process.
  1. Proceeding with the Alton Gas project would signal an investment in the fossil fuel industry. The extraction of fossil fuel is one of the main contributors to climate change. It contributes to the on-going destruction of our planet through the pollution of our air, water, soil and oceans.
  1. The federal government has made commitments to reduce climate emissions to a minimum of 30% below 2005 levels by 2030. Investing in the Alton Gas project is an investment in an industry and infrastructure that will quickly become redundant as we transition from fossil fuels to renewable energies. This transition must be First Nations and community-led.
Mar 142016

To our friends, comrades, and allies,

For over a year Solidarity Halifax prepared for a campaign in the upcoming municipal election.

We developed a platform based on a vision for a just city. We want a city that addresses climate change, builds a sustainable economy, provides access to affordable childcare and transit, challenges racism and sexism, and ensures safe affordable housing for everyone.

We elected Solidarity Halifax member Evan Coole, an anti-poverty activist and community organizer, as our candidate to run for Halifax city council’s seat for District 8.

Solidarity Halifax then learned of Lindell Smith’s candidacy for District 8 just before our campaign launch in early December. Smith is a progressive emerging leader in the African Nova Scotian community.

Nova Scotia is often called the “Mississippi of the North.” African Nova Scotian history is replete with both brutal oppression and brilliant resistance. Ongoing racism and unofficial segregation manifests itself in many ways, including an absence of any representation on Halifax city council.

Solidarity Halifax recognized the historic significance of Lindell Smith’s candidacy, and the potential for his campaign to highlight issues important to African Nova Scotians in the North End.

We carefully deliberated whether to continue our candidacy. We had many conversations on the issue, both internally and with our allies in the African Nova Scotian community.

Ultimately, Solidarity Halifax made the decision to withdraw our candidate from District 8. We are proud of the program we developed and are grateful to have recruited an excellent candidate in Evan Coole. However, we could not reconcile our campaign’s continuation with our anti-racist organizing principles.

As part of our political process in preparing for municipal intervention, we made a decision not to endorse any candidates not running for Solidarity Halifax.  As such, our withdrawal is not an endorsement of Lindell Smith’s candidacy. However, we do wish him good luck in the election.

We want to sincerely thank all of our friends and allies for their enthusiastic and generous support of our campaign. In coming months, we will announce new plans to build the just city we know is possible.

Our decision to not make endorsements in the 2016 municipal election was made before any candidates were announced and follows our past practice. If anyone would like to have a conversation about any municipal endorsements or Solidarity Halifax in general, someone from the group would be happy to meet up and chat.