Solidarity Halifax extends full support to the Mi’kmaq of Pictou Landing who have blockaded access to a spill at Northern Pulp mill and are demanding to be consulted in clean up efforts following a chemical leak near their ancestral burial ground. This current disaster is just the latest chapter in a nearly 50 years saga of untreated toxic waste being dumped into Boat Harbour, severely impacting the surrounding communities. Despite years of attempts to negotiate land rights, the abuse of aboriginal land by corporations and the government continues to go unchecked.
Northern Pulp’s toxic legacy is a clear case of environmental racism. While the pulp and paper mill has received over a hundred million dollars in tax payer bailouts over the years, Pictou Landing First Nation has been forced into legal battles to gain any compensation whatsoever. This injustice is made even more stark as the provincial government is now being forced to pay for the clean-up of Boat Harbour rather than it being the responsibility of Northern Pulp, the corporation that owns the facility. Capitalism reinforces colonial behaviour, and once again we have a private company denying their role in destroying the environment of an Indigenous community and refusing to clean up after themselves. This is an issue of profit trumping people and environmental degradation being forced on the most marginalized and vulnerable communities while benefiting only the few. This struggle once again places First Nation peoples on the front lines in opposition to the expansion of profit over the environment and our communities.