Willi Nolan Statement re SWN Injunction 18 Oct 2013
STATEMENT OF WILHELMINA(WILLI) NOLAN
Respectfully Submitted on my own behalf on October 18, 2013
With reference to Court File No. MC 663-13, Court of Queen's Bench of New Brunswick,
Civil Court, Trial Division, Judicial District of Moncton
Between SWN RESOURCES CANADA INC., Plaintiff/Applicant
- and -
LORAINE CLAIR, JIM PICTOU, SEVEN BERNARD, JASON OKAY, GREG COOK, WILHELMINA (WILLI)NOLAN, MELANIE EDWARD, ANN POHL, RACHEL DAIGLE, SUZANNA PATLES, JOHN DOE AND JANE DOE, Defendants/Respondents
as one of the Named Respondents
To: The Honourable Justice George Rideout
I have not done anything wrong, and yet I am named as a respondent in this injunction launched by Southwestern Energy (SWN) with regard to shale gas exploration in New Brunswick.
I am a concerned person of Wabanaki territory, a New Brunswicker, a mother and grandmother who walks a faith path that is of the Original people of Turtle Island and a professional human rights activist. As such, I have solicited professional opinion, written reports and taken many other actions under my responsibilities to uphold the names of my mentors and teachers and to share the good teachings that I have received from them. I intend to continue to stand up for my rights, human rights,the rights of Original people and the protection of Mother Earth.That I have not been served with this injunction or the related documents and the matter of costs are, among other matters, at issue here.
Police Involvement in Anti-Shale Gas Protests
In a public meeting held on Monday,October 14, 2013, in Kent County, RCMP officers informed those present that:
a) In their opinion, the protest at Hwy134, Rexton, was unlawful because it prevented “certain people” from doing their job. The officers stated that it is not the RCMP's job to know the legalities on all sides, that RCMP don't make the laws, they enforce them, and that they are neutral. The officers stated that if SWN is found to be unlawful, they would enforce the law, but that it is not the RCMP's job to determine if the injunction is illegal or not.
The officers stated that the injunction was properly served by a notice of it having been placed in the newspapers which included an enforcement order by the police. The RCMP further stated that this is a civil injunction - that there had been no decision yet when it would be enforced.
b) RCMP said that they were not there to enforce environmental laws, that they do not enforce the Clean Water Act or Clean Air Act, that other departments enforce those Acts. The RCMP denied any authority or discretion to enforce the Acts and stated that they did not know policing regulations in this regard.
c) The officers stated that if there has been a violation they can act, but that neither of the officers was present at a court hearing on the injunction on October 7, 2013, where it was reported that there was some doubt as to which side was actually involved in unlawful acts.RCMP stated that they were not aware of discussions about police enforcement that took place in front of the judge.
d) Regarding RCMP obligations to respect the laws and authority of the people of Signigtog, Native Spirituality and rights and responsibilities to protect the lands and waters, they stated that they don't deal with that kind of thing, that it is not their job, and that their mandate is only offences under criminal code.
e) RCMP stated that their oath is not to uphold the honour of the British Crown or to protect the best interests and well being of either residents or the Original people from harm. They stated that their oath is to enforce the criminal code, as they were hired to do by the province. They stated that New Brunswick RCMP were hired by the province only to enforce certain of the Acts, which did not include environmental protection.
f) RCMP responded to to a relevant question from a woman of the Original peoples of Signigtog:
“What gives the province the right to issue a permit to SWN”?
The officers' responded to the question with, “We don't know.”
g) The officers were asked about the rights of people who are engaged, not in protest, but in preventing crimes intended to be committed and in protecting the lands and waters because for many, it is their responsibility to do so according to traditional culture, values and law. RCMP were also asked if going to sacred ceremonies at the site could be considered illegal.
The officers stated that they could not comment on these matters.
h) I explained to the meeting that some of us are acting to uphold the law of the Original people and asked the following questions:
i) Are the RCMP aware that the Signigtog Grand Council issued an eviction notice to SWN?
ii) Are the RCMP aware that a Directive to SWN was issued under collective right of the people of Signigtog that directed SWN to stop their operations,repair the damage and leave?
iii) Are the RCMP aware that the Elsipogtog Band Council, together with the Grand Council, reclaimed stewardship of all the unoccupied native lands recently in a Band Council Resolution (BCR)?
The officers stated that they were aware of the BCR, but not the Directive or Eviction Notice, and that the RCMP have no interest in the upholding of the laws of the Original people.
i) The RCMP were asked at the meeting, “What is the meaning of the words “shall be in the cause” in the injunction?” and responded that they did not know, that the RCMP mandate is only regarding the criminal code.
j) RCMP stated that they report to J Division Commander and are working under the“Criminal Enforcement” department on the “Shale Gas file.”They informed us that J Division reports to the RCMP Commissioner in Ottawa, currently Bob Paulsen, who reports to the Minister. The officers stated that they did not know which minister, but thought it was the Public Safety minister or some other federal government ministry.
[WN: NOTE - Under the RCMP Act, it is the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness.]
k) The officers stated that the police will be told who to arrest and not arrest.
l) The RCMP officers were asked to inform of the people of the laws regarding “Nuisance”. The RCMP read that section of the criminal code; it referred to violations involving protecting property, lives,safety and health of the public, causing physical injury and endangering people and property.
Local residents repeatedly commented from the floor: “That sounds like what SWN is doing!”
It is my contention that, under the definition under the Criminal Code violations given to me this week by an RCMP officer at a public meeting, that both the provincial government and SWN are creating a public nuisance and a nuisance to opponents of shale gas exploration in New Brunswick.
Both the provincial government and SWN are complicit in the unlawful use of property, have caused inconvenience and damage to myself, the public and Original people who have all been longtime allied and have been resorting to all manner of lawful protest of these bothersome, wrongfully sanctioned activities which are unauthorized by the Original people Signigtog territory. It appears that the unauthorized collections of seismic data, release of noxious and toxic chemicals, smells, noise, burning,exploding and alteration of watercourses in the forests and near homes fall clearly into the realm of illegal activities.
SWN Granted Injunction for“Irreparable” or “Grievous” Harm
SWN requested an ex parte interim injunction, is claiming “irreparable harm” and has attached a dollar value to the alleged “harm.” I understand “irreparable harm” as harm to which no monetary compensation can cure or put conditions back the way they were, harms that are impossible to repair, rectify or amend. A simple example from a Law Dictionary is“the oil spill did irreparable harm to the Bay.”
The harms being perpetrated and contemplated by Southwestern Energy (SWN) and sanctioned by the province are irreparable. The seismic testing program has already caused watercourses to be altered, lethal toxins to be injected into the earth, endangered not only animal habitats, burial, hunting and gathering grounds, but has displaced ecosystems that human and animal populations are relying on for clean air and drinking water.
The water and land protection movement in New Brunswick, and I, as a party named in the court's injunction,are seeking to prevent SWN from causing irreparable harm. However,these hearings appear to uphold SWN's questionable claim of grievous harm while ignoring the harm that SWN is doing and intends to extend. For my part, the honour and integrity of a lifetime of service to communities concerned about their environmental health has been maligned and is placing populations that I serve at greater risk because of SWN's attempting to smear my name, reputation and life's work.
Criminal and Civil Wrongdoings
With regard to civil wrongdoings, SWN and the New Brunswick government have clearly been involved in a host of bothersome activities, including releasing fraudulent reports on human and ecosystem health impacts from shale gas development. Residents here were forced to seek credible scientific reporting and opinion and have been gathering more than compelling evidence that there has already been and there will be even more harm done if shale gas developments enter our ecosystems.
I understand that the court does not require an outside appeal to place persons or corporations or governments under court order for review. The court can act on any information brought before it and can order it to be placed under judicial review. The court can order any person or entity plausibly suspected to be causing harm and/or being a nuisance to stop activities that are known to cause harm.
The NB Chief Medical Officer of Health has spoken against proceeding with shale gas developments without further study to protect public health because the available evidence of risk to public health is too great to ignore. Doctors have yet to be provided information on “proprietary” chemical compounds used in fracking operations. The New Brunswick Ombudsman is currently investigating shortfalls of the government regarding processes involved in public consultations on shale gas development in the province that a significant number of residents see as invalid and yet, are being denied even dialogue about their concerns.
A great number of knowledgeable,peaceable, law abiding citizens have been distressed because of being placed under threat of criminal records and loss of their properties because of the ex parte, interlocutory injunction sought by SWN and agreed upon by the courts. The injunction's breadth and preemptive restraint of a “Jane Doe” attack on public rights appear equally outrageous to the vague exclusion zone. I was one of many people who became distressed yesterday to learn that Original people and their allies were subject to unprovoked attack in the early morning hours.
I ask the court to honour its responsibility to all concerned, all the named and all the Jane and John Does of New Brunswick and arrest the harm that is being perpetrated and place this matter under review by the court itself.
Authority of Original People ofSignigtog
These hearings have, to date, ignored the authority, laws and dictums not only of the Original peoples of this land, but also the rights of homeowners whose lives, whose survival are under threat from provincially-sanctioned SWN operations. These hearings are still ignoring the obligations of Crown authorities to protect the interest of the Original peoples of this land and to obtain their free, prior and informed consent to developments on native lands.
These hearings ignore the demonstrated adherence to traditional authority by countless New Brunswick residents through their support of the rights, title and authority of its Original peoples to reclaim stewardship of the lands, repair the damage that has been done and to prevent the ruin of waters and lands needed for our survival.
I understand that demonstrated intent to cause harm is against the law and is reflected in laws against nuisance and threats. Yesterday's actions reflect a dangerous and destructive pattern of Crown conduct. Further, the order takes no regard of the province's lack of claim to native lands of Signigtog. Moreover, the actions appear to be calculated to destroy the rights of Wabanaki peoples and to cause bodily and mental harm to people who are fighting for their survival.
For all of these reasons, I respectfully request that the court, in good faith, place this matter under review.