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Labrador Land Protectors taking part in Muskrat Falls rallies across country on May 7

An aerial photo of Muskrat Falls taken in January 2018. — Photo courtesy of Nalcor Energy.
An aerial photo of Muskrat Falls taken in January 2018. — Photo courtesy of Nalcor Energy.

Rally on Parliament Hill will be followed by act of civil disobedience

Three Labrador Land Protectors (LLP) will be in Ottawa on May 7 to join a rally on Parliament Hill opposing the Muskrat Falls project and attempt to enter the House of Commons. The rally is in conjunction with rallies in five other communities across the country, including Happy Valley-Goose Bay and St. John’s.

Jim Learning, Marjorie Flowers and Eldred Davis travelled from Happy Valley-Goose Bay to Ottawa to take part in the Ottawa rally organized by the Ontario-Muskrat Solidarity Coalition.

Learning and Davis are leading the rally and, according to a press release from LLP, following the rally will attempt to non-violently enter the House with a group of supporters and place “the pictures and words of those most at risk from the lethal effects of the Muskrat Falls megadam” on the desks of the Members of Parliament. All three served 10 days in jail last summer relating to protests at Muskrat Falls, along with Beatrice Hunter.

They cite ongoing issues such as increased methylmercury levels due to the controversial project, which is way over budget and behind schedule, and safety concerns with the North Spur dam.

"They are destroying ways of life that have existed since time immemorial and putting people's lives at risk with a project that even the Nalcor CEO admits is a boondoggle that should never have been built," Learning said in the release.

"We need to let all people in Canada know that they are on the hook for this project, which is likely to bankrupt Newfoundland and Labrador and poison a population that is 90 per cent Indigenous. Is this what the Trudeau government thinks truth and reconciliation is about? He came to Labrador to apologize for the genocide of residential schools, but he's backstopping a new genocide with over $9 billion."

Over 50 members of the LLP have been charged relating to the fall of 2016 protests at the Muskrat Falls site, 45 km from Happy Valley-Goose Bay, and many are still facing charges before the courts.

Denise Cole, a member of LLP, was one of those charged and said the impacts of the project is about losing a cultural and spiritual connection to the land, water, and food web.

"Nothing can compensate for the loss of what makes us who we are,” she said. “Our identity is being poisoned, and many of our people are experiencing the trauma induced by fear: fear that our way of life will disappear in a generation, and the more immediate fear that keeps people sleeping with life jackets under their bed, which is the risk of a catastrophic dam break and flash flood."

The Ottawa and Happy Valley-Goose Bay rallies will start at 11 a.m. local times and the St. John’s rally is slated for noon. For more details visit here.

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