Nova Scotia Mi’kmaq chief casts doubt on Ottawa’s bid to quell violence over lobster

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Nova Scotia Mi’kmaq chief casts doubt on Ottawa’s bid to quell violence over lobster

The First Nations chief behind a small but controversial fishing fleet trapping Nova Scotia lobster outside the regulated season is raising concerns about Ottawa’s latest bid to quell violent protests by non-Indigenous agitators.

Chief Mike Sack of the Sipekne’katik First Nation issued a brief statement on Sunday casting doubt on Ottawa’s decision Friday to appoint a “special representative” to mediate talks between Indigenous and non-Indigenous fishers in southwestern Nova Scotia.

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Sack says he and others he’s talked to are worried that Allister Surette, a university president and former politician from the area, lacks experience with Indigenous issues and may not have the capacity to be an neutral, third-party troubleshooter.

The chief says he expressed his concerns to federal Crown-Indigenous Relations Minister Carolyn Bennett on Saturday.

He says Bennett confirmed that the talks led by Surette will have no impact on the nation-to-nation negotiations between the band and the federal government regarding the First Nation’s proposal to continue with a self-regulated lobster enterprise.

Read more:
Ottawa appoints special mediator in N.S. Indigenous lobster fisheries dispute

Most of the Mi’kmaq First Nations in Nova Scotia have argued they have a constitutionally protected right to earn a moderate livelihood from fishing where and when they want because the Supreme Court of Canada affirmed that treaty right in a 1999 ruling that cited peace treaties signed by the Crown in the 1760s.

However, many non-Indigenous people involved in the province’s $1-billion lobster industry have argued the court’s decision also affirmed Ottawa’s right to regulate the industry to ensure conservation of the lobster stocks. And they have raised concerns that a growing “moderate livelihood” fishery could deplete the resource.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 25, 2020

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Click to play video 'Feds send mixed signals in response to N.S. fishing dispute'







Feds send mixed signals in response to N.S. fishing dispute


Feds send mixed signals in response to N.S. fishing dispute




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