An Indigenous leader calls on the federal government to deploy the military to southwestern Nova Scotia after a suspicious fire broke out overnight Friday through Saturday, amid mounting tensions among fishermen.
The Royal Canadian Mounted Police detachment in Yarmouth and the West Pubnico Fire Department were dispatched around midnight to a lobster fishing facility that caught fire in West Pubnico.
A man is now fighting for his life after suffering injuries apparently related to the blaze.
Federal Police Sergeant Andrew Joyce reports that the building was unoccupied when it caught fire, but the man’s hospitalization in Halifax appears to be related to the blaze.
He is a person of interest in the investigation of this suspected fire.
This disaster comes against the backdrop of growing tensions surrounding a “self-regulated” Aboriginal fishery in the province.
Chief Mike Sack of the Sipekne’katik First Nation believes commercial fishermen are trying to take justice into their own hands.
“They do whatever they want and they get away with it without consequences,” he decried in an interview. The army must intervene to keep the peace. “
The burnt down facilities belong to “a friend and ally,” he said, recalling that a member of the Mi’kmaq community saw his catch destroyed in the same place last week.
The RCMP on site
The federal Minister of Public Security announced on Saturday that he had authorized a strengthening of “the presence of RCMP personnel under contract, as needed, in this jurisdiction” at the request of the provincial attorney general.
“I want to be clear: the current tensions cannot continue. The conflict must be appeased now, ”he said in a statement.
He expressed confidence that the recent acts of violence and other damage will be thoroughly investigated and that the authorities will hold those responsible to account.
“The threats, violence and intimidation must stop. We must all recognize that a lasting outcome to this conflict can only be achieved if it is grounded in recognition of the legitimate treaty rights of the Mi’kmaq. “
His counterpart at the Federal Fisheries Department, Bernadette Jordan, echoed the same sentiment after speaking with Chief Sack earlier today.
“He is angry and concerned for his people, and with good reason. As I told the chief, these people must be held accountable, ”she said.
Eel Brook District Fire Department Chief Jonathan LeBlanc says the building is now “a lost cause.”
Firefighters managed to protect adjacent buildings, he reports, even though power lines made their job difficult.
When they arrived, the structure was already devoured by flames, fed by the wind.
He said it is too early to determine the cause, but the Office of the Fire Marshal is investigating.
The incident follows recent violent clashes and damage to other lobster fishing facilities in a long-standing litigation.
Non-Indigenous protesters this time oppose the Mi’kmaq’s decision to launch a “self-regulated” commercial lobster fishery last September – ahead of the federally regulated season, in late November.
They maintain, however, that the Indigenous peoples of Atlantic Canada and Quebec have the right to fish where and when they wish, in accordance with a 1999 Supreme Court of Canada decision, which is based on treaties signed by the Crown in Canada. 18th century.
But many non-Indigenous critics cite a clarification released four months after the 1999 ruling that treaty rights are still subject to federal rules to ensure conservation of the resource, in consultation with Indigenous people. .