Health

Additional RCMP officers deployed in N.S.: Blair

Share
Additional RCMP officers deployed in N.S.: Blair

Earlier in the week, two clashes involving hundreds of people took place outside fish plants that store Indigenous-caught lobster.

In Ottawa, Minister of Indigenous Services Marc Miller said he found the images of Tuesday night's violence alarming.

Accusations have been made on both sides against each other and against the police.

Mr. Miller said Monday there has been nothing short of "acts of violence" perpetrated against the Mi'kmaq, adding that every person in Canada, whether Indigenous or non-Indigenous, must be able to feel safe in their home communities and be able to earn a living to support their families.

He said he never thought about who was harvesting the lobster he was serving his clients.

"And it is not the Nova Scotia I know and love", she said. "The police are, in fact, acting", he said.

Tensions between local commercial fishermen and fishermen from the Mi'kmaq First Nation in the Atlantic province of Nova Scotia have been escalating in recent days in a conflict over indigenous fishing rights. And he said an RCMP boat was in the area, along with a vessel from the Canadian Coast Guard.

During a press conference on October 16, the prime minister was asked about the ongoing situation in Nova Scotia where Mi'kmaw fishermen have been targeted and harassed for fishing outside of the lobster season.

Sack said the lobster pound is owned "by a friend and ally", adding that a community member saw his catch destroyed earlier in the week.

Chief Mike Sack of the Sipekne'katik First Nation said he is grateful for the additional policing and law enforcement resources.

Sack could not be reached for comment Monday.

The Mi'kmaw people have a right under Canada's constitution and treaties signed with the British Crown in the 1700s to fish in order to maintain a "moderate livelihood". She also said the violence, fires and destruction of property in the last week is "disgusting". By contrast, the commercial fishery in the bay allows for 90 vessels carrying up 400 traps each.

The non-Indigenous protesters oppose the group's decision to initiate a commercial freshwater fishing company which has operated beyond the regulated freshwater season because mid-September.

Nova Scotia RCMP said it was investigating the fire as "suspicious".

"The message is we would like the moderate livelihood defined", said commercial fisherman Kirk Nickerson. She said a blanket definition was not an option.

"When we say that the issues we're confronting right now are complex, longstanding and deeply personal, it's the truth". "We can not, as a government, tell First Nations what a moderate living is".

Jordan added the government is "listening closely" to concerns commercial fishers have and is keeping conservation top of mind.

On another front, Blair confirmed that the suspect accused of assaulting Chief Sack on October 14 had been released from custody with conditions. "We need the military to come step in to keep the peace".

Nova Scotia identified one new COVID-19 case Friday, bringing the total number of active cases in the province to four.

The Kahnawake Mohawk Peacekeepers provided an escort auto at the front of the convoy and another at the rear, said Constable Kyle Zachary of the Kahnawake police force.

- With files from Michael MacDonald in Halifax.

Share