Sunday, July 28, 2019

Muskrat Falls Emergency Solidarity Chain Fast, August 7 to October 21, 2019

Stop the Poisoning and Drowning of Labrador’s Indigenous and non-Indigenous People at Muskrat Falls



 Background
A crime unfolding in Labrador is set to escalate on August 7, when the wholly preventable methylmercury poisoning of an Indigenous country food web that has existed since time immemorial will begin downstream of Muskrat Falls.



Colonial powers have always relied on the poisoning and destruction of Indigenous food supplies as part of a genocidal agenda, and it is no different in Labrador, where the Trudeau government has invested a whopping $9.2 billion into the lethal Muskrat Falls megadam.



Despite pleas from the United Nations and the Indigenous government of Nunatsiavut, as well as the clear violation of Canada's legally binding commitments under the Minamata Convention on Mercury, the provincial government of Dwight Ball and its federal government backers are refusing to take any measures to stop the methylmercury poisoning, forcing many to either go hungry or consume foods that contain a neurotoxin that contributes to the deadly Minamata Disease, an affliction all too familiar to the people of Grassy Narrows.



This dam, which will produce "blood megawatts" for sales abroad, threatens an act of cultural genocide via methylmercury poisoning and the additional risk of catastrophic dam break. Indeed, mass casualty flash floods are a real possibility since a significant portion of the dam reservoir is slated to be held back by a natural formation known as the North Spur, composed of quick clay (sand that liquefies and moves under pressure). No proper, independent engineering study has been performed to confirm the stability of the North Spur.



Like any number of megaprojects, all Indigenous people affected have not provided free, prior and informed consent to be poisoned and drowned by this megadam. Non-Indigenous residents also face similar threats from a project that could eventually cost as much as $78 billion and bankrupt the province, forcing further austerity on the most vulnerable of the province's residents.





Why We’re Fasting

During the period leading up to and including the federal election, when all parties will put forward "green plans," we will fast to continue raising awareness of and building resistance to the dangerous Muskrat Falls project which, like all megadams, is NOT green energy. The fast is also an opportunity to demand of anyone who runs for public office that they must speak out against and discuss how they will stop the poisoning of an Indigenous country food web that has existed since time immemorial



We will fast for one or more days during the months between August 7 – when the waters in the reservoir will begin to rise and submerge uncleared vegetation, brush, trees, and soil, thus kicking off the methylmercury bioaccumulation that threatens future generations – and the expected date of the federal election, October 21.



This fast is in support of the Labrador Land Protectors (some of whom still face court proceedings for being on their own land), all those living at risk downstream of the Muskrat Falls megadam, and the poorest and most vulnerable residents of Newfoundland and Labrador, who will face severe cutbacks to desperately needed social programs to pay for this disaster.



We fast because we recognize that if Muskrat Falls goes online without any changes, the largely Indigenous downstream population will be faced with either going hungry or eating a country food web dangerously poisoned by the neurotoxin methylmercury.  



We fast because we recognize the hungering for justice of people who have never been properly consulted about a project that threatens their lives.



We fast because we recognize that all of us undertaking small sacrifices together can help awaken the sleeping conscience of a country that has yet to take seriously the calls to action of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and the cornerstone principles of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.



The fast will continue from August 7 to October 21 with three demands:



1.   An immediate halt to impoundment of the Muskrat Falls reservoir, and immediate implementation of the original recommendations from a joint 2011 provincial-federal environmental assessment (seconded by a major 2016 Harvard University study and further echoed by an Independent Experts Advisory Committee) for full clearance of brush, trees, and topsoil, along with the capping of the wetlands, at the Muskrat Falls reservoir to prevent the bioaccumulation of the neurotoxin methylmercury.



2.  Immediate appointment of an independent inquiry into the instability of the North Spur, because no study has proven that it is secure enough to prevent a catastrophic dam break and mass drowning.



3.   The federal government, provincial government, and Nalcor (the crown corporation behind the dam) must halt all work on the dam until they have received the free, prior and informed consent of all Indigenous peoples affected by the dam, as well as that of non-Indigenous downstream residents.



Failing all of these demands, Muskrat Falls must be decommissioned and returned to its natural state.



How to participate in the Chain Fast

Pick a day (or a series of days) to fast throughout the summer season and email your name and town to tasc@web.ca) A list of open dates and names is below. More than one person can fast on the same date.



Fast according to your preferred tradition (a full 24 hours, liquids only, sun up to sun down).



The fast is open to anyone (you can join even if you are not living in the land known as Canada)



On the day they fast we encourage you to:

a.  take a selfie with a simple message (ie, #ShutMuskratDown, Stop Poisoning Indigenous People in Labrador, Respect Indigenous Rights, etc) and share that image via social media, explaining why you are fasting on that day



b.   Write an email to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Environment Minister Catherine McKenna, Stolen Resources Minister Amarjeet Sohi, and Colonial Affairs Minister Carolyn Bennett federally, as well as Newfoundland and Labrador Premier Dwight Ball and Nalcor CEO Stan Marshall (the crown corporation behind the project), to explain why you are fasting and reinforce the three demands listed above. Emails are: pm@pm.gc.caCatherine.McKenna@parl.gc.caAmarjeet.Sohi@parl.gc.cacarolyn.bennett@parl.gc.cadwightball@gov.nl.cainfo@nalcorenergy.comtasc@web.ca



c. Write a letter to a local newspaper about why they are fasting, and perhaps link your fast to land and water protection struggles taking place in your territory.



d. If you have the time, make a sign and vigil for an hour or two in public at a federal building or MP’s office to mark your fast and the reasons behind it (we can provide flyers to hand out).



Thanks for your support!



The Ontario-Muskrat Solidarity Coalition

Wednesday, August 7: Peggy Skinner, Goose Bay, NL; Angela Giles, Halifax; Sabrina Bell & Ronnie Villeneuve; Catherine McLean, London, ON
Thursday, August 8:  David Heap, London, ON
Friday, August 9: Lori Borthwick, Belleville, ON
Saturday, August 10: Brian Burch, Toronto, ON
Sunday, August 11: Brian Burch, Toronto, ON
Monday, August 12: Liz Chisholm, Chilliwack, BC
Tuesday, August 13: Murray Lumley, Toronto, ON
Wednesday, August 14: Peggy Skinner, Goose Bay, NL
Thursday, August 15:  Ella Pegan, Ottawa, ON
Friday, August 16: Lesley Anne Paveling, Ottawa, ON
Saturday, August 17: Liz White, Edmonton, AB
Sunday, August 18: Jozef Konyari, Toronto, ON
Monday, August 19: Liz Chisholm, Chilliwack, BC; Ria Heynen, Ottawa, ON
Tuesday, August 20: Belinda Cole, Toronto
Wednesday, August 21: Murray Lumley, Toronto, ON, Peggy Skinner, Goose Bay, NL;
Catherine McLean, London, ON
Thursday, August 22:  
Friday, August 23: 
Saturday, August 24:
Sunday, August 25:
Monday, August 26: Liz Chisholm, Chilliwack, BC; Ria Heynen, Ottawa, ON
Tuesday, August 27:
Wednesday, August 28: Sylvia Smith, Ottawa, ON, Murray Lumley, Toronto, ON, Peggy Skinner, Goose Bay, NL
Thursday, August 29:  Luke Stocking, Toronto, ON
Friday, August 30: 
Saturday, August 31:
Sunday, September 1:
Monday, September 2: Liz Chisholm, Chilliwack, BC
Tuesday, September 3:
Wednesday, September 4: Murray Lumley, Toronto, ON, Peggy Skinner, Goose Bay, NL
Thursday, September 5:
Friday, September 6: kathrin winkler, Mi’kma’ki, the ancestral and unceded territory of the Mi’kmaq People
Saturday, September 7:
Sunday, September 8: Caitlin Hewitt-White, Toronto
Monday, September 9: Liz Chisholm, Chilliwack, BC; Ria Heynen, Ottawa, ON
Tuesday, September 10: Randal Hadland   Dawson Creek, BC  (near the Site C destruction)
Wednesday, September 11: Peggy Skinner, Goose Bay, NL; Catherine McLean, London, ON
Thursday, September 12:
Friday, September 13:
Saturday, September 14:
Sunday, September 15: Farista Sairuv, Edmonton, AB
Monday, September 16: Liz Chisholm, Chilliwack, BC
Tuesday, September 17: Dorene Bernard, Grassroots Grandmother, Mi'kmaki Treaty Truck House on the Shubenacadie River
Wednesday, September 18: Peggy Skinner, Goose Bay, NL
Thursday, September 19:
Friday, September 20:
Saturday, September 21:
Sunday, September 22:
Monday, September 23: Liz Chisholm, Chilliwack, BC; Ria Heynen, Ottawa, ON
Tuesday, September 24:
Wednesday, September 25: Sylvia Smith, Ottawa, ON, Peggy Skinner, Goose Bay, NL, Lini Hutchings, Vancouver, BC; Catherine McLean, London, ON
Thursday, September 26:
Friday, September 27: Rita Monias, Pimicikamak
Saturday, September 28:
Sunday, September 29:
Monday, September 30: Liz Chisholm, Chilliwack, BC
Tuesday, October 1:
Wednesday, October 2:
Thursday, October 3: Murray Lumley, Toronto, ON, Carolyn (Lynn) Smart, Toronto. ON
Friday, October 4:
Saturday, October 5:
Sunday, October 6:
Monday, October 7: Liz Chisholm, Chilliwack, BC; Ria Heynen, Ottawa, ON
Tuesday, October 8:
Wednesday, October 9:
Thursday, October 10: Murray Lumley, Toronto, ON
Friday, October 11:
Saturday, October 12:
Sunday, October 13:
Monday, October 14: Liz Chisholm, Chilliwack, BC
Tuesday, October 15:
Wednesday, October 16: Sylvia Smith, Ottawa, ON; Catherine McLean, London, ON
Thursday, October 17: Murray Lumley, Toronto, ON
Friday, October 18:
Saturday, October 19:
Sunday, October 20: Michelle Bush St. John’s, NL
Monday, October 21: Liz Chisholm, Chilliwack, BC


















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