Tobique protesters seize NB Power truck in dispute over free electricity
Last Updated: Tuesday, June 30, 2009 | 3:11 PM AT
A protest by members of the Tobique First Nation over a deal they say should provide them with free electricity escalated over the weekend with the seizure of an NB Power truck.
The Tobique protesters argue NB Power committed to the free-power deal in exchange for allowing the Crown corporation to build a hydroelectric dam on the Tobique River in the 1950s.
The protest began more than a year ago after NB Power went looking for hundreds of thousands of dollars in unpaid electrical bills, organizer Hart Perley said.
Perley and others have set up camp at the generating station, located in the northwest part of the province, and have been allowing NB Power employees access only if they check in with the protesters.
'He didn't stop and report to the protesters. The security that we have went down and seized his vehicle, brought him to our encampment and I called the RCMP to tell them what had just occurred.'— Hart Perley, protest organizer
On Friday, an employee failed to do so.
"He didn't stop and report to the protesters. The security that we have went down and seized his vehicle, brought him to our encampment and I called the RCMP to tell them what had just occurred," Perley said.
The RCMP and NB Power asked the protesters to give the truck back, Perley said. They have refused.
RCMP Sgt. John DeWinter hesitated to call the protesters' actions illegal.
"There's a process that had been acceptable to both sides and inadvertently somebody forgot to take a step that was acceptable, and that's where we are," DeWinter said.
NB Power won't comment
NB Power is refusing to comment on the dispute or its relationship with the band.
Rick Brewer, New Brunswick's aboriginal affairs minister, met with the protesters Monday afternoon.
"We hope to work with the First Nation and with the power corporation and bring a positive resolution," Brewer said.
On Tuesday, Perley said the Tobique protesters also asked Brewer to have garbage that has sat on a local hill since the dam's construction moved off of reserve land.
"At the time they were constructing the hydro dam, they used a portion of land to leave their barrels of pesticides and herbicides, [PCBs], and so on and so forth," she said.
"And the hospital from the neighbouring town of Perth was also using that as a dump site for whatever it is that they needed to get rid of."
The Tobique hydro dam was put into service in 1953. It is a 20-megawatt facility, one of the smallest of NB Power's seven hydro dams.
The Mactaquac dam, the largest of the utility's hydro units, can produce up to 672 megawatts of power.
Latest New Brunswick News Headlines
- Trudeau raises environmental questions over pipeline
- Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau says a proposed west-east pipeline project will not go forward unless it addresses key environmental concerns. more »
- Rothesay man charged with 2nd-degree murder
- Adam Prest, 39, has been charged with second-degree murder in the death of his common-law wife Tanya Shand in Rothesay on Wednesday. more »
- Duffy expense claims reveal more about campaign travel
- Election spending records show additional days Senator Mike Duffy spent on the campaign trail in the 2011 election, including days he told the Senate he was on business, and days on which Deloitte auditors couldn't track him. more »
- Chinese student drowned, pathologist tells inquest
- Drowning was the cause of death of a Chinese student in Saint John two years ago, a coroner's inquest was told on Thursday. more »
Top News Headlines
- How was the Mike Duffy report 'whitewashed?'
- Opposition parties pushed the government on Thursday to answer questions about the "whitewashed" Duffy report while the RCMP is also seeking more information from the Senate as part of its review of questionable expenses. more »
- 2nd suspect in Tim Bosma murder case to plead not guilty
- The lawyer for Mark Smich says the Oakville, Ont., resident will plead not guilty to first-degree murder in the death of Tim Bosma, the Hamilton man who disappeared earlier this month after taking two men on a test drive of his truck. more »
- Accused Via terror plotter wants Qur'an cited in defence
- Two suspects charged in an alleged plot to bomb a Via Rail train appeared in a Toronto court by video link Thursday morning. more »
- Canada Post campaigns against 'no flyers' mailbox signs
- Canada Post has been mailing more than 900,000 letters across the country to people to try to convince them to remove "no flyer" signs from their mailboxes. more »
- Rothesay woman killed in domestic homicide
- Rothesay man charged with 2nd-degree murder
- Man arrested for selling fake bus passes on Kijiji
- Kent Homes in Bouctouche lands its largest contract
- Fitch faces new questions over trust fund use
- Glut of Tory bills meant to stifle debate, Liberals allege
- Vandals spray-paint profanity on CFB Gagetown tank
- Sale of Edmundston mill good news, mayor says
- Paramedics unable to revive Chinese student, inquest hears