New Brunswick

Hundreds protest hydro-fracking in Fredericton

More than 600 people gathered for an hydro-fracking rally in Fredericton, New Brunswick Saturday.
More than 200 protesters walked in downtown Fredericton Saturday protesting hydro-fracking. (Matt McCann/CBC)
Police estimate more than 600 people gathered for a hydro-fracking rally in Fredericton, New Brunswick Saturday.

An alliance made up of 28 community groups organized the event to show the Alward government it doesn't want shale gas development in the province.

Among the groups were members of the St. Mary's First Nation, who set up a large teepee on the front lawn of the provincial legislature.

Angee Acquin, a member of the community, said they're planning on staying there until the legislature opens on Wednesday.

"We're here because we have a stake in our New Brunswick government, and we've put a pretty big stake on the government right now with our teepee, literally. And I think that's what needs to happen," Acquin said.

They say the development of shale gas in New Brunswick is unacceptable and they want the government to put an end to it.

"I've seen firsthand that regulations cannot cover everything. They will not. You cannot control how the soil's going to react with all these forces exerting on it,"said Maxime Daigle, one of the protestors, who has worked in the oil and gas industry.

Hydro-fracking, also known as hydraulic fracturing, is a controversial practice that injects a mixture of water, sand and chemicals into the ground, creating cracks in shale rock formations so that natural gas can be released from areas that would otherwise go untapped.

A large teepee now sits on the lawn of the front legislature, put up by members of the St. Mary's First Nation. (Matt McCann/CBC)
Earlier this week, federal Environment Minister Peter Kent said while he has the power to stop hydro-fracking in N.B., he's waiting on a review from the Council of Canadian Academies on hydro-fracking.

He said it's too early to speculate what the review, started in September, will find.

Earlier this month, SWN Resources, the biggest player in shale gas exploration in New Brunswick, announced that its initial assessments show a widespread presence of hydrocarbons underground, including oil and natural gas.

The government says it will allow responsible development of the industry.

Protesters say they hope Saturday's demonstration will change the province's mind.