Nfld. & Labrador

96-year-old jokes she 'might be dead' before her court date over Muskrat Falls

Dorothy Michelin says she was just taking pictures outside the Muskrat Falls gate, and this is her first time in court.

Dorothy Michelin says she went to the megaproject site as part of a Saturday drive

Michelin, 96, says its her first brush with the law. (Katie Breen/CBC)

Dorothy Michelin reads her court date through wire-framed glasses and squinted eyes. She's 96 and this is her first brush with the law.

Michelin was served an injunction at her home in Happy Valley-Goose Bay on Wednesday ordering her to Supreme Court next month to explain why she shouldn't be held in contempt of court for protesting at Muskrat Falls.

"I told the young [sheriff's officer] this morning, 'My dear, that's a long ways away. I might be dead by that time,'" she joked.

The way her daughter tells it, the pair went for a drive Saturday to see the rise in water levels caused by the megaproject.

They stopped at a couple of lookouts and made their way to the main site.

"I would have never taken my mother there knowing that she would possibly get arrested or be given a subpoena," Norma Michelin, the third youngest of Dorothy's 11 children said.

Norma Michelin took her mother to the site. She says she didn't realize people could be served for standing outside the gate. (Katie Breen/CBC)

"I just thought it was nobody could go inside the gate and that was what the court injunction was for."

Nalcor issued a court order on October 16 that stated protesters weren't allowed "on any portion of any highway, roadway, driveway, or laneway which is intended or ordinarily used for vehicular access to Muskrat Falls."

Photo opportunity

Norma Michelin says Saturday was the first time her mother went to the site.

I don't know if it's a good thing or a bad thing to wait 96 years to be called to court and be called a criminal, I don't know what to make of that, my dear.          - Dorothy Michelin, 96

"If mother had been up there for a couple of months with everybody else and been involved with it right from the get-go it would've been a different story but she went up on Saturday for nothing more than to have a look."

She said when they pulled up to the main site, people wanted to take their picture with her mom and her mom suggested they pose in front of the gate.

"None of those RCMP officers that were there at any point in time said to us that we were violating a court injunction." 

First brush with law

Dorothy's husband and sons used to trap along the Churchill River where the Muskrat Falls megaproject is being constructed. (Nalcor Energy)

Dorothy Michelin learned on Tuesday that her name was listed on the injunction, along with 24 others.

"Well, I don't know if it's a good thing or a bad thing to wait 96 years to be called to court and be called a criminal. I don't know what to make of that, my dear," she said.

"I mean, I've lived a pretty good life and I've never ever had a court case before."

Her daughter, who also took pictures at the gate, hasn't been ordered to go to court.

Dorothy Michelin is set to appear Dec 5.

Michelin's papers say she's due in court 1:30 p.m. on Dec 5. (Katie Breen/CBC)


Katie Breen

Video producer

Katie Breen makes video content for CBC in St. John's. She's been working in news for 10 years. You can reach her at