Nfld. & Labrador

Inuk artist taking Muskrat Falls hunger strike to Ottawa

After beginning his hunger strike on Oct. 13, Inuk artist Billy Gauthier and fellow hunger strikers Delilah Saunders and Jerry Kohlmeister are taking their protest to Ottawa.

Gauthier says the province is ignoring Inuit needs and 'refusing to protect us'

Billy Gauthier is on a hunger strike to protest the Muskrat Falls project.

After beginning his hunger strike against the proposed flooding of the Muskrat Falls reservoir on Oct. 13, Inuk artist Billy Gauthier and fellow hunger strikers Delilah Saunders and Jerry Kohlmeister are taking their protest to Ottawa. 

Gauthier, Saunders and Kohlmeister are travelling to attend the "Make Muskrat Right" demonstration planned for Ottawa's Human Rights Monument on Sunday.

"Nalcor and our own provincial government are ignoring our needs and refusing to protect us," Gauthier said in a statement released Friday night.  

"I feel we have to go to the federal government and ask for their protection."

The three hunger strikers hope to have their voices heard by the federal government and Indigenous and environmental organizations to have the reservoir fully cleared before flooding begins to prevent the leaching of methylmercury into the water.

The strikers said they fear methylmercury could contaminate fish and game stocks and bring an end to their traditional lifestyles.

Earlier this month, Newfoundland and Labrador Environment Minister Perry Trimper said the province is exploring options but a complete clearing isn't possible.