Make Muskrat Right protesters vow to keep up the fight
The Nunatsiavut government is vowing to keep up its protest against Muskrat Falls until its concerns over methyl mercury are addressed.
Make Muskrat Right protestors gathered outside Environment Minister Perry Trimper's Happy Valley-Goose Bay office on Thursday, and then took to the highway alongside the Churchill River.
Patricia Kemuksigak, Nunatsiavut's minister of education and economic development, said they intend to make sure their concerns about the environmental effect of the hydroelectric project are heard.
"It's very important that our lives matter," said the Inuit leader. "Our traditional ways matter. Our traditional foods matter. We're not going to go away. The project has to be right."
Darryl Shiwak, Nunatsiavut's minister of lands and natural resources thanked the crowd, which included people from across Labrador.
"It's your voice, it's your message (Trimper) needs to hear," he said. "Methyl mercury downstream is going to have an impact on everybody who eats those foods, who eats the fish, the seals."
Shiwak added that it's symbolic that the protests would keep getting closer to the Muskrat Falls project itself.
We will not stop until changes are made, and we will continue to get closer.- Darryl Shiwak
"Until changes are made to this project to make it right, to reduce the methyl mercury by real mitigation, we're going to continue to go closer to Muskrat Falls. We will not stop until changes are made, and we will continue to get closer."
Trimper addressed the crowd, saying he's waiting for a report on a workshop held to address residents concerns.
"We're working very hard to address the concerns," he said.
One protester asked the environment minister how he'd feel if his family lived in Rigolet and was concerned about their food supply.
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"Folks, I guess what I can tell you is I'm proud to be your MHA, I'm proud to be the minister," he answered. "It's a challenging time, no question."
"But what I can tell you is I feel the passion, the concern, that's why I'm here, and I'm doing my best, and I look forward to a dialogue once the report is done, and we will be certainly sitting down with the Nunatsiavut government and other indigenous decision-makers and going forward."
With files from Jacob Barker