Nunatsiavut 'cannot be bought' with Muskrat Falls mercury compensation plan

President Johannes Lampe says Labrador Inuit will continue to fight to get their concerns over methylmercury heard by the provincial government.

Declaration comes on the heels of third protest rally Tuesday in Rigolet

Johannes Lampe says about 150 protested Muskrat Falls in Rigolet on Tuesday. (Twitter/Charlie Flowers)

On the heels of the latest Muskrat Falls protest Tuesday in Rigolet, the president of the Nunatsiavut Government says his people will continue to speak out about possible methylmercury contamination due to the planned flooding of the megaproject's reservoir.

"Right now protesting is a first step. This is just the beginning," Johannes Lampe told CBC Radio's Labrador Morning, adding more demonstrations in Postville and Makkovik are in the works.

"We are trying our best to take this momentum and do whatever we can to hopefully get to do what we need to do."

Lampe said about 150 people attended Tuesday's rally, the third such recent protest.

The Nunatsiavut Government has been speaking out in an effort to get the province to clear cut the reservoir and remove soil prior to flooding, as a way to prevent a spike in methylmercury levels in the Lake Melville area, a recommendation made by Harvard University experts in a Nunatsiavut-commissioned report.

Two sides not talking

The Minister for Environment and Conservation Perry Trimper, who is also the MHA for Lake Melville, has stated the government is not backing down from its plan to flood the area without clearing it.

"Moving forward, I commit to maintaining that approach, and hope the Nunatsiavut Government comes to the table. If the Nunatsiavut Government is willing, I will reconvene the group of experts with them," Trimper said in a statement to the CBC.

Trimper has also promised possible compensation, after the Nunatsiavut Government requested an "impact management agreement" with the province.

As Labrador Inuit, we cannot be bought.- Johannes Lampe

Lampe said that request did not mean a financial buyout.

"As Labrador Inuit we cannot be bought, and most certainly by a project that will impact the way of life and the future of Labrador Inuit and other Labradorians," he said.

Instead, Lampe said his government is working on an action plan to get the province to change its position, including trying to persuade the Liberal MHA for Torngat Mountains, Randy Edmunds, to come onside.

"We are prepared and we are planning what our next steps are going to be."

With files from Labrador Morning