Nfld. & Labrador

'He's wrong': Protesters respond to Stan Marshall's Muskrat Falls remarks

Make Muskrat Right protesters are not pleased with Nalcor CEO Stan Marshall's comments to the CBC about Muskrat Falls.
Hunger strikers Billy Gauthier and Delilah Saunders are now eating again. They were not pleased with Nalcor CEO Stan Marshall's comments on Muskrat Falls this week. (Jacob Barker/CBC)

Nalcor CEO Stan Marshall told protesters on Tuesday that the company "will do what's right" regarding the Muskrat Falls hydroelectric project. However, those standing against the project did not receive his words well.

"Listening to the man speak, it was like we didn't even exist out here," said Jim Learning, whose name appears on the court injunction telling people not to block or enter the Muskrat Falls site.

"The fact that we didn't exist meant we could be poisoned by methylmercury or drowned by the North Spur."

Muskrat falls protester Jim Learning says 'the fight will go on' following Nalcor CEO Stan Marshall's comments. (Jacob Barker/CBC)

Speaking on CBC's Here and Now Tuesday evening, Marshall downplayed concerns around methylmercury and said he did not believe the science would call for clearing of topsoil from the reservoir.

"In spite of this terrible man's view of it, he's wrong," Learning said in response.

Dismissive of facts

"I'd like to say I was surprised, but I wasn't surprised," Billy Gauthier said. Gauthier went on a 13-day hunger strike which ended after a deal was struck between the premier and leaders of Nunatsiavut, NunatuKavut and the Innu Nation.

"He dismissed a lot of the science based facts behind the situation because I don't think he knows enough about the science."

Jerry Kohlmeister, Delilah Saunders and Billy Gauthier arrived at Goose Bay Airport Thursday night to a crowd of about 60. (Katie Breen/CBC)

Marshall also said flooding of the reservoir needs to begin this weekend. All three indigenous leaders said they would complete an independent review of Nalcor's engineering reports by this Friday.

"They have, as far as my knowledge, no proof or no reasoning to begin flooding at this here point," said Gauthier. "They haven't got good reasoning."

'The fight goes on'

Gauthier says he has experienced some physical problems because of his hunger strike but says he would start it again if neccesary.

"I was going to end my hunger strike only if all dangerous materials, organic materials were going to be removed in a way that was going to be safe for our people," he said.

"If they go back on their word, I'm not going back on my word. I can start my hunger strike again right away."

David Nuke leads protesters out of the Muskrat Falls site last Wednesday. (Jacob Barker/CBC)

"The fight goes on," Learning says,

"We'll fill the courts as far as I'm concerned. They will have no choice but to give in to the peaceful power of people. We're simply going to be processed through the courts for as long as it takes to win this battle."