Nova Scotia

Mi'kmaq protesters want meeting with band council

A peaceful demonstration at a Mi'kmaq gas station on a reserve near Chester Basin will continue until all band councillors meet with the protesters.
Members of the Mi'kmaq band at Gold River protest the loss of jobs at the band-owned gas station. (Sabrina Fabian/CBC)

A peaceful protest at a Mi'kmaq gas station on a reserve near Chester Basin will continue until all band councillors meet with the protesters.

Chief Deborah Robinson, of the Acadia First Nation, met Sunday with protesters at the Golden Nugget Gas Bar in Gold River who are upset they were given notice they will lose their jobs at the refuelling stop.

Some band members have started a petition to elect a new chief and council.

Robinson told them that the gas bar would remain open even though eight people who worked there have been laid off. She said three new employees will be hired.

The 10 video lottery terminals in the gas bar will be moved — five will go to Yarmouth, while five will go to a nearby convenience store, she said.

Robinson said the VLTs are being moved because they have not been profitable.

"In the last six years, there was one year where there was a profit — that was 2008. It was a loss, obviously, or it wouldn't have been closed," she said. "That's the facts."

But the protesters didn't believe her explanation, and asked her to return with all band councillors to discuss this and other issues.

Corruption accusations

Michelle Paul of Dartmouth said she and other band members have started a petition to elect a new chief and council.

The petition is being circulated to the five reserves that make up the Yarmouth-based Acadia First Nation.

Paul said that the band is corrupt and she is asking for better services for children and more transparency.

The protesters said services on the reserve are not adequate to help band members and their families, and are not comparable to what other reserves in the province receive.

The protest began Tuesday.

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