On the shoreline of the Northumberland Strait in Nova Scotia, in the 1960’s, an important area for culture and sustenance known as A’se’k to the Mi’kmaq, was stolen to construct an effluent treatment facility for a pulp mill. They were told it would be safe. It was a lie. The pristine, tidal bay of Boat Harbour became a polluted lagoon, and one of Canada’s most notorious cases of environmental racism. The loss to residents of Pictou Landing First Nation has been felt across generations.
“Growing up all I’d known was that we were the ‘stinky, smelly’ First Nation community in Nova Scotia,” says a young woman in the community. “But now, we may have a chance to heal.”
The Boat Harbour Act was a legislated promise to fix this injustice and the toxic disaster it created, and requires closure of Boat Harbour and an alternative for the pulp mill by January 31, 2020, or else it must close. The company, Northern Pulp, owned by Paper Excellence, part of the Sinar Mas conglomerate, does not have an alternative in place, and is pushing for an extension to the deadline that would shatter the promise.
The powerful video below, made by members of Pictou Landing First Nation, provides a glimpse of the toxic legacy and tells stories loss and hope across generations. For all, what remains of the hope for healing and justice rests on the promise of January 31, 2020.
This is a pivotal moment for this human rights story and an international call for justice can make a difference in how it ends. Send a letter to Premier McNeil and all Nova Scotia MLAs, and let them know you support the Boat Harbour Act and the closure of Boat Harbour to pulp effluent on 31 January, 2020.
Watch the video below. For an extended history: Click Here