by Murray Lumley
On Mondays from 25 June 2018 through 17 September 2018 I participated in the ‘Muskrat Falls Chain Fast.’ The fast was a response to a request from my friend, Matthew Behrens of Homes Not Bombs, who has led an awareness campaign for two years here in Ontario as he and the Inuit First Nations people from Labrador have rallied in opposition to the Muskrat Falls Dam mega-project of Labrador. There will be another Nonviolent Direct Action against the project in Ottawa on 29 October 2018.
The Inuit people of Labrador and their non-Indigenous supporters are protesting the Muskrat Falls Dam mega project, because they fear the mercury poisoning that will ensue as well as the grossly over-budget cost of this project to the people of Newfoundland and Labrador. The dam is in danger of collapsing due to the nature of the soil at one end. Right now, a Commission of Inquiry is investigating how its cost has doubled to $12 billion. The Inuit people who have been protesting the dam construction have been arrested, jailed and are on trial but the mainstream media has largely been overlooking their plight.
As part of my fast, I engaged in advocacy and community education. I wrote a letter to the Prime minister, my MP and other government members expressing my opposition to the dam. I also sent an email to my family members and some church members explaining the reasons for the fast. I read news articles and Facebook posts from Inuit activists regarding the mega-dam project.
I feel this was an important action to do, but I am also keenly aware that I want to do much more to educate people in Toronto and Ontario about the injustice this dam represents, to nature, to the citizens of Newfoundland and Labrador and especially to the Inuit people who will live with the consequences of this project on their lands and to their health. These kinds of harmful mega-projects must be brought to an end.