Over the last month, we’ve watched the acts of racist, anti-Indigenous violence in Nova Scotia in horror and with growing concern. We’ve heard the stories and seen the images of Mi’kmaq fishers who’ve been assaulted, threatened, had their traps removed, and have had a vehicle burned down.
It’s disgraceful and all of us, everywhere, must raise our voices in opposition so we can end it once and for all.
CUPE Ontario’s 280,000 members join the rising tide of voices. We are in absolute opposition to acts of racist violence and we collectively call for immediate action.
In this moment, we need to recognize that this isn’t about conservation, like the commercial fishing sector and those who defend these acts of brutality claim. The Sipekne’katik First Nation launched a moderate livelihood lobster fishery that simply pales in comparison to the venture of the non-Indigenous fish harvesters.
Regardless, the Mi’kmaq have a treaty right to fish for a moderate livelihood, which even includes selling what they fish, a right supported by the Supreme Court of Canada.
Despite this, the federal government, specifically the Ministry of Fisheries, Oceans, and the Canadian Coast Guard, has failed to act. The provincial government has failed to act. And the RCMP has undeniably failed to act, standing by and watching as violence unfolded.
As a union, we are especially obligated to take a strong position. We have members who are Indigenous – and, within our own ranks, the poison of white supremacy is sadly present.
The urgency of this moment is unquestionable. It’s time to put an end to the racism, the vigilantism, the intimidation, and the violence – before it escalates any further.