Harassment and intimidation: Mi'kmaq band files lawsuit over Nova Scotia lobster

A Mi'kmaq First Nation has filed a lawsuit against non-Indigenous fishers who allegedly co-ordinated a campaign of intimidation, the RCMP, which stood back rather than protect, and the federal government, which stalled a settlement for decades.

The Canadian Press

HALIFAX — A Mi'kmaq First Nation that encountered violence after launching a self-regulated lobster fishery last fall has filed a lawsuit against non-Indigenous fishers in Nova Scotia, the RCMP and the federal government.

In a statement of claim filed Friday with the Nova Scotia Supreme Court, the Sipekne'katik First Nation alleges that non-Indigenous commercial fishers stole and damaged band members' traps, and engaged in a co-ordinated campaign of intimidation and harassment.

The band's statement of claim alleges that both the RCMP and the Department of Fisheries and Oceans failed in their duties to ensure the safety of Indigenous fishers.

None of the allegations has been proven in court and none of the defendants named in the suit could be immediately reached for comment.

A separate lawsuit filed last month includes a constitutional challenge targeting a Nova Scotia law that has prevented the band from selling the lobster it caught in St. Marys Bay, in the southwest of the province.

The lawsuits follow months of tension surrounding a so-called moderate livelihood lobster fishery the band launched on Sept. 17, 2020, which took place before the start of the federally regulated fishing season.

 

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