Muskrat Falls and Activism

Photo by Justin Brake of the Independent.

In Social Studies 1211 we recently finished a unit that included a topic on civil disobedience and resistance methods in activism. We discussed how these ideas sometimes cross the line between the legal and illegal, but sometimes groups feel they have no alternative, but to try whatever they can to make positive change occur. The question arises: is illegal action ever okay?

The development of the Muskrat Falls hydroelectric project in Labrador has had its supporters and opponents, but is nonetheless going forward with development. Some positives of this project include job creation, increased electrical power supply for the province, and potential revenue made from the sale of surplus power to other parts of North America. That said, there are some significant concerns about environmental damage (flooding and methylmercury contamination) and the health impacts the project can have on people living in Labrador, particularly Innu and Inuit First Nations groups.

Justin Brake of The Independent recently wrote an article covering these concerns, but also (and of concern to us in Social Studies 1211) the activism occurring around the site of Muskrat Falls. There have been protests and a blockade in the last few days that has disrupted further development at the site by preventing workers from getting in or out. In addition to this, there has been a hunger strike conducted by Billy Gauthier, which contests further work on the site until Nalcor agrees to properly address environmental and human concerns.

I encourage you to follow the link above to read a little more on the issue. Activism is not something reserved for the likes of Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr., – it is happening all around us and in our province as we speak.

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