Aim to find consensus on Boat Harbour

John Brannen
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MLA MacFarlane’s resolution voted down after Liberals pass similar motion at AGM

HALIFAX – At the Liberal Party’s Annual General Meeting last weekend, the policy resolution produced for Central Nova emphasized the need to clean up Boat Harbour.

Pictou West MLA Karla MacFarlane

Pictou Landing First Nation has for many years sought a resolution of the environmental problems at Boat Harbour,” the resolution read. “Be it resolved that the government take immediate and effective steps to clean up Boat Harbour.”

On Monday evening, Pictou West MLA Karla MacFarlane decided to see just how committed the party was to their own resolution. She drafted a similar resolution and presented it in the legislature.

“When it came to a vote, the Liberals voted against it,” MacFarlane said. “I basically presented the same resolution in the place where it counts, the legislature.”

A resolution, when approved by the legislature, does not have the force of law but expresses the legislature’s views or opinion on a matter of public concern.

“If it had passed, we could have moved forward as to how we want to act on this.”

RELATED: MLA MacFarlane’s resolution was ‘laced with partisan vitriol,’ says Minister Delorey

MacFarlane’s motion, while similar in purpose, was less conciliatory in tone. It included references to the Liberal’s alleged role in Boat Harbour, including a deal with the mill owners to put the cleanup costs squarely on the backs of taxpayers.

However, the Progressive Conservative MLA also noted that her party and the NDP are also responsible for Boat Harbour.

“All parties are guilty,” she said. “I believe it’s going to take all parties to work together to see it cleaned up.”

She also wanted her resolution to lay bare the history of Boat Harbour to taxpayers.

“Let’s not use the past as a hitching post but use it as a guiding post.”

In 2008 when the PC party was in government, then environment minister Murray Scott promised that the Boat Harbour treatment facility would be closed, cleaned and another location for the mill’s effluent would be secured

With the NDP defeat of the PC government in 2009, the plans have been shelved.

In January, the province’s auditor general Jacques LaPointe noted that government would now have to account for liabilities associated with the remediation of contaminated sites effective for fiscal years beginning on or after April 1, 2014.

“I want to sit down and work with people and other parties to get things started,” said MacFarlane. “We’ve got to get started because it’s going to take a while to get Boat Harbour cleaned up.”

Minister of Environment Randy Delorey could not be reached at press time.

On Twitter: @NGNewsJohn

Organizations: Pictou Landing First Nation, NDP

Geographic location: Boat Harbour

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Recent comments

  • andrew mcmillan
    April 07, 2014 - 19:15

    Boat Harbour has been illegal since the pipe was laid across the East River of Pictou in 1965 under Bob Stanfield's watch. Every year that it has existed ever since has also been illegal and every premier since that time is culpable in its continued existence. Surprise us Stephen McNeil. Close this thing and force North Nova Pulp to treat its effluent on its own property in Abercrombie. They should also be forced to ensure that ZERO effluent discharged into Pictou Harbour from their new treatment facility at Abercrombie has any trace of pollutants in it - the water should be clean enough to drink and I challenge each and every living former premier to be there at the opening ceremony and dip a cup of water into the outlet pipe and take a big chug. And the same mill should also be forced to stop polluting the air. ZERO emissions and ZERO smell. We are fed up with this noxious facility and the big wig Tories, Liberals and Dippers who keep allowing this offence to exist.

  • Jane Thomson
    April 04, 2014 - 15:30

    The use of Boat Harbour as a dumping ground for the mill's mess has been illegal since an extension expired ten years ago. The Reserve recently voted to reject any further extensions despite their desperate need for the financial incentives offered. Still the government stalls. What will it take to get some action on this?