Congratulations to the Pictou Landing First Nation students for the educational film they produced on Boat Harbour.
I certainly look forward to seeing the film and especially seeing the interest of the First Nation youth who never had a chance to see the beauty of Boat Harbour and to use it like we did prior to the industrial pollution. If the pollution never happened this First Nation location would have been one of the finest in Canada and you must also look at the impact it had on one of the finest beaches in Nova Scotia, “The Light House Beach!”
All the best to the youth of the First Nation and just never allow what happened to happen again. Stand up for your rights as you are the future and remember “Idle No More!”
As a former active member of the Pictou Landing Pollution Committee we certainly worked long, hard hours and did what we could to stop this terrible tragedy and to try to ensure proper safety measures were taken prior to the mill ever being built.
Even the air-raters that were installed at Boat Harbour came as suggestions from our committee with the knowledge we obtained from outside sources!
We were Pioneer fighters of Industrial polluters in Atlantic Canada and even leaders in that field. We sure would have liked to have had the First Nation Community involved with our Pollution Committee.
However it was not to be as the Provincial Government lied to the Elders and showed them a couple of sewage abatement plants in NS and NB and the Elders believed the government was telling the truth. The Elders were very upset and much to their sorrow we have this pollution today. We as a committee did not share the Elders trust of Governments.
Companies in the sixties could do what they wanted and governments backed them as we never had pollution rules in place. We had the Conservatives in power during the tragedy at Boat Harbour. However it is only fair to mention that I personally contacted the federal Liberals who were in power and I also contacted the provincial Liberals and we received absolutely no help nor any suggestions. The NDP were not an item in the sixties, yet they did have great volunteers.
Some of the present day provincial government departments came about because of our involvement in this pollution problem.
I am sure the young people today would be upset to learn that Canada in the sixties was not up to date on pollution matters as they should have been. They just would not help us and we had to get help from Washington, D.C. and this information was of great help to our pollution committee. It put us at great advantage in dealing with the government.
The amount of valuable information we received in the end from our American friends was passed on to the new government formed departments or used by existing ones.
We sent one of our members to meet one of Ralph Nader’s legal team visiting Halifax and he advised us that companies are not human as people think and you sue them on their bottom line. In the end we had the approval to sue and the company started to co-operate.
It was really hard work with the Pictou Landing Pollution Committee and we got branded as troublemakers, etc. In some cases it hurt possible job placements in the sixties. From start to finish it is a great story and today you would get the Order of Canada for doing far less.
Certainly if we can be of any help for the rest of the story just let us know.
Very Truly Yours,
Lloyd P. MacKay
Former active member of the Pictou Landing Pollution Committee