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Fire destroys lobster pound in Nova Scotia, police say man in hospital with injuries

October 18, 2020
By Canadian Press

Oct. 18, 2020, Nova Scotia – Nova Scotia RCMP say a man is in hospital with life threatening injuries believed to be related to a large fire that destroyed a lobster pound in southwestern Nova Scotia overnight on Friday.

Sgt. Andrew Joyce says Yarmouth County RCMP and the West Pubnico
Fire Department responded to the blaze at a fish plant in Middle
West Pubnico, N.S. around midnight.
He says although the lobster facility was not occupied, a man is
in a Halifax hospital with injuries police believe are related to
the fire.
Joyce says he is a person of interest in the ongoing
investigation into the fire that police are calling suspicious.
The fire capped a week of rising tensions over a treaty right to
a self-regulated Indigenous fishery in the province.
Chief Mike Sack of the Sipekne’katik First Nation issued a
statement saying the overnight blaze “further illustrates the need
for greater police presence in the region.”
“I am once again calling on Prime Minister (Justin) Trudeau and
the RCMP to dedicate the necessary resources to this region to
protect everyone,” he said in a statement Saturday morning.
“I am extremely concerned that someone is going to get hurt or
worse.”
Sack said the facility is owned “by a friend and ally,” adding
that one of their community members was barricaded and his catch
destroyed there last week.
Jonathan LeBlanc, fire chief for Eel Brook District Fire
Department, said his team got a call around midnight about a blaze
at a large commercial structure in West Pubnico.
He described the building as “a lost cause” with everything
inside was destroyed, but said crews were able to prevent damage to
adjacent buildings.
LeBlanc said it’s too early to identify the cause of the blaze,
but the fire marshal’s office is investigating.
The incident comes after recent violent clashes and damage to
lobster pounds over the Indigenous fishery in the province.
The non-Indigenous protesters oppose the band’s decision to start
a commercial lobster fishing business that has operated outside the
federally regulated lobster season since mid-September.
But Sack argues Indigenous people in Atlantic Canada and Quebec
have a treaty right to fish for a moderate livelihood where and when
they want, based on a 1999 Supreme Court of Canada decision that
cites treaties signed by the Crown in the 1700s.
Many non-Indigenous critics, however, cite a clarification issued
four months after the 1999 ruling, stating the Mi’kmaq treaty rights
would be subject to federal regulations to ensure fish conservation.
On Twitter Saturday, Assembly of First Nations National Chief
Perry Bellegarde said he’s reached out to the RCMP and the federal
government to express First Nations’ “deep concern.”
“I demand a full and thorough investigation by the proper
authorities,” Bellegarde said. “I will be monitoring the situation
and  will update later today.”
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 17,
2020.


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