SUDBURY—Manitoulin Island was to be well represented at a fracking conference held at the University of Sudbury on Wednesday of this week.
“Within our communities there is a sense that the environment is suffering greatly and one of the many reasons for this is fracking,” stated Dr. Michael Hankard, assistant professor at the Department of Indigenous Studies, University of Sudbury.
“The whole idea of holding this ‘It’s a Fracking Conference’ panel discussion is to create awareness of the issue of fracking and the concerns it brings,” said Dr. Hankard.
“Manitoulin Island is made up of limestone shale rock,” said Dr. Hankard, who noted that fracking is being carried throughout Canada and which has led to recent protests in New Brunswick. “We are hearing about more fracking taking place in areas, and concerns that have been raised, especially since Bill C-45 and the repeal of the Navigable Waters Act, which means waters in Canada are not being protected as they should be.”
The panel discussed ‘What’s the Fracking Deal with Fracking,’ with Dr. Hankard as the moderator, Tina Eshkawkogan of the Wikwemikong Unceded Indian Reserve on water teachings, Chris Sabas and Carrie Peter, of the Christian Peacemaker Teams, providing eyewitness accounts from the Mi’kmaq fracking protest. Manitoulin resident Mike Wilton, president of Algonquin Eco Watch Group, will speak on ‘Groundwater: The lifeblood of mother earth,’ while Art Jacko, manager of lands and resources with the United Chiefs and Councils of M’nidoo M’nising, will speak on the First Nations policy on fracking. Roy Carlyle, an undergraduate student at the Department of Indigenous Studies, will provide a ‘thesis, antithesis, future of the environment from all my relatives.’