End Billy Gauthier's Hunger: Tell Nalcor & Government to Clear Muskrat Falls Reservoir
This past summer, I had the privilege of meeting Billy Gauthier – a world renowned Inuk artist, Labrador resident, and father – whose love for his homeland and heritage are apparent through both his words and his actions.
On Thursday, October 13th, Billy announced that he will not eat until he receives a guarantee that harmful materials will be cleared from the Muskrat Falls reservoir before flooding begins as part of the Lower Churchill Hydroelectric Project.
View Billy's video statement here.
If they flood this reservoir without first clearing vegetation and topsoil, waters downstream will be poisoned with methylmercury. The people living there will not only face serious health risks but will also lose their source of food and a large part of their cultural identity. Contamination will undoubtedly threaten the traditions of the Innu and Inuit communities there. In Labrador hunting and fishing is a way of life, and for many it is a means of survival.
This is not about saving one river, or keeping fishing waters nice for recreation. This is about saving individual lives, an entire culture, and indeed our planet.
Despite pleas from the Nunatsiavut government and warnings from researchers at Harvard University, provincial energy company, Nalcor, has chosen to move forward with its plans to flood Lake Melville without any effort to remove the materials that will lead to contamination. And with flooding scheduled to begin anytime on or after October 15th, there isn't a second to spare.
Billy has bravely pledged to remain on hunger strike for as long as it takes, and he fully understands what that means. He recently made the following statement to CBC news: "I love life, I love my daughter, I love my family ... I love my artwork … all I want is for Nalcor to do exactly what they said they were going to do in the beginning. That's all I want... I hope I don't have to go the whole way... but I will."
Please stand with Billy and all of Labrador. Take action. Tell the world that we:
- Demand that Nalcor stop flooding until the area can be cleared
- Urge the federal government of Canada to intervene and use its authority to #MakeMuskratRight
Billy's life is quite literally on the line, and so is the well-being of thousands of Labradorians. Please lend your support.
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