ELSIPOGTOG, NEW BRUNSWICK - While social media was a-flurry with predictions that Texas-based gas company SWN Resources would be packing up and leaving traditional Mi'kmaq territory - some saying for as long as until 2015 - the reality is indeed something different entirely.
Today, a conversation between RCMP negotiators Constable Tara Norman from Battleford, Saskatchewan, veteran negotiator Jim Potts, and Jason Augustine, District War Chief of Signigtog, shows that the gas company is not yet ready to confirm that it will be leaving at all. Instead, the RCMP negotiators attempted to convince Augustine that he should allow SWN sub-contractors to pick up the remainder of their seismic testing equipment that currently litters the side of highway 11, near Richibucto, New Brunswick.
Indeed, the RCMP promised a tentative meeting, at a to be determined date, between the company, the province of New Brunswick and Augustine if he were to concede.
Augustine, for his part, had one simple question for the RCMP: If SWN Resources were allowed to remove it's equipment from highway 11, would they pack up and leave - at least for the winter?
The RCMP were unable to answer this question, one way or the other.
Augustine remained firm that he could not speak on behalf of the alliance of anti-hydraulic fracturing 'protectors' currently stationed along highway 11, especially if the RCMP or SWN could not guarantee that the company would leave the territory he is charged with protecting once the equipment was collected.
The full conversation is attached here, as an audio file. To hear the full conversation, which lasts about 20 minutes, please click the play button.
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