Right to information request from ACOA discredits government statements
In dealing with Aboriginal Peoples, the government must act with “honour and integrity, avoiding even the appearance of sharp dealing,” says the Supreme Court of Canada.
But, that is not how the New Brunswick government is acting, says Grand Chief Ron Tremblay, one of the applicants seeking a judicial review of a decision made by the New Brunswick government to develop a snowmobile grooming hub at Mount Carleton Provincial Park.
When first announced, the project consisted of groomers, a designated trail up the side of Mount Carleton, and two new snowmobile bridges.
“The two new snowmobile bridges are the most essential elements of this project as they tie everything else together,” says Jean Louis Deveau, the other applicant in the judicial review.
The project was registered for an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) in September 2016. At the time government argued the bridges weren’t being considered part of the project.
Yet information recently obtained from the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency through the Right to Information and Protection of Privacy Act indicates that the proposal submitted by the applicants for funding from to ACOA included a request for money to build the two bridges at the centre of this controversy. And in the contract made between the applicants and ACOA, bridge funding is included.
“We’re being told one thing, only to find out through Right to Information that the opposite is true. The government is clearly not acting with honour and integrity,” says Grand Chief Tremblay.
The court is scheduled to continue hearing this matter on June 13th in Woodstock. A crowdfunding campaign (https://www.gofundme.com/27ru624) was started in June 2016 to help pay legal fees.
The Parks Act (2014) stipulates a management plan based on a zoning system must be completed prior to any development in Provincial Parks. Mt. Carleton has been zoned but doesn’t have a management plan.