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Canada's Apartheid, by John Stackhouse
Stories
Introduction
  Nov. 3

Welcome to Harlem on the Prairies
  Nov. 3 (Saskatoon, SK)

Crystal's choice: The best of both worlds
  Nov. 5 (Mississauga, ON)

How the Mi'kmaq profit from fear
  Nov. 6 (Cape Breton, NS)

The healing power of hockey
  Nov. 7 (The Pas, MB)

Norma Rae of the Okanagan
  Nov. 8 (Westbank, BC)

Comic genius or 'niggers in red face'?
  Nov. 9 (Regina, SK)

Praying for a miracle
  Nov. 10 (Lac Ste. Anne, AB)

To have and to have not
  Nov. 12 (Moosonee, ON)

Trouble in paradise
  Nov. 19 (Tofino, BC)

A cut of the action
  Nov. 26 (Wabigoon, ON)

The young and the restless
  Dec. 3 (Ashern, MB)

The wireless warrior's digital dream
  Dec. 10 (Ottawa,ON)

'Everyone thought we were stupid'
  Dec. 14 (Salluit, QC)

First step: End the segregation
  Dec. 15 (Last in the series)

 
How the Mi'kmaq profit from fear

Story by John Stackhouse. Photos by Patti Gower
The Globe and Mail, November 6, 2001

Part 6 of 7: The mine's next challenge


Cape Breton Christmas carried out what he calls "shuttle diplomacy" between Georgia-Pacific, the Sierra Club and his own chiefs to see if some sort of compromise could be reached. To compensate for the old-growth forest damaged by the mine, the company agreed to hand over a much bigger, and environmentally richer, chunk of forest on its Sugar Camp site. It even agreed that the Sierra Club and Mi'kmaq would manage the land jointly.

The Mi'kmaq still had their deal, and May had a small environmental victory. More important, she was not left standing on the wrong side of the natives, which would be difficult for a prominent activist to explain.

But she did have to explain to the local residents why she was abandoning their cause. "If it was a perfect world, I wouldn't want the mine in the Bornish Hills Protected Area," May now says. She is still torn by her decision, but believes the residents stood little hope of winning the case. "There's no question I feel we let them down," she says.

May visited Chisholm, offered an apology and got an earful. "The very last minute, she turned her back on us," the retired nurse says, still bitter at the mention of the environmentalist's name.

The residents continued with their case, and say they have spent $50,000 of their own money on lawyers. In return, all they have received are binders thick with letters from Georgia-Pacific's lawyers and accusations that their demands delayed the start of the mine, and therefore the creation of new jobs.

"They blamed it on us because no one can say anything bad about the natives. We're the bad guys," MacLennan says. "I have nothing against the natives and them getting ahead. Good luck to them."

But he fears that the natives have been used, just as he feels he was. "I've heard it said they Georgia-Pacific used the natives to get into this site. That was playing gutter ball. Sure, it was."

THIS STORY AT A GLANCE (Parts 1 to 7):

Photo Essay
Mining in Membertou


1. 'There was a lot of fear factor in Atlanta'
A lesson in negotiating with the Indians

2. The new spirit: cementing deals
Mi'kmaq's band leader personifies the new image

3. 'Their attitude was perhaps what bugged me the most'
Membertou takes on the corporate world

Reader feedback
Check out what readers had to say about How the Mi'kmaq Profit from Fear
4. 'They don't take direction very well, unfortunately'
Racial comments at the Georgia-Pacific mine

5. The mine's next challenge
Cape Breton's Erin Brockovich brought in

6. A little 'shuttle diplomacy'
Christmas reaches a compromise between Georgia-Pacific and the Sierra Club

7. 'I know how they feel'
The sweet irony of Cape Breton's powerless, dispossessed white residents


 
 

interactives
interactives

photo essays
Two worlds - photo essay


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