RCMP charge woman with assault in connection with vandalism of New Edinburgh lobster pound

Nova Scotia RCMP have charged another person in connection with the violent response to the Mi’kmaw moderate livelihood fishery in Nova Scotia last month.

Kristen Sack, 22, of Hants County has been charged with a single count of assault, according to police.

The charges announced on Wednesday are the third time someone has been charged in connection with the vandalizing of the fishing compound in New Edinburgh, N.S., on Oct. 14.

Police did not provide any context to Sack’s charges beyond saying they were connected to the incident last month. It’s not clear what role, if any, she had in the vandalization.

A crowd of approximately 200 non-Indigenous commercial fishers swarmed the facility in New Edinburgh on Oct. 14, removing and damaging video cameras at the facility as well as ransacking the lobster pound and storage facility where the lobster catch was housed.

A van at the facility was later set on fire. Later that night, the same thing occurred at a lobster pound in Middle West Pubnico, N.S.

Violent opposition to Indigenous fisheries

The incidents were part of a series of hostile responses to the Sipekne’katik First Nation launching its regulated moderate livelihood fishery in September.

Traps laid by Mi’kmaw fishers have been repeatedly cut or damaged by mostly non-Indigenous commercial fishermen who oppose the moderate livelihood fishery, saying it is illegal and should not be operating outside of the regulated season.

They say the moderate livelihood fisheries pose a danger to conservation efforts and the long-term health of the lobster stock in the region.

First Nations in Nova Scotia, as well as fisheries experts, have disagreed with their assessment.

There is no seasonal restriction on Indigenous nations in Eastern Canada who have a treaty right to fish or hunt for a “moderate livelihood,” a right that was recognized by the Supreme Court of Canada’s 1999 Marshall decision.

Although the term “moderate livelihood” was not formally defined by the court, a subsequent decision ruled that the government has the authority to impose some regulations for the purposes of conservation, subject to nation-to-nation consultations.

The announcement of charges against Thibault on Saturday is the latest action taken by RCMP in connection with the violent response to the Mi’kmaw moderate livelihood fishery in southwestern Nova Scotia.

A 31-year-old from Yarmouth County has been charged in connection with a vehicle being set on fire in New Edinburgh, while a 74-year-old was charged with two accounts of assault on Friday in connection with the vandalism of the facility.

Police have also arrested a man accused of assaulting Chief Michael Sack of the Sip’knekatik First Nation.

The facility that Marr took cover in on Oct. 14 in Middle West Pubnico was later destroyed by what police called a “suspicious” fire on Oct. 16.

The facility was unoccupied at the time of the fire.

RCMP say a man that suffered life-threatening injuries in the fire is considered a person of interest in the case.

The Mounties released photos and video that they say show persons of interest connected to the fire.

The footage that was released shows two men walking through the darkness along a gravel path beside what appears to be a large building flanked by refrigeration gear, crates and other equipment.

It’s not clear whether either person in the photo and video is the man who was injured in the blaze.

RCMP are looking for the public’s assistance in identifying the two men in the video. They have yet to provide an update on their investigation into the fire.

Sack is scheduled to appear in Digby provincial court on Feb. 15, 2021, at 9:30 a.m.

Police say their investigation is ongoing.

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