Concerned about methylmercury at Muskrat Falls? ‘Eat less fish’ says Newfoundland Liberal

Newfoundland Liberal MP says Inuit and Innu should eat less fish in wake of Muskrat Falls flooding.

APTN National News 
With people on hunger strikes and many more protesting the expected flooding of the Muskrat Falls reservoir in Labrador over concerns of toxic levels of methylmercury, a Liberal MP for St. John’s East says he has a solution to calm everyone’s fears.

MP Nick Whalen said when flooding occurs and methylmercury (MeHg) levels rise with the water people should stop fishing.

Whalen made that statement on Twitter responding to NDP Leader Earle McCurdy’s comments to media that the government needs to make it mandatory to clear vegetation and soil from the hydroelectric project.

“That is ridiculous. Just measure MeHg levels, eat less fish while MeHg are too high, and compensate,” he tweeted on Sunday.

APTN called Whalen’s Ottawa office for comment but a spokesperson said he wasn’t immediately available and hoped to return the call later Monday.

But Whalen’s tweet, and subsequent comments made on Twitter were already making the rounds.

Timmins-James Bay NDP MP Charlie Angus accused Whalen of mocking Indigenous people who have strongly opposed the project and future concerns over poisoning.

“Liberal @nickwhelanmp mocks indigenous people facing mercury contamination #muskratfalls. Tells them to eat less fish. Nation2nation???,” he tweeted Sunday.

The tweet also started a long conversation on Twitter about treaty rights and Aborginal rights.

Clint Davis, vice-president of TD Bank’s Aboriginal business group,  wrote; “How do u compensate for loss of Aboriginal right to fish?”

The planned flooding has spurred the #MakeMuskratRight movement.

Innu and Inuit leaders occupy the offices of Nalcor, the Crown corporation spearheading the Muskrat Falls project 30 kilometres west of Happy Valley Goose Bay.

Billy Gauthier, an Inuk artist is in his second week of a water-only hunger strike along with two others who are consuming only broth.

At a rally attended by about 100 people on Sunday in Ottawa, all three said they were willing to die to ensure that the Muskrat Falls project does not harm their ability to live off the land now and in the future.

On Friday, protesters ignored court ordered injunction of blocking the gates to the Muskrat Falls construction site and formed a blockade around it.

Supporters of the project believe the lower Churchill River near Happy Valley-Goose Bay in Labrador would free the province from volatile, oil-fired energy costs.

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