Saturday, November 19, 2011

A Play for Control of 30% of the Islands and Charge Users

   Thirty percent of the Archipelago is currently owned by the Quebec government. This area of land is essentially composed of land that unite the islands as one. 

   The mayor of the Îles-de-la-Madeleine municipality, Joël  Arseneau, indicated that it is mainly dunes and marshland. These lands are still owned by the Quebec government, but could be managed locally by the Islands MRC. 

   The MRC could then establish rules for hunting, fishing, ATV traffic, skateboarders, surfers and shellfish harvesters and cranberry pickers. 

   This management will be charged, but also becomes an income, according to the mayor of the Islands. "When you go, for example," explains Joël Arseneau, "to address the issue of the occupation by seasonal campers in dune areas, certainly we will have to get some income to ensure environmental and regulatory supervision of the territory. " 

   The mayor wants to even create a regional park " with certain rules so that users can enjoy the landscape, but ensuring it is protected. " 

   The project should be achieved by spring 2012.

Note:  This is a perfect example of the municipality of the Iles de la Madeleine grabbing for more money from overtaxed Islanders. 

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Save the Gulf of Saint Lawrence

Dear members of the St. Lawrence Coalition,
Dear partners,
Dear friends,

Environment minister, M. Peter Kent, has finally answered the numerous demands asking him to refer the Old Harry project to a review panel.
In a letter sent to the president of the Canada-Newfoundland-and-Labrador Offshore Petroleum Board (the Office) we learn that minister Kent refuses to set up a review panel. He prefers to opt for different measures such as the updating of a strategic environmental assessment (SEA) completed in 2007 in Newfoundland.
We invite you to read the main conclusions of our analysis of the situation in the press release we have released yesterday. We mainly condemn the incoherence of Minister Kent who asks for an update of the strategic environmental assessment on oil and gas exploration in Newfoundland’s part of the Gulf, but without first putting a stop on the Old
Harry drilling project.
In addition, the Office has agreed today with the minister’s proposals and it gives preliminary details on the implementation procedures. We invite you to read the Office’s press release.
We will keep you informed of our future actions to influence the course of things and we are confident we will be able to count on your precious help.

Danielle and all the team: Karel, Jean-Patrick, Christian, Sylvain, Jérôme and Patrick

Danielle Giroux
St. Lawrence Coalition
Attention FragÎles
Do you know of groups or individuals that could possibly support the St. Lawrence Coalition? Talk about us! We need as much support as possible.
To join the Coalition, please fill the form.

Monday, June 20, 2011

For a Moratorium of Oil and Gas in the Gulf of Saint Lawrence

Old Harry Project:

The Federal Environment Minister must consider the recommendation of the Offshore Petroleum Board of Newfoundland and refer the project to a review panel Magdalen Islands, 14 June 2011 – The St. Lawrence Coalition welcomes the recommendation of the Canada-Newfoundland and Labrador Offshore Petroleum Board (the Board) to the Federal Minister of the Environment, Peter Kent, requesting that the proposed Old Harry project be referred to a federal review panel. Minister Kent must be attentive to the many concerns expressed by the public and must implement, without delay, a review panel.

The St. Lawrence Coalition will file its application today for a review panel to the Federal Minister of the Environment. The Coalition states that all coastal communities must be consulted in this project and that the scope of the assessment should be extended to the entire Gulf. A review panel would allow a better understanding of the implications that this new industry might have across the Gulf of St. Lawrence and the five coastal provinces.

At the interprovincial forum on oil and gas that was held in the Magdalen Islands on April 8th and 9th, representatives of coastal communities, municipal managers, representatives of fishermen, sea farmers, as well as tourism and environmental associations, called for a federal review panel on the exploratory drilling project filed by Corridor Resources Inc. with regards to the Old Harry prospect. Since then, many groups have officially filed an application review panel, including the urban agglomeration council of the Magdalen Islands and the Quebec Federation of Municipalities. 

“A federal review panel must be ordered by the Environment Minister if the project is likely to cause significant adverse environmental effects or if public concerns warrant it” says Danielle Giroux, spokesperson for the St. Lawrence Coalition. “In the case of the proposed project by Corridor Resources Inc. we know that the environmental impacts of exploratory drilling may be very important and that many groups around the Gulf are clearly showing their concerns, want to be consulted, and are asking for a moratorium for the entire Gulf” continued Ms. Giroux. She also stresses that a record number of 52 submissions were sent to the Office following the initiative of coastal communities concerned about this project.

The St. Lawrence Coalition highlights the fact that the Gulf is a unique and extremely fragile ecosystem. Some aspects, such as environmental impacts can only be addressed with a global vision beyond the administrative and political boundaries that are drawn artificially.

“We ask the premiers of Quebec, PEI, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Newfoundland and Labrador to officially ask that the proposed exploratory drilling project of Old Harry be subjected to a federal review panel for the benefit of all”, explains Christian Simard, Director General of Nature Québec. “In Quebec, we expect the Charest government to be consistent and that it demands a prompt review panel, as it is not only in the interests of Quebec, but it is also in line with the motion adopted at the National Assembly” added Mr. Simard. The motion that passed unanimously in October 2010 required that the Canadian Government and that of Newfoundland, as well as the Office, wait for the results of the Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA-2) currently performed by the Quebec government before issuing any drilling permit at the Old Harry site, and to suspend the current authorizations.

The Coalition calls on all communities of the five provinces bordering the Gulf to also demand a review panel to the federal Minister of the Environment.

Corridor Resources Inc. is currently conducting an impact study for the Old Harry project and plans to carry out a first exploratory drilling in 2012.

The St. Lawrence Coalition includes 60 organizations and associations from various economic sectors and over 2400 individuals. Members of the Coalition are calling for a moratorium on exploration and exploitation of oil and gas across the Gulf of St. Lawrence.

Sources :
Danielle Giroux
Spokesperson for the St. Lawrence Coalition (french interviews)
President, Attention FragÎles
418-986-6644 /

Manon Dubois, Communications specialist
David Fondation Suzuki
514-583-8455 /

Christian Simard, Director general
Nature Québec
418-648-2104 x2071 /

Sylvain Archambault, Protected areas and land use coordinator
CPAWS Québec chapter
418-686-1854 /

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Sunday's Semi Truck Wreck

During the wee hours on Sunday, June 5th, 2011, the driver hauling a load of lobster lost control of his eighteen wheel semi-tractor truck and overturned it on the main road in LaVerniere, Magdalen Islands. He was not hurt in the accident but some of the lobster were destroyed.

The truck was hauling its load to the ferry in Grindstone for the return voyage to Prince Edward Island. The particulars of the accident are still unknown as the local police force, Surete du Quebec are still investigating. 

More information to come....
Photo was taken by Diane Hebert and is from a collection in her album on FaceBook.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Islands Radio, CFIM Holds 30th Annual Radiothon

Serge Rochon, Aunt Emma (Odette Leblanc) and Charles-Eugène Cyr.

After serving the people of the Magdalen Islands-Iles de la Madeleine, CFIM held its 30th annual radiothon festivities. 

Three thousand, eight hundred and twelve (3812) Islanders renewed their membership card for the radio station, during the Radiothon. This record appears to be two percent more than in 2010.

Chairman of Islands Community Broadcasting, Serge Rochon, declared himself very satisfied with the Islands Community Radio since it has eclipsed its own record of 3700 registered members in 2009.

Source: CFIM
Photo: Luc Miousse

Sunday, May 22, 2011

A Sea of Death and Destruction

"Come Follow Me" Jesus said, "An I Will Make You Fishers Of Men."

The fishing seas has been a hard one for the traditional tradesmen of the Magdalen Islands. The season's first catch was on May 9th, 2011, a week later than anywhere else on the east coast of Canada. The Magdalen Islands fishermen missed the valuable Mother's Day Weekend, which undoubtedly made a huge dent in their seasonal sales.

The lobster count is down overall from last year. The price per pound at the wharf is poor particularly since the other provinces had time to saturate the market before Magdalen Islands lobster arrived. It didn't help that Newfoundland sold over a million pounds of lobster at $3,65/pound last week and drove the price even lower. And then there is the wind.....

It hasn't stopped blowing 30 to 40 kilometers/hour and occasionally above from the northeast since the season began. The experienced fishermen are suffering from aches and pains in their legs and backs as the boats are hitting down hard on the sea after each choppy wave. Yesterday was no exception....

We lost a fisherman yesterday in Etang-du-Nord. Donald Bourgeois fell overboard and drown. They recovered his body because he floated to the surface immediately (perhaps he had the regulatory life jacket on) and an autopsy will be done to determine if the fall was related to an unknown medical condition or if it was purely accidental. The islanders sympathies go out to his family and friends.

We also lost a fishing boat yesterday. The waves were sufficiently high or strong to capsize the boat with a crew of three fishermen. The men were saved by the crew of a near-by fishing vessel, but it gives a strong idea of just how bad the conditions on the sea are just now. It is not so bad to keep the boats in the harbours but it is bad enough to make it dangerous on the sea or at the very least very uncomfortable.

Rest in Peace Donald Bourgeois!

This is a repeat of  the Magdalen Islands Online article Fishing 2011 aux Iles de la Madeleine

Friday, May 6, 2011

Dr David Suzuki's Declaration To Help Protect The Gulf of Saint Lawrence

Gulf of Saint Lawrence Flag
World famous Canadian environmentalist, Dr. David Suzuki arrived on the Magdalen Islands on Friday, April 29th, 2011, to help with the struggle to protect the Gulf of Saint Lawrence from the oil drilling prospects. On Saturday, there was a ceremony held at Old Harry beach and the declaration was presented along with a flag for the Gulf. 

Accompanying Dr Suzuki was Georges Stroumboulopoulos of CBC's "The Hour" television show, Karel Mayrand, Executive Director of the David Suzuki Foundation in Quebec and Danielle Giroux of the islands Attention FragÎles. There were also about 40 to 50 islanders who are interested in keeping the oil cartels out of the Gulf and plenty of local children who joined them for a flag-raising ceremony for the protection of the Gulf of St. Lawrence against potential oil and gas spills.

During the ceremony, Dr. Suzuki revealed a flag on a sea-blue background with a bright orange starfish at its centre, representing the Gulf's many resources and the five provinces bordering it. Dr. Suzuki also initiated a vibrant call to action to protect the Gulf of St. Lawrence and its ecosystem and communities by reading a statement titled "The Declaration of the Defenders of the Saint-Lawrence."

"A very strong current passed between Dr. Suzuki and the people of the Islands. His visit and his support provided a wave of hope to the people in the community, who must continue to mobilize our neighbours in the Atlantic Provinces to protect the Gulf of St. Lawrence and its precious and renewable resources," commented Danielle Giroux, President of Attention FragÏles and spokesperson for the St. Lawrence Coalition.

"The Gulf of St. Lawrence is one of the planet's most precious and unique ecosystems," declared Dr. Suzuki. "Nature cannot be forced to conform to human borders and economy. Instead, we must maintain its health and subordinate our interests to the gulf."

In order to educate the public about the interdependence between citizens and the St. Lawrence River, the David Suzuki Foundation launched a new campaign last month, "The St. Lawrence: Our Living River". The campaign will offer individuals the opportunity to reconnect with the St. Lawrence River and Gulf by taking one or several of eight "David Suzuki Blue Actions" or by participating to an activity in their community on June 10th, the first-ever St. Lawrence Action Day.

Dr. Suzuki and Georges Stroumboulopoulos were at the Magdalen Islands to film a special online segment that will be posted on the CBC's website in late May or early June. The main objective of the web segment is to raise Canadians' awareness of the Gulf's importance and the risks associated with oil and gas drilling.

To view a web segment of the flag-raising ceremony and to watch Dr. Suzuki read the Declaration of the Defenders of the St. Lawrence Gulf, visit:
To send a letter to tell the government to protect the Gulf, visit:

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Local Environmental Group Takes Action Against Gulf Drilling

A letter came in the inbox from the Saint Lawrence Coalition, an environmental group set up to protect the Gulf of Saint Lawrence from the reckless drilling of oil. An oil spill such as that in the Gulf of Mexico one year ago has brought many concerns to islanders and the population of at least four other provinces. This is the letter in whole. There will be more information coming in the next few days and weeks. You can support the moratorium at

Dear St. Lawrence Coalition members,

Our next actions will be crucial in determining the future. To guarantee the success of these actions, we need your help.

Urgent action of the Coalition:

Participate in the consultation on the draft Scoping Document of the Offshore Board that will define the requirements of an environmental assessment of the Corridor Resources Inc. drilling project.

Background: Last February 22, Corridor Resources Inc. filed a proposal with the Canada-Newfoundland and Labrador Offshore Petroleum Board for exploratory drilling at the site of Old Harry, offshore Newfoundland and Labrador. This project could be realized as early as 2012. However, since 2005, all exploratory drilling projects are submitted only to a screening, a form of environmental assessment that does not involve a public hearing or broader consultation with the public. Moreover, this review was overseen by the Petroleum Board. Recall that the Board was severely criticized in the recent Wells Report that noted the conflict of interest inherent in the Board’s structure and emphasized that the safety of the workers and the environment is not adequately ensured. Note also that it was exploratory drilling that led to the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

Consultation with the Board: Following the tabling of this drilling proposal, the Petroleum Board has produced a draft Scoping Document, the objective of which is to specify the requirements of the impact study that Corridor Resources must realize before obtaining its permit. The Board is now inviting the public to provide comments on the Scoping Document by March 28, 2011.
Note that this is a preliminary step leading up to the impact study; we do not comment on the impact study at this stage.

Position paper: While we fundamentally challenge the legitimacy of the Petroleum Board to regulate in a safe manner this industry, we have decided to participate in this consultation to officially express our concerns, as provided by law. Indeed, the number and significance of public concerns tabled in this process could lead the authorities (the Board and/or the Federal Ministry of Environment) to make the environmental assessment process more stringent and to put it under the authority of an environmental commission as provided in Article 20 of the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act: a commission may be established if public concerns warrant. For this reason, we also invite you to participate in great numbers in this consultation.

Our position paper clearly challenges the legitimacy of the Board, proposes that the spatial and temporal scope of the environmental assessment be increased and requests that it be conducted by an independent environmental commission as explained above.

What you can do: We will send you our position paper* so that you can provide comment. Please return your comments to us no later than Friday, March 25 at 17h.

You can also submit your own position paper (in French or English) to be received at the Board no later than March 28. It may be a simple letter that summarizes your concerns.

The St. Lawrence Coalition’s position paper may stimulate your thoughts and provide a basis for your comments to the Board.

We will also send a position paper produced by Marianne Papillon (in French). The initiative of this citizen may inspire you. Ms. Papillon has agreed to allow her text to be reproduced in part or in whole.
We believe that significant, interprovincial participation in this consultation will adequately communicate the concerns of the population associated with this project and offers a good chance of bringing about the formation of a commission.

Future action:

Engage representatives of the federal and provincial governments to communicate our concerns about the need for a commission and a review of the structure of the Petroleum Board.

Soon, we will prepare a form letter expressing our concerns about the need for an environmental commission and an in depth review of the structure of the Board. You will be asked to send this letter to several key leaders, whose contact information we will provide.

Then we will invite you to personalize this letter as you wish; you can reproduce it in whole or in part, and send it to representatives of the governments concerned.

We hope that we can count on you at this important time.

Danielle and the entire team: Karel, Jean-Patrick, Christian, Sylvain, Jérôme and Patrick
Danielle Giroux
Saint Lawrence Coalition

Friday, January 21, 2011

Erosion Is Becoming An Extreme Concern on the Islands

As the 2011 Seal Hunt Approaches Protests Escalates

Léonce Arseneau

A complaint has been filed with the Quebec Police Force, Sûreté du Québec Îles-de-la-Madeleine, by certain members of the Madelinot Community. The problem has arrived with the FaceBook Group Page called “La Chasse aux phoques, stop aux mensonges”, (The seal hunt, stop the lies). The complaint alleges that anti-seal hunt activists have made online threats to kill them and their families.

The justified evidence that is now in the hands of the investigators are emails sent to the administrators of the Group Page and messages posted to discussion boards and social networking websites.

Everything is in the hands of investigators from Quebec provincial police," said island resident Léonce Arsenault, who has founded a pro-seal hunt page on Facebook.

Mr. Arseneau had said that some of the alleged threats called for the seal hunters to be slaughtered.

"Some dead sealers? I want to see it again and again and again," read one post from an anonymous writer. The poster welcomed the death of four Quebec sealers who died during a botched coast guard towing operation in 2008.

"Lots of sealers blood everywhere, everywhere, everywhere," the post said.

The Magdalen Islander has also provided police with comments posted on Facebook.

"Quick ... we're organizing a massacre of seal killers. Who wants to participate?" said one post.

"Their family members should be killed in the same (way) while they watch," another activist wrote in a forum.
Arsenault said the violent postings constitute propaganda that could influence people to act. "They're trying to demonize a group, in this case seal hunters and islanders," said Arsenault. "They're inciting violence. This is serious."

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Distinguishing Magdalen Islands Lobster

Over the past two years, the prices of seafood has pretty much hit the bottom of the barrel. The price of lobster plummeted from approximately $6.50CDN to $2.50CDN at the wharf. The industry is suffering and the fishermen even more. This makes the price of lobster far less than the price of beef or pork or even process meat substitutes. Lobster is still considered a luxury food.

On the islands, a renewable resource strategy was put in place in the late nineties and has been working well in spite of the lower prices giving the islands an excellent name for high quality, large lobster full of sweet meat. However, although islands lobster are well known through eastern Quebec, it is relatively unknown throughout the world as Islands lobster gets mixed into the fray.

What is relatively unknown to the world is that the lobster in the Gulf of Saint Lawrence is living in an environment that is fed great quantities of cold, fresh water coming down the Saint Lawrence Seaway. This water is mixing with the salt water from the Atlantic giving the density of salt around 50% normally found in lobster waters. This gives Magdalen Islands lobster more of the sweet/salt taste that is generally preferred.

The Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (MAPAQ – Ministère de l'Agriculture, des Pêcheries et de l'Alimentation du Québec) has decided to prepare a marketing strategy to help processors of seafood markets in Quebec and the United States.

The organization, Transformation Alimentaire Québec (TRANSAQ) MAPAQ is leading this important project for the sustainable future of fisheries. With declining prices for seafood, the Associate Deputy Minister and Director General of TRANSAQ, Dominique Fortin, just completed a tour of eastern Quebec.
According to her, two things that must be done are unanimous in the industry:
1.     Strengthen marketing in companies of fisheries and aquaculture;
2.     Increase awareness of marine products from Quebec.

The department plans include improving the tools available within MAPAQ. It also plans to organize meetings between the heads of major grocery chains in Quebec and industry. Through various means, MAPAQ will present more marketing of seafood products from Quebec.  

"Everyone is in agreement with the fact that among seafood transformation companies, we must strengthen the marketing function," she said.

Magdalen Islands Lobster

Cape Dauphin Fishermen's COOP in
Grosse Isle
The Fishermen's Association’s of the Magdalen Islands also has the MAPAQ support in their efforts to have an eco-certification and traceability of the islands lobster.

According to the deputy minister, the law on naming rights of the origin of food would distinguish Islands lobster from lobster of Eastern Canada and the world.

"The islands lobster is recognized within Quebec as Quebeckers want. Outside Quebec, there may be other people who want it too. We must distinguish it from other lobster," she says.

Negotiations are under way to adopt a new name for next season.