APTN National News
St. John’s East Liberal MP Nick Whalen has issued an apology for a tweet he wrote Sunday stating that Labradorians should “eat less fish” if they were concerned about mercury poisoning due to the flooding of the reservoir for the Muskrat Falls dam.
“I would like to apologize to the people of Labrador and all Canadians for the insensitive comments I made on social media and regret any offense I have caused,” Whalen said in the brief statement. “I am encouraged that the Premier will be visiting Happy Valley – Goose Bay and meeting with community leaders to try and make progress for the people of Labrador in the days ahead.
APTN reached out to Whalen Monday morning to explain the tweet but our calls were not returned.
There are concerns among Inuit and Innu people in Labrador that flooding of the reservoir for the over budget $11.4 billion Muskrat Falls hydroelectric project will cause the neuro-toxin methylmercury to be flushed from the vegetation and topsoil in the reservoir downstream and into fish and wildlife.
The comment on social media comes at a sensitive time when Innu and Inuit groups are waging a pitched battle against the planned flood.
As of this posting, 50 protectors of the land still occupy Nalcors offices at the Muskrat Falls construction site 30 kilometres west of Happy Valley-Goose Bay.
In Ottawa, Inuk artist Billy Gauthier is on day 11 of a water-only hunger strike. Joining him are Delilah Saunders, sister of Loretta Saunders who was murdered in 2014, and Jerry Kohlmeister. Both are consuming broth.
Meetings are scheduled between Innu and Inuit leadership and Premier Dwight Ball Tuesday in Goose Bay.