Justice Minister Mark Furey. Photo: Jennifer Henderson

This afternoon, reporter Jennifer Henderson was part of a post-cabinet meeting scrum involving Justice Minister Mark Furey. Henderson relates that Furey was asked about the video of events at a public meeting hosted by Atlantic Gold. The video, which was published by the Halifax Examiner, shows showing an RCMP officer throwing meeting participant John Perkins to the ground and arresting Perkins. The RCMP officer was apparently acting at the request of Atlantic Gold security guard Terry Mosher.

Furey was asked about the video, and then followed this exchange:

Furey: Certainly I have no problem reviewing the video, I didn’t know there was one that existed, but I can’t speak to the actions of the police at the scene. Police make those decisions based on the information they have. For me, to speculate on what they may have or didn’t have and then to intervene, would be inappropriate as Justice minister. There is a public complaints process available to the victim who was arrested and detained. That individual has the opportunity to engage the RCMP in discussion or he can make a complaint to the Police Complaints Commission.

Reporter: You are responsible for public safety. Shouldn’t people feel when they go to a public meeting that they don’t risk having a security guard call 911 and have the RCMP throw them out if the guard believes they are being disrespectful? This individual was just sitting there.

Furey:  That’s a valid point but as Justice Minister, I can’t intervene and it would be inappropriate for me to intervene not knowing the circumstances.

According to a news release issued by the RCMP last Friday,  it appears someone employed by the mining company called “911”  around 5pm to ask for assistance at a public meeting due to “several persons causing a disturbance.” Many people who were in the room at the time, including Ecology Action Centre wilderness coordinator Raymond Plourde, have said that information is incorrect, that there was no disturbance. The exchange at today’s scrum continued:

Reporter: Who is responsible for administering the Emergency 911 Act? It says if you make a false or vexatious call you can be fined.

Fuey: So that’s a totally separate issue. We hear of insignificant calls going through the system when it is supposed to be used only for Emergencies.

Reporter: You have the authority under the Police Act to investigate any police matter. What is preventing you from investigating this one?

Furey: There’s a public complaints process as well as the presence of the Serious Incident Response Team. So there must be a complaint made and I would encourage that person to do so.

Tim Bousquet is the editor and publisher of the Halifax Examiner. Twitter @Tim_Bousquet Mastodon

Jennifer Henderson is a freelance journalist and retired CBC News reporter.

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  1. I would like to say that in my previous post,I thanksed Jennifer Henderson for her coverage.. of this incident…I meant to say JOANNE BAXTER, and her excellent (as usual) coverage of this issue, she has done …Great work around the pulp and paper industry and forestry ,and I hope she continues to cover this Atlantic Gold? RCMP fiasco..The HAlifax Examiner has great reporters…Thankyou.

  2. Minister Feury’s decision not to investigate what happened at the meeting and the actions of RCMP in this matter is worrysome., but no suprise..This govt has a long history of siding with the wealthy,the large corporations over the rights of ordinary citizens.
    Are we turning back the clock to the bad old days of mining thugs running the provinces mineral resourse sector like back in the 1900s at Cape Breton with the coal mines..
    Remember this when the next election rolls around …I hope that Mr Perkins is able to lodge his complaint,and has the resourses to persue legal remedy..If a GO FUND ME campaign,id donate to help his legal costs..and hopefully this would bring out some light as to how/why the RCMP was called and by whom.Citizens/landowner rights are starting to be trampled on in this case…I also would like to thank Jennifer Henderson etc for the coverage so far in this fiasco Keep it up…the Halifax Examiner is the ONLY true voice in this matter……Well done

  3. “That individual has the opportunity to engage the RCMP in discussion,” said Furey.

    Clearly he did not have that opportunity when it mattered; there was only a one-sided and heavy-handed response.

  4. What is happening to Nova Scotia ?? It has become an island of corporate thugs and robbers:
    the gold industry, the fishing industry, the lobster industry, the forestry industry, the developers responsible for badly sited and badly thought-out construction, it goes on and on. Don’t these people have any care for society at large, or their children or grandchildren ?

  5. It’s completely nonsensical that the police would have to wait for a complaint before pursuing a fine for making a false or vexatious 911 call. What Furey is saying here is what we all know: the rules don’t apply to wealthy capitalists.

    1. Nonsense. Furey is giving sound advice.
      I expect Mr Perkins to step forward and do his civic duty by lodging a formal complaint regarding the actions of the RCMP officer.