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The Globe and Mail

First Nation dismantles anti-fracking protest site at N.B. legislature

New Brunswick Premier David Alward, shown outside the provincial legislature in Fredericton, declined to visit a traditional First Nations longhouse that had been built in front of the legislature to protest against shale-gas exploration.

DAVID SMITH/The Globe and Mail

Members of the St. Mary's First Nation in Fredericton have dismantled a traditional longhouse and teepees that were erected near the New Brunswick legislature to protest shale gas exploration.

Thom Nash, one of the firekeepers at the site, says the band elders felt their message has resonated with the public.

The longhouse and two large teepees were set up next to the St. John River on Oct. 27 to express concerns for the environment if shale gas is developed.

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Last week, Premier David Alward said he had no plans to visit the longhouse because he didn't think anything could be achieved by meeting with Chief Candice Paul.

He said they had agreed to disagree on their positions on resource development.

Nash said he was disappointed with the Premier's position, calling it a slap in the face.

Opposition to shale gas exploration has been the subject of numerous protests in the province.

Last month, 40 people were arrested and six police cars burned during a protest near Rexton.

The government used its Throne Speech Tuesday to say it is pressing ahead with the development of a shale gas industry in an effort to create jobs and revenue.

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