Nova Scotia RCMP Say Man Faces Assault Charges in Violent Clash at Lobster Pound

Nova Scotia RCMP Say Man Faces Assault Charges in Violent Clash at Lobster Pound
Sipekne'katik First Nation boats are seen in Saulnierville, N.S., on Sept. 20, 2020. (The Canadian Press/Mark O'Neill)
The Canadian Press

NEW EDINBURGH, N.S.—Police say a 74−year−old man faces charges in connection with a violent clash last month at a lobster pound in southwestern Nova Scotia.

The RCMP says Yvon Thibault, of Digby County, faces two counts of assault stemming from an incident in New Edinburgh, N.S., on Oct. 14.

A pound that stored indigenous−caught lobster was ransacked as part of two clashes that police have said involved roughly 200 people at wharves in New Edinburgh and in Middle West Pubnico, N.S.

Thibault is scheduled to appear in court in Digby, N.S., on Feb. 15.

Another man was arrested last month for allegedly assaulting Sipekne’katik Chief Mike Sack, also on Oct. 14., but RCMP Sgt. Andrew Joyce says there were two other assault victims that day and Thibault is not accused of assaulting Sack.

The Mounties say their investigation is continuing.

“The Nova Scotia RCMP will continue to take steps to ensure that those who unlawfully interfere with or threaten the safety of any person or property may be held accountable in accordance with the laws of Canada,” the force said in a news release issued Saturday.

Police also asked anyone with information about the incident at the lobster pound to contact the Meteghan, N.S., detachment of the RCMP.

Tensions were high at the time of the incidents between First Nations fishers and non−indigenous commercial fishermen opposed to an indigenous moderate livelihood lobster fishery outside the federally regulated commercial season in St. Marys Bay.

Indigenous fishers have justified their fall harvests on a 1999 Supreme Court of Canada decision that affirmed the Mi’kmaq treaty right to fish for a “moderate livelihood’’ when and where they want.

The top court later clarified that decision, however, saying the federal government could regulate the Mi’kmaq treaty right for conservation and other limited purposes.