Canadian elections: Muskrat Falls inuk protester Beatrice Hunter to seek centre-left NDP nomination for Labrador

Beatrice Hunter, seen here in her kitchen during an interview with CBC in 2018, says ‘hopefully I’ve shown that my heart is a Labrador heart.’ (Kenny Sharpe/CBC)
Beatrice Hunter, who was jailed for 10 days for refusing to promise to stay away from the Muskrat Falls construction site, has announced she will seek the NDP (centre-left) nomination for Labrador, in Atlantic Canada, in this fall’s federal election.

Hunter said she sees running for office as an option to continue peaceful and non-violent opposition to the megaproject.

“I was very naive in thinking that people would actually listen to me, or the judge would listen to me, and actually try and help to do something about the disastrous situation concerning Muskrat Falls,” the Inuk woman, 50, told CBC Radio’s On The Go.

Hunter and other activists protested during the construction of Muskrat Falls, which is nearing completion, over concerns that the flooding required for the project would increase methylmercury concentrations in the country food many Indigenous people in the area rely on and regularly eat.

Would run against Liberal incumbent

Hunter said she has released a platform online and that Muskrat Falls continues to be an important issue for her, but that it is not the only issue she wants to focus on during her campaign.

Beatrice Hunter celebrates in 2017 after being released from prison. She said at the time she was fighting ‘for the future of Labrador.’ (Katie Breen/CBC)

She pointed to the concerns about the lack of access to gasoline in Rigolet, in the Inuit region of Nunatsiavut, as another important issue, and said she is open to hearing about other concerns her potential constituents have.

“I don’t mean to limit myself just to Muskrat Falls,” she said.

“I want to be open to any Labradorian’s concerns.”

If she secures the NDP nomination for the riding, Hunter will run against Liberal incumbent Yvonne Jones. She acknowledged that she may not win the race, but said she does not want to put other politicians down in the process of campaigning.

“If it’s meant to be, it’s meant to be,” she said.

“Hopefully I’ve shown that my heart is a Labrador heart. I just hope people know that.”

With files from On The Go

Related stories from around the North:

Canada: Inuit leader in Atlantic Canada calls on premier to stop Muskrat Falls flooding, CBC News

Finland: Finland’s new gov breezes through no-confidence vote over its agenda, Yle News

Sweden: Swedish Centre Party promises tax break for rural northerners, Radio Sweden

United States: Democratic presidential candidates take to Twitter to weigh in on Alaska politics, Alaska Public Media

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