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First Nations traffic slowdown announced for Highway 17 near Blind River

Traffic slowdown on Trans-Canada highway in support of Mi'kmaq fishing rights
OPP vehicle
(Supplied)

Two Northern Ontario First Nations have announced a traffic slowdown is to take place on part of the Trans-Canada Highway Wednesday morning as a show of support for the Mi'kmaq Indigenous fishing rights in Nova Scotia.

A news release from Ontario Provincial Police at Blind River said the peaceful protest will involve members of the Serpent River First Nation and Mississauga First Nation communities staging a "moving slowdown" on Highway 17 that is to begin at 10 a.m. 

The OPP statement said the traffic slowdown will begin at the junction of Highway 17 and Pronto Road where there will be a short ceremony involving the individual chiefs of those First Nations. 

Members of the OPP and Mississauga First Nation (MFN) police will be assisting with traffic safety, said the release.

Motorists travelling along Highway 17 are being advised to possibly expect delays and are encouraged to exercise patience and safe driving habits, said the police. There are no traffic re-routes around this area. 

The Mi’kmaq First Nation in southwestern Nova Scotia has been exercising Indigenous lobster fishing rights as approved by the Supreme Court of Canada. Their actions have angered non-Indigenous commercial lobster fishers who claim the Mi’kmaq are overfishing and threatening their industry.  Several violent confrontations have occurred.  

The motoring public along Highway 17 is asked to refrain from contacting the OPP Communications Centre for road closure Information. 

Road Closure Information can be obtained by contacting the Ministry of Transportation at 1-800-268-4686.