Nova Scotia lands and forestry minister ducks meeting with hunger striker

Jesse Thomas / Global News

Jacob Fillmore stands in protest outside the Nova Scotia Legislature, just like he’s done for the past 17 days, but now he’s holding up a new sign that reads, “Give me my damn meeting.”

Fillmore says he was stood up by Chuck Porter, the minister of lands and forestry, who was supposed to meet with the peaceful protestor outside the Nova Scotia legislature on Wednesday morning.

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“I certainly feel betrayed. I feel lied to; it’s incredibly frustrating,” said Fillmore. “A meeting was really the least anyone was hoping for.”

Fillmore is on day 17 of his hunger strike, saying he’s lost nearly 10 pounds and is feeling lethargic, living on liquids infused by electrolytes. He says he’s feeling a little lethargic and let down by the province who left him standing outside.

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I’m feeling weaker and more light-headed every day,” said the 25-year-old. “But somebody has to do it. Somebody has to stand up.”

Fillmore is calling on the province to implement a moratorium and cease clearcutting on Crown lands and for the province to speed up the full implementation of all the recommendations in the Lahey report that was released in 2018 and calls for fundamental changes in how trees are harvested in Nova Scotia.

During a reporter scrum held on Wednesday afternoon, Porter told the media that he never agreed to meet with the hunger striker.

“There was never a scheduled meeting,” said Porter.  “At no point was there a meeting set or any statement made that I was going to meet with him or anybody else.”

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That contradicts a Facebook video captured Tuesday, that shows Fillmore sitting inside the Lands and Forestry office and speaking with deputy minister Paul LaFleche who tells Fillmore that Porter would meet him.

“So sometime in that area maybe 10:30 to 11:30, he’ll get out and he’ll come over and see you,” said LaFleche in the video.

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That meeting didn’t happen but Porter said he’ll be happy to meet with Fillmore the next time he is in Halifax.

“I would say there was a miscommunication somewhere,” said Porter.

Fillmore said he’s lost all faith in the government and the Department of Lands and Forestry.

“It’s incredibly frustrating that it’s been this difficult to even get a meeting and now to be blown off like this, it feels like they just don’t care at all,” said Fillmore.

Fillmore says he’ll continue with his hunger strike and continue to demand action around clearcutting from the province, but as for meeting minister Porter, he won’t hold his breath.

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