first_img(New Brunswick Premier David Alward speaks to reporters Sunday following meeting with Elsipogtog Chief Arren Sock. Photo: Andrea Schmidt special to APTN)APTN National News MONCTON–Elsipogtog Chief, NB Premier keep talks going as blockade continuesA round of high-level talks between New Brunswick Premier David Alward and Elsipogtog Chief Arren Sock have begun with the aim of ending a more than week-long anti-fracking blockade on a highway in the northern part of the province.Alward and Sock both emerged from the three hour meeting saying that talks would continue Monday. The premier and chief, however, addressed reporters separately, indicating both sides are still far apart.“What I am pleased about today is we were at the table,” said Alward. “That discussion will continue…we see the importance of developing our province and our economy for the long term and that is the work we have started to bring forward.”The crux of the dispute centres around the operations of a company called SWN Resources Canada that is exploring for shale gas. Elsipogtog residents, along with people from surrounding communities, want to stop the exploration because it would likely lead to fracking which they believe threatens the environment.“We want the company out of our province and the province wants to do business with the company,” said Sock. “I am still hopeful and the premier has been very receptive to our issues…we might be able to get some sort of compromise.”The meeting Monday is expected to be held in Fredericton.Controversy erupted mid-meeting after the Mi’kmaq Warrior Society issued a statement saying they had been cut out of a promised place at the discussion table. The warriors said anyone representing the warrior society at the meeting did not have the group’s authorization.Elsipogtog War Chief John Levi attended the meeting.A band official said the matter was internal and would be sorted out. There was also talk by some at the blockade that the chief should walk away from the negotiating table.APTN National News has learned that Alward’s office refused to meet with any delegates from the warrior society who hail from outside of Kent County, which is the region covering Elsipogtog First Nation and the anti-fracking blockade.Sunday’s meeting comes days after a New Brunswick judge handed down an injunction against an ongoing blockade on Route 135, in Rexton, NB, which sits about 80 kilometres north of Moncton and about 15 kilometres northeast of Elsipogtog First Nation.RCMP vehicles have sealed off the blockade on both sides. The site sits next to a compound holding several exploration vehicles belonging to SWN.The injunction had not been served at the blockade as of this article’s [email protected]last_img