ABORIGINAL JUSTICE ACTION ALERT: Urge government, loggers to honor agreement

CPTnet
17 July, 2012
ABORIGINAL JUSTICE ACTION ALERT: Urge government, loggers to honor agreement

With tension escalating in the two-week standoff between the Algonquin community of Barriere Lake, Quebec, and Resolute Forest Products, The community is seeking outside support to pressure the government and forestry companies to honour an agreement with the traditional landholders.

Algonquin families have camped alongside the road in Poigan Lake, QC, where logging has been destroying the community’s sacred sites and moose habitat, and have succeeded in periodically stopping the cutting. A large contingent of Quebec police, including a riot squad from Montreal, have escorted the loggers and threatened to arrest community members. CPT has been accompanying the community since 8 July.

Quebec officials licensed the Montreal-based multinational’s operations without the Algonquin community’s consent or consultation, and in violation of the Trilateral Agreement the Quebec and Canadian federal governments signed with Barriere Lake in 1991. The landmark sustainable development agreement praised by the United Nations is designed to allow logging to continue while protecting the Algonquins’ way of life and giving them a $1.5 million share of the territory’s annual $100 million resource revenue.

The community invites participation in a sign-on letter on the Barrier Lake Solidarity web site addressed to Resolute’s CEO, Ministry of Natural Resources officials and the Forest Stewardship Council of Canada (of which Resolute is a member). Signers from outside Canada may leave the province blank empty.

“I was not properly consulted nor did I provide consent to this logging within our territory,” said Algonquin elder Gabriel Wawatie, whose family territory is being clear-cut, in a letter last week to Quebec Premier Jean Charest and the Quebec Ministry of Natural Resources. He has received no response from the Liberal government.

“The Charest government has acted in bad faith, giving this company the go-ahead to log while they ignore their signed agreements with our community,” said community spokesperson Norman Matchewan. “It has left us with no choice but to try to stop forestry operations. We have been waiting twenty years for the Quebec government to honour their agreements.”

A casserole demonstration* in support of the Algonquins of Barriere Lake has been called for Wednesday, 18 July at 11:30 a.m. at Resolute headquarters in Montreal.


More information: http://www.barrierelakesolidarity.org/
Ongoing coverage: www.ipsmo.org
Sign-on letter: http://www.barrierelakesolidarity.org/2007/10/blog-post.html

*Casserole demonstrations, in which demonstrators gather and bang on pots and pans – “casseroles” in French – have become common in Quebec’s student movement this year.