No violence, but barricades possible soon: Innu leader

Rob Antle
Send to a friend

Send this article to a friend.

Quebec chief says only peaceful actions planned

A Quebec Innu leader says Premier Danny Williams misinterpreted his recent comments about going to "war," stressing he was referring to political and legal action, not violence.
But Real McKenzie said Thursday Quebec Innu could begin setting up barricades at two Labrador mining projects near Schefferville as soon as next month.
"At the political level, if we do make barricades, we're not going to use rifles and this and that," said McKenzie, who is chief of the Matimekush-Lac-John Quebec Innu community.
"It's going to be really pacifist, diplomatic, and we're going to express our disagreement with what the new policy the Newfoundland government was imposing to the mining companies."
McKenzie said Quebec Innu did not get enough jobs and benefits from those mining projects, which instead flowed to Newfoundland and Labrador.
But barricading Labrador resource projects would put Quebec Innu on a possible collision course with the Williams administration.
Natural Resources Minister Kathy Dunderdale said the province has no problem with "legal protests" that expresses a point of view, but would have a "serious issue" if that spills over into what she calls civil unrest.
"If you're going to come in and create blockades or stop legitimate activities that are going on within the province, then it's not going to be tolerated," Dunderdale said.
The two sides have clashed in recent weeks after Quebec Innu killed 250 caribou in a closed Labrador zone, in part to protest being left out of talks on resource projects.
"If they're talking about escalating that activity into further civil unrest, then what we are saying very clearly back to them is we're not going to stand for it," Dunderdale said.
She could not say how the province would respond, noting that it would depend on the actions of Quebec Innu.
Earlier this week, McKenzie told Canwest News Service Quebec Innu could block the development of resource projects in Labrador unless their concerns are assuaged. "It's a war that is getting underway," McKenzie told Canwest. "We are ready to fight."
Comments like those sparked Williams to accuse Quebec Innu of "inciting violence."
Williams vowed "threats to economic development activity such as the Lower Churchill and mining projects will not be taken lightly by our government."
McKenzie stressed Thursday he was not talking about violence.

Want dialogue
He said Quebec Innu have been trying to engage in a dialogue with Newfoundland and Labrador for years on resource issues such as the potential Lower Churchill hydro project.
The Williams administration and Labrador Innu recently reached a land-claims deal - called New Dawn - which clears a major hurdle for the Lower Churchill.
The Quebec Innu say their constitutional aboriginal rights in Labrador are being denied.
McKenzie said they are "looking seriously" at court action to potentially block the Lower Churchill.
But Dunderdale said the government has a long-standing policy of not entering into negotiations with aboriginal groups outside the province while land claims remain pending within Newfoundland and Labrador.
She said the New Dawn deal does not extinguish any rights of Quebec Innu, but any such claims would be handled by Ottawa.

rantle@thetelegram.com

Organizations: Canwest, New Dawn

Geographic location: Quebec, Newfoundland and Labrador, Schefferville Ottawa

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5

Thanks for voting!

Top of page

Comments

Comments

Recent comments

  • Hezekiah
    July 02, 2010 - 13:35

    Eli from CBS, NL says, 'What's the difference between these hooligans and Quebec's refusal to wheel power through their province. That's a barricade too.'

    ANSWER: None. Both are dysfunctional, disgruntled, pompous, self-entitled groups who couldn't care less about Canadian Unity.

  • Eli
    July 02, 2010 - 13:32

    What's the difference between these hooligans and Quebec's refusal to wheel power through their province. That's a barricade too.

  • Nasty
    July 02, 2010 - 13:30

    Guess the unions will need to stop blocking access to job sites when on strike as well if that is the thinking you have Jean. I think that any denial of access to anyone is wrong either by the unions on strike or the native groups. This goes both ways and needs to be treated as such. I have a right to work no matter what disagreement either a union or group wants. Kinda puts a new spin on things when seen in this light.

  • Member of the 80%
    July 02, 2010 - 13:24

    I think Ms. Dunderdale makes a good point. Shouldn't Ottawa step in here and at least voice an opinion. These are Quebec Innu, not NL Innu. This is a situation that crosses provincial boundaries, and as such should be delt with by the Feds, shouldn't it? I know that the federal gov. belongs to Quebec, but I think here, at the very least they should step up to the plate, and either side with these people from Quebec, or with us.

  • confused
    July 02, 2010 - 13:22

    I am very confused why do Quebec Innu feel they have right to come to Labrador to protest for rights??

  • Tim
    July 02, 2010 - 13:15

    Be nice if we all thought that way Paul. Too bad many groups and provinces seem to think differently even today.

  • Paul
    July 02, 2010 - 13:14

    The whole race card of aboriginal agreements is coming back to haunt. Thanks PET and the Dept. of Multiracism. Should have been dealt with from the start by stating that there will be no land claims. The country is Canada, the province this or that one, and we are all here now. No special rights based on race. Doesn't matter when you arrived to a certain place or if you are called aboriginal or conqueror/settler or immigrant.

    Ottawa can't give NL resources and jobs to people from another province just because they complain and especially not because they are racists. If they form barricades, knock them down immediately, arrest whoever interferes, and keep doing it. One law, one race, the human one.

  • Todd
    July 02, 2010 - 13:13

    It's time for Canada and the provinces, including Newfoundland and Labrador, to take a stand.

    Some of these poeple are not law abiding citizens. Hopefully they are brought to justice for the illegal slaugher they just finished.

    If the Matimimekish and Quebec Innu want to be part of the project why don't they start investing money they receive from government every year, and receive some dividends or profit sharing, instead of looking for more handouts?

    They need to work together on finding solutions, don't just block a development and say give us money and jobs just because we are first nations.

    Innu should be treated the same as every other Canadian, no better, no worse. If you commit a crime you go to jail.

  • Sully
    July 02, 2010 - 13:11

    More idle threats ? Whatever Blunderdale, you have no credibility left, you or the William's Government. You still need to deal with charging every offender on that audacious, illegal, cross-border slaughter to save face. What kind of example are you setting ? All talk and no action. Your lips are flappin' but you are frozen in fear. This government is frozen in fear, and has no police force willing or capable to put their lives on the line like heroes they always thump their chests about. They ran with their tails between their legs with the thought of having to deal with more than one person at a time. Some heroes, more like zeros. Yup, we can really count on them to lose their guns, drive drunk, draw weapons on children, smash out cruiser windows, get charged with sexual assault, get charged with harassment, rob $14,000 from property lockers, but they can't stop helpless animals from being slaughtered. Got help us if there is a real emergency in NL, the skilled hunters will have to take charge, they can control government.

  • Jean
    July 02, 2010 - 13:11

    If this blockade goes ahead and it is not dealt with immediately, I will be very disappointed in our govt.. Breaking the law is breaking the law, I don't care who you think you are. Take off the kid gloves and deal with the situation. Our govt. has been coddeling the Innu way too long...they deserve this, they deserve that.. Well, I'd like to get what they get!
    If our province does not have enough officers to warrant safetly...bring in the army...NO VIOLENCE...just strength.

  • Hezekiah
    July 01, 2010 - 20:24

    Eli from CBS, NL says, 'What's the difference between these hooligans and Quebec's refusal to wheel power through their province. That's a barricade too.'

    ANSWER: None. Both are dysfunctional, disgruntled, pompous, self-entitled groups who couldn't care less about Canadian Unity.

  • Eli
    July 01, 2010 - 20:21

    What's the difference between these hooligans and Quebec's refusal to wheel power through their province. That's a barricade too.

  • Nasty
    July 01, 2010 - 20:18

    Guess the unions will need to stop blocking access to job sites when on strike as well if that is the thinking you have Jean. I think that any denial of access to anyone is wrong either by the unions on strike or the native groups. This goes both ways and needs to be treated as such. I have a right to work no matter what disagreement either a union or group wants. Kinda puts a new spin on things when seen in this light.

  • Member of the 80%
    July 01, 2010 - 20:10

    I think Ms. Dunderdale makes a good point. Shouldn't Ottawa step in here and at least voice an opinion. These are Quebec Innu, not NL Innu. This is a situation that crosses provincial boundaries, and as such should be delt with by the Feds, shouldn't it? I know that the federal gov. belongs to Quebec, but I think here, at the very least they should step up to the plate, and either side with these people from Quebec, or with us.

  • confused
    July 01, 2010 - 20:07

    I am very confused why do Quebec Innu feel they have right to come to Labrador to protest for rights??

  • Tim
    July 01, 2010 - 19:55

    Be nice if we all thought that way Paul. Too bad many groups and provinces seem to think differently even today.

  • Paul
    July 01, 2010 - 19:54

    The whole race card of aboriginal agreements is coming back to haunt. Thanks PET and the Dept. of Multiracism. Should have been dealt with from the start by stating that there will be no land claims. The country is Canada, the province this or that one, and we are all here now. No special rights based on race. Doesn't matter when you arrived to a certain place or if you are called aboriginal or conqueror/settler or immigrant.

    Ottawa can't give NL resources and jobs to people from another province just because they complain and especially not because they are racists. If they form barricades, knock them down immediately, arrest whoever interferes, and keep doing it. One law, one race, the human one.

  • Todd
    July 01, 2010 - 19:52

    It's time for Canada and the provinces, including Newfoundland and Labrador, to take a stand.

    Some of these poeple are not law abiding citizens. Hopefully they are brought to justice for the illegal slaugher they just finished.

    If the Matimimekish and Quebec Innu want to be part of the project why don't they start investing money they receive from government every year, and receive some dividends or profit sharing, instead of looking for more handouts?

    They need to work together on finding solutions, don't just block a development and say give us money and jobs just because we are first nations.

    Innu should be treated the same as every other Canadian, no better, no worse. If you commit a crime you go to jail.

  • Sully
    July 01, 2010 - 19:48

    More idle threats ? Whatever Blunderdale, you have no credibility left, you or the William's Government. You still need to deal with charging every offender on that audacious, illegal, cross-border slaughter to save face. What kind of example are you setting ? All talk and no action. Your lips are flappin' but you are frozen in fear. This government is frozen in fear, and has no police force willing or capable to put their lives on the line like heroes they always thump their chests about. They ran with their tails between their legs with the thought of having to deal with more than one person at a time. Some heroes, more like zeros. Yup, we can really count on them to lose their guns, drive drunk, draw weapons on children, smash out cruiser windows, get charged with sexual assault, get charged with harassment, rob $14,000 from property lockers, but they can't stop helpless animals from being slaughtered. Got help us if there is a real emergency in NL, the skilled hunters will have to take charge, they can control government.

  • Jean
    July 01, 2010 - 19:48

    If this blockade goes ahead and it is not dealt with immediately, I will be very disappointed in our govt.. Breaking the law is breaking the law, I don't care who you think you are. Take off the kid gloves and deal with the situation. Our govt. has been coddeling the Innu way too long...they deserve this, they deserve that.. Well, I'd like to get what they get!
    If our province does not have enough officers to warrant safetly...bring in the army...NO VIOLENCE...just strength.