Electricity sales | Six Indigenous Nations unite against Hydro-Quebec

Electricity sales | Six Indigenous Nations unite against Hydro-Quebec
Electricity sales | Six Indigenous Nations unite against Hydro-Quebec

(LAC-SIMON) Six aboriginal nations of Quebec and Labrador have decided to form a united front against Hydro-Quebec, to block a project to sell electricity from the Crown Corporation to New England.

Posted on December 4, 2020 at 3:11 p.m.

Michel Ducas, Local Journalism Initiative
The Canadian Press

The nations of Quebec and that of Labrador sent separate briefs to the Regie de l’énergie du Canada in an attempt to thwart the Hydro-Quebec project, claiming that they were not consulted before embarking on this project. project.

Transportation corridor to the United States

Innu from Pessamit (Côte-Nord), Atikamekw from Wemotaci (Haute-Mauricie), and Anishinabeg from Lac-Simon, Pikogan and Kitcisakik (Abitibi), joined their voices to that of the Innu Nation of Labrador for their s’ oppose the construction of an electricity transmission corridor to the United States.

“We will continue to put pressure to be heard,” said the spokesperson for the Anishinabe community of Lac-Simon, Lucien Wabanonik. Today, Hydro-Quebec wants to export electricity to the United States, but unlike Ontario, which fulfills its constitutional obligations, Quebec shows no desire to compensate our communities for the flooding and destruction. of our traditional territories. ”

According to Mr. Wabanonik, Hydro-Quebec uses 36% of the communities’ territory to erect its dams and other infrastructure.

This is particularly the case of the Dozois reservoir, located in the middle of the village of Kitcisakik, in the Réserve faunique La Vérendrye, where, ironically, residents have had no electricity or running water for years.

On the Wemotaci side, Chief François Neashit denounces the fact that with its many dams, Hydro-Quebec prevents its community from feeding itself.

Our grandparents used to eat fish caught in the Saint-Maurice River, but now that is no longer possible, he says. Large parts of our territory are destroyed and the worst part is that all this was done without anyone deigning to consult us.

Chef François Neashit

Representatives of the six nations believe that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has a great opportunity to demonstrate that his bill relating to the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples is serious.

“If Prime Minister Trudeau is serious about this commitment, it could force Hydro-Quebec to put its export project to the United States on hold, as long as compensation for the sacking of our ancestral lands does not exist. will not have been negotiated with our First Nations, ”says the Deputy Grand Chief of the Innu Nation, Mary Ann Nui.

Brief submitted to the US Congress

The natives also submitted their brief to members of the US Congress, to sensitize them to their cause. But the election of November 3 is delaying the process somewhat, underlines Lucien Wabanonik. “Of course, the (-Biden) transition creates delays. But despite everything, several players in the file are still in office. Work continues with them. ”

The coalition believes that Hydro-Quebec’s actions demonstrate their contempt for the First Nations.

“The well-being indicators for our communities continue to be comparable to those of third world countries, a phenomenon resulting in the creation and maintenance of two classes of citizens,” said the leaders of the six nations in a statement. Height of indecency, today we are asked to contribute to the well-being of American citizens without even thinking of compensating us for the wrongs caused to our ancestral territories since the beginning of the 20th century.e century. The answer is no. ”

By email, Hydro − Québec said it understood “the importance of land claims and land issues for Aboriginal communities”, adding that these were generally issues addressed “in the context of discussions or treaty negotiations between the federal and provincial governments and the indigenous communities or nations concerned ”.

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