APTN National News
A northern Innu community in Quebec plans to begin blocking a provincial highway Thursday unless the provincial government sits down to talk about planned developments in its territory.
Innu nation of Pessamit issued a statement warning of the planned action to place an escalating road block on a portion of Hwy 138 that runs through the community which sits about 600 kilometres northeast of Montreal.
“Finished is the time when this road was used to enrich Quebec to the detriment of our rights,” said Chief Raphael Picard, in the statement. “The development of natural resources on our territory will henceforth be done with our consent and participation.”
The statement said the decision to mount road-blocks was triggered by the Quebec government’s push to develop the northern region through its $80 billion Plan Nord program.
The Innu said they were not consulted. The statement highlighted a planned project by Hydro-Quebec that is proceeding without consultation with the Innu.
“It is not with joy in our heart in which we do this gesture, but with need,” said Picard, according to the statement which was issued in French.
The statement said the Innu plan to begin blocking the road every 30 minutes leading to a total and permanent barricading of the road unless Quebec came to the table.
Picard said the Innu have a right to block the road because it was built illegally on their territory.
The statement said the band council passed a resolution in support of the planned blockade which was initiative by community members.