Thursday, May 4, 2017

Flash-mob draws attention to unconstitutional mining exploration in the face of Algonquin opposition, in and around the La Vérendrye wildlife reserve

(Kitiganik and Montreal, May 4th 2017) On Thursday, May 4th, at 8:30am, a noisy flash-mob gathered in front of Copper One's offices at 2000, McGill College Avenue, to protest the company's attempts to advance a mining claim on the territory of the Algonquins of Barriere Lake, without consultation or consent. The company's claim covers a large area of the La Vérendrye wildlife reserve and a neighbouring area including the headwaters of the Ottawa River.

In spite of a government decision to suspend the company's mining claims earlier in 2017, Copper One has repeatedly stated its intention to begin exploratory drilling on the territory of the Algonquins of Barriere Lake, and has a court date tomorrow, on Friday May 5th, as part of their most recent attempt to advance their mining exploration.
The Algonquins of Barriere Lake have consistently refused mining exploration on the territory claimed by Copper One. This traditional and current-use territory of the community has been subject to agreements between the community and the governments of Quebec and Canada concerning the joint management of renewable resources, namely the Trilateral Agreement of 1991 and the Bilateral aggreement of 1998. The community has accepted some forms of development on this territory, but has repeatedly stated that mining is not acceptable.  

The community objects to the Quebec's Mining Act’s failure to require consultation with indigenous nations. The Mining Act also fails to allow integrated land use planning in respect of indigenous peoples’ rights and aspirations, including the possibility of saying "no" to mining claims located in culturally or ecologically sensitive areas.

At a recent press conference, Professors Jean-Paul Lacasse and Sophie Thériault of the Faculty of Law of University of Ottawa were categorical : the current Mines Act would not pass a constitutional legal test, if it were to be challenged by an Aborigoinal nations in Quebec. On February 1, 2017, the Assembly of First Nations of Quebec and Labrador adopted a unanimous resolution condemning the Mining Act of Quebec as being "unconstitutional" in regard to indigenous rights.
"We face, even today, mining claims and mining projects for which we were never informed, consulted and never gave our consent," denounced the Chief Casey Ratt of the Algonquins of Barriere Lake First Nation.

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For more information :
Chief Casey Ratt, Algonquins of Barriere Lake, 819-441-8002
Interim Director General Tony Wawatie, Algonquins of Barriere Lake, 819-355-3662
Councilor Norman Matchewan, Algonquins of Barriere Lake, 819-441-8006

Monday, May 1, 2017

Montreal : No mining without consent! Flash Mob Thursday, May 4th, at 8:30am

Come out and support an Algonquin struggle for land, water and wildlife!

In recent months, the Algonquins of Barriere Lake pushed back against Copper One's attempt to develop an eventual open-pit mine in the heart of their territory. The community accepts some forms of responsible development on their territory, but has decided that mining is unacceptable. Copper One is now attempting to advance their faltering mining claim through judicial proceedings. The day before their first court date, join us to send them a clear message: respect indigenous rights! No means no! 

What : A flash-mob / morning rally with music
When: Thursday May 4th 2017, 8:30am 
Where: 2000 McGill College Avenue (Metro McGill)

A community spokesperson will be present, accompanied by supporters including the Chaotic Insurrection Ensemble. Please come out and show your support!

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Third-Party Management as a Weapon against Indigenous Protest

The most recent episode of the weekly indigenous current affairs podcast Media Indigena introduces the problems with the "Kafkaesque" government tactic of imposing third-party management on indigenous communities.

Host Rick Harp introduces the discussion by referring to an article in Ricochet last Friday on the Algonquins of Barriere Lake being kept in the dark about their own finances. Pam Palmater and Paul Seesequasis then describe how the third-party system is used as a political tool to undercut indigenous sovereignty, with the example of the Algonquins of Barriere Lake referred to throughout as a paradigmatic example.

You can listen to the entire episode here, and can get to the start of the third-party discussion by skipping to the 16 minutes and 44 second mark.

Monday, April 10, 2017

Algonquins of Barriere Lake Request National Chief Bellegarde to Press for Urgent End to Federal Third Party Management in Their Community

Press Release

(Kitiganik, Algonquin Territory/April 10, 2017) The Chief of the Algonquins of Barriere Lake announced today that a letter was sent to AFN National Chief Perry Bellegarde requesting that the National Chief support their call for an immediate end to Third Party Management (TPM) and an immediate return control of the community’s financial and program administration back to the Chief and Council. The Barriere Lake Chief also wants to the National Chief to communicate his support for the Barriere Lake position to the INAC Minister and the Standing Committee on Indigenous Affairs.

Chief Casey Ratt said “The federal government’s TPM has controlled all aspects of our community's program and services since 2006. There is no accountability to our people. Canada has made our system of governance almost irrelevant since many decisions are made by the TPM without any consultation with us taken together. These events have increased our hardship and poverty. We had to ask ourselves why the Government of Canada would take control away from our people, impose a TPM which actually made our lives worse. There is no exit strategy. Canada and TPM did nothing to work with us to build a bridge out of this situation. They seemed happy to let us go on forever.”

Tony Wawatie, Interim Director-General added “We always hear that First Nations must be accountable and transparent. Then how come Canada and TPM get away without being accountable and transparent to our people? Our TPM gets paid $550,000 a year to administer our poverty. Nothing in the TPM contract measures our quality of life or if the delivery of services actually improves under TPM. There is nothing to link TPM to positive outcomes for our community. It has nothing to do with improving our living conditions or the lives of our people. It has everything to do with the federal government keeping us in a state of dependency and arrested development. We have no role in developing TPM terms of reference. Each year the contract only requires the TPM to administer the current year's program and services. So, past debts are left unattended our deficit has grown not diminished under TPM.”

Chief Casey Ratt wrote today to the AFN National Chief, to specifically request: 
As there is no good reason to keep us in Third Party Management and we have the capacity to resume control of our financial and program administration we are calling on you to communicate your support for our position on the immediate end of Third Party Management in our community and the return of administrative control to our Chief and Council to INAC Minister Bennett and the Members of the Standing Committee on Indigenous Affairs during your appearance on April 11, 2017.

We are also calling on you to press Minister Bennett into an urgent face-to-face meeting with a delegation from our First Nation. We are prepared to come to Ottawa if necessary.

We also ask that you suggest to the Standing Committee that they recommend to the Auditor-General to conduct a study of the federal Default Prevention & Management Policy and use our First Nation’s situation as a case study. 
 In December 2015, the AFN Chiefs-in-Assembly directed the AFN National Chief and AFN Executive Committee to:
support the Algonquins of Barriere Lake in calling on the Government of Canada to participate in a reconciliation process with Barriere Lake Chief and Council, beginning with a return of administrative control over programs and services to the Barriere Lake Chief and Council.
Chief Casey Ratt concluded by stating “it is now time for the AFN National Chief to show his support for our First Nation by acting on our reasonable requests to press Minister Bennett to direct her officials to immediately end Third Party Management. Our people will not wait until for the INAC-AFN Fiscal Relations process concludes sometime next year.”


 For More Information Contact: 
 Chief Casey Ratt     Cell: (819) 441-8002
Tony Wawatie, Interim Director-General  Cell: (819) 355-3662
Michel Thusky (French) Spokesperson   Telephone: (819) 215-0591