October 6, 2008
Contact: Joel Klassen (613) 331-0969 (English & French);
Christine Downing 647-296-0969 (English)
Christian Peacemaker Teams sends human rights observer team to Barriere Lake Algonquin Territory
Rapid Lake, Quebec: – Christian Peacemaker Teams Canada has established a human rights observer presence this morning at a peaceful blockade erected by Algonquins of Barriere Lake and supporters on Highway 117 between Maniwaki and Val D'Or, Québec, three hours north of Ottawa. Christian Peacemaker Teams will be monitoring the blockade with a hope to reduce the potential for violence by the Sureté du Québec police patrolling the region.
The Algonquins of Barriere Lake signed a Trilateral Agreement with the federal and Québec governments in 1991 to share resources derived from their traditional territories. Since then the federal government has refused to implement the agreement, has undermined local governance practices on several occasions, and cut off much needed funding to the community. The level of poverty in the community is very high in a territory from which scores of millions of dollars of resources are extracted annually, and from which the community does not benefit. Among other things, the Algonquins are calling on the government to honour the Trilateral Agreement.
Carolyn Hudson, a CPTer at the blockade observed, "more and more First Nations, Metis and Innu people are taking non-violent direct actions and saying, Enough! Governments must take heed, listen with respect, and honour past agreements and obligations. It seems "the powers that be" only listen when they are inconvenienced. Let's hope this peaceful blockade, this inconvenience, will have positive results."
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