Tuesday, July 31, 2012

WIN! Resistance by Barriere Lake and supporters results in Quebec concession over logging

Thanks to the resistance and determination of the Algonquins of Barriere Lake, the thousand people who sent online letters and the 200 who joined last week’s powerful Montreal demonstration outside the offices of Resolute Forest Products and Premier Jean Charest, the Quebec government and forestry company have been forced to make a significant concession. They have agreed to respect an aspect of the Trilateral agreement by harmonizing logging with Barriere Lake's use of their lands, which is an important step forward in the community’s struggle to protect their land rights and the environment.

After the protest in Montreal a week and a half ago, and after a number of successful stoppages of the forestry operations by Algonquins camped out for two weeks, the Quebec Ministry of Natural Resources sat down for negotiations with community representatives. What was agreed to is a precarious but important step in the community’s long struggle to pressure the Quebec and Canadian governments to honour their landmark Trilateral Agreement.

The logging that had been happening on Barriere Lake’s land was illegal because Quebec has refused to implement the Trilateral Agreement, without which no forestry operations should be happening. The agreement is intended to create a sustainable model of forestry in which Barriere Lake jointly manages 10,000 square kilometres of their traditional territory with the province. The agreement is a model for First Nations fighting to protect their land rights.

Forest Resolute Products had refused to respect a process of consultation and accommodation that is part of the Trilateral Agreement – called “measures to harmonize.” Forestry companies who want to operate on Barriere Lake’s land must not compromise the way that the Algonquins’ use the land – meaning logging is not allowed to
happen where the community has hunting cabins, in areas of moose and bear habitat, sacred areas, medicinal sites and many other areas of concern to the community.

Because of community's direct action and public pressure, the Quebec government and Resolute Forest Products have now agreed to comply by the “measures to harmonize”!

NEXT STEPS

Barriere Lake needs its supporters to remain vigilant to ensure Resolute Forest Products respects the "measures to harmonize."

Even more importantly, we need to continue building pressure on the Quebec and Canadian governments to finally implement the Trilateral and Bilateral Agreements. The Charest government has been so brazen in its disregard for the law and its contempt for Barriere Lake that it has refused to honour the binding outcomes of negotiations conducted by two former Liberal Cabinet Ministers! In 2006, a negotiator for the Quebec, John Ciaccia, and a negotiator for Barriere Lake, Clifford Lincoln, issued the recommendation that the agreement be implemented. Quebec does not want to implement this agreement because it sets precedents in giving Indigenous peoples control over developments on their territories.

MEDIA COVERAGE OF PROTESTS: http://ipsmo.wordpress.com/2012/07/11/coverage-abl-logging-protest/


Tuesday, July 17, 2012

ACTION ALERT: SUPPORT THE BARRIERE LAKE LAND DEFENCE CAMP TODAY

A group of Barriere Lake Algonquins have been camped out at Poigan Lake, Quebec for almost a week now, determined not to leave the site until Resolute Forest Products (formerly AbitibiBowater) agrees to stop clear-cut logging their unceded territory and engage in a meaningful consultation process with the community. See below and added posts at www.ipsmo.org for ongoing coverage of the situation.

The community is now asking for crucial outside support in order to increase pressure on the government and forestry companies to meet the demands of the traditional land-holders. Please take a few minutes to support their struggle to protect their lands and identity by sending a letter to the Minister, attending a casserole action in Montreal, or donating money for supplies.


SEND A LETTER OR PLACE A PHONE-CALL TO THE MINISTRY OF NATURAL RESOURCES, QUEBEC AND RESOLUTE FOREST PRODUCTS:

Take 3 minutes to click this link http://www.barrierelakesolidarity.org/2007/10/blog-post.html and send a letter to Resolute Forest Products, the Quebec Ministry of Natural Resources, and the Forest Stewardship Council of Canada (of which Resolute is a member).


JOIN IN MONTREAL FOR AN EMERGENCY CASSEROLE DEMO ON JULY 18

From Montreal to Barriere Lake: Solidarity against police repression

Wednesday, July 18th at 11:30am
at 111 Duke street (between Wellington and Ottawa),
10 minute walk from Metro Square-Victoria
In front of the offices of the logging company, Resolute Forest Products


Last week, Resolute Forest Products (formerly known as Abitibi-Bowater) began active clear-cut logging on the traditional territory of the Algonquins of Barriere Lake, five hours north of Montreal, on land that is crucial for their culture and survival as a people. The logging company and government have ignored repeated demands by the community for consultation, despite resource-sharing agreements signed by both the provincial and federal governments that require this kind of community participation.

Rather than talking with the community, the government sent the riot squad of Sûreté du Québec (SQ) to enforce the continuation of logging, and threatened to arrest the families who are currently camping near the logging site.

Montreal-based supporters of the people of Barriere Lake are calling for a lunchtime casserole outside of the logging company offices to demand that they stop their logging and consult with the people of Barriere Lake. After a rally in front of the logging company office, we will continue towards the office of Premier Charest, to protest the criminalization of popular struggle by the government of Quebec. Casseroles began in Montreal as a rejection of attempts by the government to criminalize the popular movement of the students through Law 78 and police repression. For indigenous communities such as Barriere Lake, the struggle against the criminalization and repression of their communities has been ongoing for generations as they struggle to defend their land.

No to the criminalization of popular struggle!
Solidarity with indigenous defence of the land!
Solidarity with the Algonquins of Barriere Lake!


DONATE MONEY / SUPPLIES TO HELP COVER BASIC NEEDS AT THE LAND DEFENSE CAMP

Please give generously through our PayPal account: http://www.barrierelakesolidarity.org/2008/03/donations.html (Scroll down for PayPal button). All funds will go directly, with no administration costs, towards supporting the community's efforts. If you have food to donate in either the Ottawa or Montreal areas, please contact barrierelakesolidaritytoronto@gmail.com for more information.


SHARE PRESS RELEASES, VIDEO, IMAGES, SOLIDARITY ACTIONS, AND MESSAGES FROM THE CAMP THROUGH YOUR NETWORKS

Check out www.ipsmo.org for the most frequent ongoing coverage of the land defense camp. Please share within your networks. Better yet, write or pitch a story for your local newspaper or radio station.


SIGN UP TO THE BARRIERE LAKE SOLIDARITY LISTSERVE TO STAY INVOLVED

The sign-up box is in the right column of this website.


LEARN MORE ABOUT THE COMMUNITY'S STRUGGLE

For an excellent, 4 minute video introduction, click here.

For more resources, check out the 'Background' section of this website.

Monday, July 16, 2012

ALERT: Algonquins threaten blockade while Montreal riot cops stand on alert

Charest government allows logging by Resolute Forest Products in violation of Agreement, as supporters prepare casserole demo in Montreal on

July 16, Poigan Bay, QC – As the standoff between the Algonquin community of Barriere Lake, QC, and Resolute Forest Products (formerly known as Abitibi-Bowater) enters its thirteenth day, members of the Algonquin community are moving their protest camp site closer to logging operations to prevent further cutting.

Algonquin families have camped alongside the road where logging has been destroying the community's sacred sites and moose habitat, and have succeeded in periodically stopping the cutting. Quebec police, including a riot squad from Montreal, have escorted the loggers and maintained a large presence, issuing threats of arrest to community members.

The Montreal-based multi-national company's operations have been licensed by the Charest government without the Algonquin community's consent or consultation, and in violation of the Trilateral Agreement the Quebec government signed with Barriere Lake in 1991.

“I was not properly consulted nor did I provide consent to this logging within our territory,” said Algonquin elder Gabriel Wawatie, whose family territory is being clear-cut, in a letter last week to Premier Charest and the Quebec Ministry of Natural Resources that has not been responded to by the Liberal government.

"The Charest government has acted in bad faith, giving this company the go-ahead to log while they ignore their signed agreements with our community," said Norman Matchewan, a community spokesperson. "It has left us with no choice but to try to stop forestry operations. We have been waiting 20 years for the Quebec government to honour it."

Barriere Lake wants Quebec to honour the Trilateral agreement, a landmark sustainable development agreement praised by the United Nations. The Charest government has also ignored the formal recommendations of two former Quebec Liberal Cabinet Ministers, Quebec representative John Ciaccia and Barriere Lake representative Clifford Lincoln, that the agreement be implemented. The agreement is intended to allow logging to continue while protecting the Algonquins' way of life and giving them a $1.5 million share of the $100 million in resource revenue that comes out of their territory every year.

A casserole demonstration in support of the Algonquins of Barriere Lake has been called for this Wednesday (July 18th) at 11:30am, at the Resolute headquarters in Montreal.

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Contact: Community spokesperson Norman Matchewan, 819-435-2171, 819-527-0414

Monday, July 9, 2012

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Logging proceeds without consent on territory of Algonquins of Barriere Lake

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Logging proceeds without consent on territory of Algonquins of Barriere Lake

Resolute Forest Products, formerly Abitibi Bowater, logging land that includes sacred grounds

July 9, Poigan Bay, QC – Resolute Forest Products, formerly known as Abitibi Bowater, began cutting last Tuesday on land of the Algonquins of Barriere Lake without proper community consultation or consent. The logging is taking place near Poigan Bay, Quebec, on land that includes sacred grounds and important moose habitat, according to community spokesperson Norman Matchewan.

In a letter sent to Premier Charest on July 4, elder Gabriel Wawatie states: “As one of the main harvesters, I was not properly consulted nor provided a written consent to this logging within our territory.”

Despite the lack of consultation, the Ministry of Natural Resources office in Maniwaki issued permits for the logging to take place.

Wawatie’s letter continues: “This clearly demonstrates your ministry’s lack of respect of the highest court ruling on the duty to consult and accommodate First Nations,” referring to the Supreme Court ruling on Haida Nation vs. British Columbia Ministry of Forests. “Therefore we are requesting that you cease logging operations in our territory.”

Last month, in a recent provincial court case, the same forestry company (Resolute Forest Products, formerly known as Abitibi Bowater) attempted to sue one of the youth leaders of Barriere Lake, Norman Matchewan. Vincent Larin, from the Maniwaki Ministry of Natural Resources office, issued two cutting permits for the same logging site (cutting block) in Barriere Lake territory that also included sacred sites. Fortunately, the forestry company lost their court case when the foreman contradicted his original statement and got caught lying on the stand.

In recent years, the community of Barriere Lake has resisted numerous resource extraction projects slated for their land. Most recently, members of the community confronted mining company Copper One at the company’s AGM in Montreal, opposing their mining exploration on Barriere Lake territory.

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Contact: Norman Matchewan, 819-435-2171

PRESS RELEASE: Media Coop

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