Any credit Stephen Harper might have gotten for the historic apology to aboriginal peoples for the destruction of generations in Canada’s infamous Indian residential schools was wiped out by events at Barriere Lake in northern Quebec, on Monday.
Monday’s attack is in the spirit of Harper’s decision, a year ago, to vote against the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
The lead up to Monday’s busted blockade is familiar: decades of foot-dragging and neglect by federal and Quebec governments in addressing the legitimate claims of aboriginal people. According to the Ottawa Citizen
The Algonquins of Barrière Lake want the Indian and Northern Affairs Department to recognize their traditional council and chief and a federal-provincial treaty that would give them a share of natural resource profits on their land.
The unemployment rate in the community of 650 people, 300 kilometres north of Ottawa, is about 90 per cent.
In 1991, the Barrière Lake Algonquins signed an agreement with Canada and Quebec to sustainably develop its 10,000-square-kilometre territory. Since 1996, the federal government has recognized a minority group and chief that oppose the agreement.
This disgusting episode should be an election issue. Coverage in the mainstream media has been spotty. So, pass it on and make it an issue!
Tuesday, October 7, 2008
Canada and Quebec use riot police, tear gas, and “pain compliance” on peaceful Algonquin families to avoid negotiations
Kitiganik/Rapid Lake, Algonquin Territory / – Yesterday afternoon (Oct. 6, 2008), the Conservative government and Quebec used riot police, tear gas, and “pain compliance” techniques to end a peaceful blockade erected by Algonquin families from Barriere Lake, rather than negotiate, as requested by the community.
The blockade on Highway 117 in Northern Quebec began at 6:00am Monday, with nearly a hundred community members of all ages and their supporters promising to remain until Canada’s Conservative government and Quebec honoured signed agreements and Barriere Lake’s leadership customs.
Around 4pm, nearly sixty Quebec officers and riot police encircled families after a meal and without warning launched tear gas canisters, one of which hit a child in the chest.