UASHAT MAK MANI-UTENAM, QC, Sept. 27, 2012 /CNW Telbec/ - The Innu of Uashat mak Mani-Utenam (ITUM) wish to send a clear message: without their consent, there won't be a new railway on their territory. CN's project, in partnership with the Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec, involves the construction of a 500km long railway through the very heart of ITUM's traditional territory. The railway, regardless of its exact route, would irreparably alter and damage a large number of family territories (the hunting grounds of which have been recognized by government).
"CN never tried to contact ITUM, nor obtain its consent. CN has been speaking to the entire world about its project without ever having approached the key interested party. Seeing that CN does not seem interested in obtaining ITUM's consent, ITUM will oppose CN's project. What CN needs to understand is that the era of the 1950s is over - no longer can companies violate ITUM's rights with impunity" decried ITUM's Chief, Georges-Ernest Grégoire.
In addition, ITUM deplores the fact that CN is trying to avoid a proper environmental assessment of its project. While registering the project with the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency (CEAA), CN announced that its project will not require any provincial environmental assessment. ITUM considers it unthinkable that a railway line that will traverse a large portion of the Province of Québec all the while carving ITUM's territory in two will not be subjected to environmental assessments in Québec and in Newfoundland and Labrador.
"We call on the Federal Government, the Québec Government, and also the Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec to take up ITUM's position that CN's project should undergo an environmental assessment by a joint review panel composed of the Federal Government as well as the Governments of Québec and Newfoundland and Labrador. All development projects in Canada, particularly mega-projects such as this, must undergo a complete and thorough environmental assessment as well as meet the test of sustainable development, achieve community acceptance and, without question, respect the rights of Aboriginal Peoples", concluded Chief Grégoire.
SOURCE: INNU TAKUAIKAN UASHAT MAK MANI-UTENAM (ITUM)
Source : ITUM
Director of the Office for the Protection of ITUM's Rights
Number : 418 965-7256