$900 million lawsuit by Innu First Nations against Rio Tinto (IOC)

Innu salute decision by Supreme Court of Canada to refuse to hear appeal
by Rio Tinto (IOC)

UASHAT MAK MANI-UTENAM, QC, Oct. 15, 2015 /CNW Telbec/ - The Innu First Nations of Uashat mak Mani-utenam and Matimekush-Lac John today celebrated the Supreme Court of Canada's decision to refuse to hear an appeal by Rio Tinto (IOC) in their $900 million lawsuit against the company. The attempt by Rio Tinto (IOC) to have the case dismissed before trial met with the same result at both the Superior Court of Quebec and the Court of Appeal of Québec. 

"Rio Tinto and its subsidiary IOC have been seeking to delay the judicial process in the hopes that they would exhaust us and that we would back down. We are all familiar with this strategy by large, wealthy corporations. But this decision by the Supreme Court of Canada means that Rio Tinto (IOC) will no longer be able to evade our lawsuit. We are more determined than ever to see it through to the end, and, sooner or later, the company will have to answer for what it has done, including its systematic violation of our rights since the 1950s," said Mike McKenzie, Chief of Uashat Mak Mani-Utenam.

Even with its $900 million suit and the injunction it is seeking against the IOC megaproject, the Innu have tried since 2010 to find an honourable solution to their conflict with Rio Tinto. A number of Innu Chiefs attended Rio Tinto's AGM on April 16, 2015, where they asked its president and CEO Sam Walsh and his board of directors to intervene to end the longstanding conflict that has impacted generations of Innu.

"Rio Tinto (IOC) stubbornly and blindly continues down its rogue path rather than seeking to turn the page on this dishonourable period in its history. Meanwhile, the other mining companies on our territory and many more elsewhere in Canada are acting as good corporate citizens. It also unfair for these other companies that Rio Tinto is allowed to continue to behave as a bad corporate citizen while they are required to play by the modern rules of corporate behaviour that emphasize respect for Indigenous rights," explained Réal McKenzie, Chief of Matimekush-Lac John.

The legal proceedings against Rio Tinto and its subsidiary IOC will now move forward as the mining company has exhausted all avenues for hiding from the Innu's legitimate demands. Today's decision by the Supreme Court is in fact a great victory for all First Nations in Canada that are seeking to force companies to respect their rights.

For more information on the conflict: http://www.paytherent.info


SOURCE Director of the Office for the Protection of Rights and the Territory, ITUM

For further information: Jean-Claude Therrien Pinette, Director, Office for the protection of rights and territory, ITUM, 418-409-5681, jean-claude.pinette@itum.qc.ca

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Director of the Office for the Protection of Rights and the Territory, ITUM

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