PRESS RELEASE – For immediate release
Hundreds to do casseroles protest against forestry company as Algonquins attempt to blockade logging
Supporters, including spokespeople of CLASSE, to demonstrate against Resolute Forest Products and Charest government
July 18, Montreal, QC / – Today, a casseroles demonstration will take place at 11:30 am in front of the downtown Montreal offices of Resolute Forest Products (111 Duke street, between Wellington and Ottawa), as members of the Algonquins of Barriere Lake continue to try to blockade logging allowed by the Charest government.
Hundreds of protestors, including CLASSE co-spokesperson Gabriel Nadeau Dubois, will then march to the Premier Charest’s office at Mcgill and Sherbrooke.
During a two-week stand-off with Resolute Forest Products (formerly known as Abitibi-Bowater) on their traditional territory four hours north of Montreal, the Algonquin community has created a protest camp site close to logging operations to prevent the further destruction of the community’s sacred sites and moose habitat. 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 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.
“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. “The overwhelming majority of community members are opposed to what is happening. 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 their agreements.”
“Indigenous communities like Barriere Lake who are courageously protecting their lands from ecological destruction by multinational companies are fighting on behalf of us all,” said Beatriz Muñoz, a representative of the social struggle committee of CLASSE. “Support for Indigenous rights is central to our broader struggle for the common good.”
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.
Contact: Community spokesperson, Norman Matchewan: 819-435-2171, 819-527-0414
(Montreal) Molly Churchill – 514-692-8220