Innu Blockade – Photo: Cardinal Alliance
As we find ourselves well into the first year of the Plan Nord, many Aboriginal communities continue to express their outrage toward Hydro Quebec and the Charest government. Even those who agreed (ever so reluctantly), are already dissatisfied at the consequences of inviting big business to town.
The government said they would not go ahead with the plan until reaching an accord with all First Nations, but they have clearly broken their promise. On the Côte-Nord the Innu community has refused to negotiate because of the mistrust they have toward the government. This mistrust is well grounded; to this day they haven’t been compensated for the damages already caused by hydro development.
Matthew A. Iserhoff and Pakesso Mukash are Cree musicians who make up the duo Ceramony. They are firmly opposed to the Plan Nord and have released an entire album to that effect, Matthew talks about it in Le Devoir.
“Ceux qui bénéficieront du Plan Nord en fin de compte seront les grosses compagnies et le gouvernement provincial, dit Matthew, notant que ce phénomène s’observe partout dans le monde. On a beau brandir des arguments sociaux pour justifier ce plan, c’est clair que ce n’est pas l’objectif premier de l’affaire. […] Et ce n’est pas nous qui avons poussé le Plan Nord, mais bien le gouvernement Charest.”
On November 17th Roland Thirnish of Uashat Mani-Utenam protested alone against the Band Council about problems of corruption. One of the things he spoke of was their agreements with Hydro Quebec, claiming that the population does not want them as representation. He was demanding their resignation.
In some cases entire communities and their leaders are opposed to the Plan Nord, while in others leaders appear to have ‘sold out’ and are now faced with a huge backlash from their people. The fear is that the project will reap the land dry and leave insufficient, if any, benefits to the people who have inhabited it for generations.