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For Immediate Release
Labrador Metis Nation President Chris Montague today issued a warning to the Government of Ontario with respect to the proposed Lower Churchill hydro development.
“I want to make it quite clear that the Labrador Metis Nation will take whatever legal or other steps necessary to ensure that we are directly involved in the plans for the development of the Lower Churchill,” Mr. Montague said. “I think it is important for the investment community, as well as the Government of Ontario, to know where we stand.”Mr. Montague is in Toronto addressing Canada Forum’s Opportunities to Develop Renewable Energy Projects with First Nations, Industry and Government Partnerships conference. He told delegates that the Labrador Metis have to be “meaningfully included” in any Lower Churchill development.
“The Government of Newfoundland and Labrador is well aware of our position, yet it has failed to meet its Constitutional and legal obligations to us,” Mr. Montague said. “We are prepared to work in partnership with the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador to design and implement a process, pending a more formal resolution and reconciliation of Labrador Inuit-Metis rights, titles and interests.”
Mr. Montague was quick to point out to delegates that the LMN is not opposed to “rational and sustainable developments” within its territory.
“But we have to protect our rights and interests. We need to ensure these developments are environmentally sound, and we need to ensure maximum benefits for those living adjacent to these developments. We have a duty to ensure that our land and resources are developed in a manner that respects our traditions, and provides for our children, grandchildren and the generations to come.”
Mr. Montague also informed delegates of Newfoundland and Labrador Premier Danny Williams’ failure to honor commitments he made to the Labrador Metis.
“Danny Williams promised, in writing, to honor Labrador Metis harvesting rights. He promised to work with us to promote our communities and our culture. He promised to ensure we share in the benefits of resource developments, and to include us in the process of negotiating a Lower Churchill development agreement,” Mr. Montague said. “The Premier has been on a campaign to discredit Prime Harper for reneging on an election promise regarding equalization, yet he refuses to honor his own commitments to the Labrador Metis.”
Mr. Montague also provided delegates with an overview of the proposed Height of Land Wind Park, a $2.5 billion proposed project involving a partnership between the LMN and Canada’s largest wind developer, Ventus Energy Inc. of Toronto.
Bert Pomeroy, Communications
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