News Releases
Government Home Search Sitemap Contact Us  

Executive Council
Natural Resources
March 3, 2010

Premier Says Illegal Activity by Quebec Innu Will Not Be Tolerated;
Acting Premier Responds to Quebec Innu Allegations

The Honourable Danny Williams, Premier of Newfoundland and Labrador, today expressed deep disappointment by comments being made by Quebec Innu leaders. Premier Williams indicated that the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador will not tolerate illegal activity undertaken by any groups, including the Quebec Innu, nor will the Provincial Government be intimidated by threatening statements and rhetoric being put into the public domain by the leadership of these groups.

"Statements made this week by elected officials within the Quebec Innu, coupled with their recent illegal hunt of the Red Wine Caribou herd, is completely unacceptable to our government and must be exposed as rhetoric and activity with a goal of inciting violence," said Premier Williams. "It was reported this week that Réal McKenzie, chief of the Matimekush-Lac-John Quebec Innu community stated that "this is a war that begins as of now...". These words which conjure up images of violent behaviour are completely unacceptable to me personally and to our government. Furthermore, threats to economic development activity such as the Lower Churchill and mining projects will not be taken lightly by our government."

Premier Williams stated that the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador will take any legal action required to address the threats that come to fruition. Furthermore, the Provincial Government will use any legal resources required to ensure that violent and illegal activities are addressed head on, while ensuring the protection of law enforcement officers and the safety of the public at large.

Last week, Quebec Innu took the unfortunate step of attempting to make a point on land claims that could see the extinction of the Red Wine herd. The killing of the last of the Red Wine caribou is irresponsible and not the way to go about resolving a land claim issue. They claim to have done so in protest over the legitimate signing of the New Dawn Agreement between the Provincial Government and Innu of Labrador which in no way binds the Innu of Quebec. That agreement was strictly between the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador and the Innu Nation of Labrador. The Innu of Quebec are fully aware as all standard land claim agreements have a clause to the effect that the agreement only affects the actual parties signing the agreement meaning that a land claim agreement with one Aboriginal group does not bind any other Aboriginal group.

The Honourable Kathy Dunderdale, Acting Premier and Minister of Natural Resources, also responded today to allegations by Quebec Innu leaders that Newfoundland and Labrador conservation officers did not give adequate consideration to the medical condition of a Quebec Innu hunter last fall.

"My department has looked into the details of the incident last November where a Quebec Innu hunting party was detained and we have concluded that the actions of conservation officers that day were entirely appropriate," said the Acting Premier. "The Quebec Innu did not immediately advise conservation officers that they had an ill man in their group. When they finally did so, conservation officers immediately gave them permission to proceed. However, they failed to do so and voluntarily remained in the area for some time. Our officers acted entirely appropriately. As well, our officials checked with the RNC and the RCMP who confirmed there was no request for medical assistance made of members while they were present."

The Quebec Innu issued a press release February 23, 2010, alleging that interference by Newfoundland and Labrador conservation officers lead to the death of an Innu hunter. Conservation officers detained a Quebec Innu hunting party along the Trans-Labrador Highway on November 18, 2009, as part of an investigation of illegal hunting in a closed zone.

"Once it was presented to our officers that a man was ill, the vehicle was immediately allowed to proceed and at no time was helicopter transport requested for this individual as suggested by the Quebec Innu," said Acting Premier Dunderdale. "It has been several months since this tragic incident occurred and if the leadership of the Quebec Innu feels there was wrongdoing, they should contact the appropriate authorities."


Media contacts:

Elizabeth Matthews
Director of Communications
Office of the Premier
Andrea Nolan
Press Secretary
Office of the Premier
709-729-4304, 727-0991
Tracy Barron
Director of Communications
Department of Natural Resources
709-729-5282, 690-8241

2010 03 03                                                      10:50 a.m.

SearchHomeBack to GovernmentContact Us

All material copyright the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador. No unauthorized copying or redeployment permitted. The Government assumes no responsibility for the accuracy of any material deployed on an unauthorized server.
Disclaimer/Copyright/Privacy Statement