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Mohawk Council of Kahnawá:keTsi nahò:ten kahiatónnion a'arákonEnsaié:nawaseOnhkharéhson Aionkhihsnoé:nen
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Mohawk Council of Kahnawà:ke

MCK concerned as Quebec says there is no link between Bill 85 and Seigneury


The Mohawk Council of Kahnawà:ke (MCK) is expressing serious concerns following a presentation made at the Quebec National Assembly yesterday in which a government committee – which includes Martin Coiteux, the Minister responsible for Bill 85 – stated that there was no link between the proposed legislation and Kahnawà:ke’s rights and interests in the Autoroute 30 lands.

The presentation to the Committee on Planning and the Public Domain was made by Grand Chief Joseph Tokwiro Norton and Francis Walsh, a member of the MCK’s legal team.

“It was astonishing to witness the utter lack of understanding of our position in this important matter,” said Grand Chief Norton. “Either that, or they are playing a dangerous game.”

“Additionally, it is very disturbing that something as integral to Canada’s legal systems as Aboriginal interests seems to be beyond the government’s understanding,” he added. “I hope that Premier Couillard is paying attention to all of this, because he’s the person responsible and most accountable.”

Bill 85, a proposed piece of legislation currently being debated in the National Assembly, is designed to fast track economic development – including the industrial development of currently undeveloped lands – along a corridor that includes Autoroute 30. Lands identified in the Bill cut through the heart of the Seigneury of Sault St. Louis lands and over lands which Kahnawà:ke holds title.

“If the government of Quebec believes it can waltz right in and create an economic corridor on the Seigneury lands – our lands – without our say, it would be best if they better inform themselves of the situation at hand,” Grand Chief Norton concluded. “Last night’s event was a real eye-opener. The provincial government has a lot to learn about Indigenous land issues. We’re willing to help teach them, but they have to be willing to sit together and deal with this issue as a matter of priority – not as a sidebar or afterthought. That these issues come up right after governments talk a big reconciliation game is a step in the opposite direction.” 

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