Montreal – In reaction to Quebec Minister of Forests, Wildlife and Parks (MFFP) Pierre Dufour’s comments and finger-pointing, which attack the Innu of Nutashkuan and their traditional activities as a threat to the protection of the caribou, Ronald Brazeau, Director of the Natural Resources Department, Council of the Anishinaabe Nation of Lac Simon, declared:
“The federal and provincial governments are playing catch with the jurisdiction around the caribou file, but where is the room for listening to the First Nations. Indigenous leadership must be prioritized rather than blaming First Nations to divert attention from the inactions and failures of the Ministry of Forests, Wildlife and Parks.”
Olivier Kölmel, Nature & Food Campaigner for Greenpeace Canada, adds:
“We are flabbergasted by the Quebec government’s maliciousness and lack of accountability regarding the fate of the caribou. For almost 20 years now, we have witnessed chronic delays, bogus excuses and outright inaction by Quebec on this issue. To suggest that Indigenous communities are the cause of the caribou’s decline — all while the Minister continues to dismiss their proposed protection plans — is brazen gaslighting. The Minister’s comments are beyond inappropriate and a prime example of the systemic racism within our government. Indigenous peoples are the group that the biodiversity crisis hits the hardest. At this point, an emergency order from the federal government is more than welcome.”
According to Greenpeace, Quebec does not have a holistic policy approach to land management, nor does it systematically integrate the needs and rights of Indigenous peoples. In 20 years, woodland caribou populations have dropped by 30%. The main cause is the loss of habitat in the boreal forest due in large part to industrial activity.
The federal government has given the Quebec government until April 20, 2022 to demonstrate their efforts to recover and protect the caribou. If these efforts are found to be insufficient, the federal government is prepared to issue an emergency order, which would ensure the protection of critical caribou habitat from industrial activities for a minimum of five years. This federal imposition would be consistent with Canada’s Species at Risk Act.
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For more information, please contact
Marie-Christine Fiset, Head of Media, Greenpeace Canada
[email protected]; +1 514 972-631