Advertisement

Petapan Treaty: Innu accuse Quebec of bad faith on talks for innovative agreement

Three Innu communities in Quebec are acusing the provincial government of acting in bad faith a year after the deadline passed to conclude the Petapan Treaty, which has been under negotiation for more than 40 years. Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations Marc Miller, left to right, joins Chiefs of the Innu communities forming the Regroupement Petapan, Real Tettaut (Nutashkuan), Martin Dufour (Essipit), and Gilbert Dominique (Mashteuiatsh) at a press conference in Ottawa, Thursday, May 4, 2023. Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press

Three Innu communities in Quebec are accusing the provincial government of acting in bad faith a year after the deadline passed to conclude a treaty that has been under negotiation for more than 40 years.

The chiefs of Essipit, Pekuakamiulnuatsh, and Nutashkuan say the Quebec government reneged on a commitment to finalize the Petapan Treaty before the deadline set for March 31, 2023. Instead, Quebec has “imposed a new deadline and demanded new information,” the chiefs said Monday in a news release.

A year later the chiefs, who represent about 12,000 people in the North Shore and Saguenay-Lac-St-Jean regions, are calling for a meeting with Premier François Legault and say they are “very seriously” considering legal action.

“We have played fair in listening to the new demands from Quebec,” the chiefs said. “We responded with the greatest speed and a real desire to give negotiation a chance. But there are limits to abusing our good faith.”

Story continues below advertisement

The Petapan Treaty, between the Innu First Nations, Quebec and Ottawa, would exempt the three communities from the federal Indian Act and recognize their right to self-determination and their ancestral rights.

Click to play video: 'Aerial photography exhibition'
Aerial photography exhibition

The Innu nations reached a deal with Ottawa before the March 2023 deadline, but talks with Quebec are ongoing.

Ewan Sauves, a spokesman for Legault, said in an email Monday that the Quebec government still aims to reach an agreement with the three Innu groups.

“However, the Petapan Treaty project is a complex issue,” Sauves said. “Our teams are hard at work. We will not negotiate in public.”

Click to play video: 'Inuit, Innu Nation unite in identity fight'
Inuit, Innu Nation unite in identity fight

Sponsored content

AdChoices