Decades-old fight against Kouchibouguac National Park expropriation goes to federal court

Kouchibouguac National Park sign is seen here in this undated photo. File/Global News

MONCTON – A battle against the expropriation of land that began in the 1970s is headed to the Federal Court in Ottawa, headed by the man who’s name is synonymous with the fight against Kouchibouguac National Park.

Jackie Vautour has started a law suit in federal court alleging the federal government failed to consult with indigenous people, Metis and Acadians when the land was expropriated to form the park.

The law suit was filed in Ottawa on Monday.

Vautour filed the suit on his own behalf, and on behalf of a long list of plaintiffs identifying themselves as indigenous residents of Kouchibouguac territory, Stephen Augustine, hereditary Mi’kmaq Chief and the Mi’kmaq people of the area.

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The statement of claim filed to the court alleges that Metis, Acadian and Mi’kmaq people of what is known as the Sigenigteouk district retain hunting, fishing and trapping rights to the area now occupied by the national park.

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The statement also claims Kouchibouguac is traditional indigenous land and not Crown land as defined in the National Parks Act with title falling to indigenous groups first.

The lawsuit is seeking damages for infringing on that title and for the removal of families who once lived in the area.

Vautour has contested the national park for decades in an often public and bitter fight with the federal government.

His land was expropriated but he’s lived in a small trailer in the park for years despite several orders to leave.

The federal government has 30 days to file a response with the federal court to the statement of claim .

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