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Innu community ready to sue Quebec government to protect caribou

Wild caribou roam the tundra near The Meadowbank Gold Mine located in Nunavut, on March 25, 2009. Nathan Denette/The Canadian Press

An Innu community in Quebec says it’s prepared to sue the provincial government to protect dwindling caribou herds.

The Innu Council of Pessamit says the caribou are of fundamental importance to the community’s way of life and their decline would cause “irreparable harm” to Indigenous Peoples.

The council, which represents a community in the Côte-Nord region, says the Quebec government continues to approve new logging in the caribou’s habitat, even as the province’s own studies show the population is precarious and threatened by habitat loss.

Read more: Deer overpopulation means tough choices in Quebec

Council Chief Jean-Marie Vollant says he’s ready to work with the federal government to push to province to implement solutions, including to create a protected area that was proposed by Indigenous Peoples in 2020.

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He says he’s also ready to follow the lead of other Indigenous communities that are taking legal action to try to force the province to protect the caribou.

Last week, the Essipit and Mashteuiatsh said they filed legal paperwork in Quebec Superior Court accusing the province of failing to respect its duty to adequately consult with Indigenous Peoples on caribou protection.

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