The Algonquins of Barrière Lake and the Quebec government reached a deal two weeks ago to end the logging stand-off in Barrière Lake territory. The deal commits both partners to finish the development of an Integrated Resource Management Plan (IRMP) for the territory.
Logging on the territory has been suspended since the federal government walked away from the final stages of the Trilateral Agreement – a groundbreaking IRMP for the territory. Without an IRMP, the Algonquin traditional way of life, which is dependent on hunting and gathering, would face threat from industrial forestry operations. Chief Carol McBride says the deal with Quebec proves that joint harmonious collaboration is possible.
“The Trilateral Agreement was established to end conflict in the territory,” said McBride. “It’s a process based on dialogue and understanding. Our deal with Quebec shows that it is possible to reconcile the traditional needs of the Algonquin people with modem land management processes.” Earlier, angry log haulers from the Domtar Mill in Grand Remous had threatened to blockade the entrance to Barrière Lake reserve. They were angry over the impending shutdown of the mill as a result of the ongoing stand-off. Riot police from Montreal were reportedly moved into the region and Algonquin checkpoints were established at entrances to the community. McBride says the Algonquins understood the frustration of the log haulers. “The community has been trying for over a year to find a way to move this process along. Although we remain upset that the federal government is refusing to honour its signed obligations in this agreement, we commend the willingness of Quebec to step in and prevent this situation from spiraling further out of control.”