A Cree man is in police custody after the death of a non-native worker at the EM-1 hydro-electric plant. There are fears the incident has led to bad blood between Cree and French-speaking workers at the plant.

Chantal Mackels of the Sûreté du Québec told the Nation that 48 year-old Mario Fortin of Chicoutimi was found lying on the ground near a bar just before midnight on Thursday, May 6.

“He was wounded and taken to the infirmary where he was pronounced dead,” Mackels said. “Investigators from the major crimes squad arrived at the scene, which led to the arrest of a 20-year-old man, Emmanuel Blacksmith of Mistissini.”

Blacksmith is to appear in court on June 14.

The Grand Council of the Cree has condemned the incident.

“It’s a very tragic situation,” said Brian Craik, spokesman for the Grand Council. “It certainly underlines the fact that worker relations on the site have to be carefully thought out and carefully dealt with by the promoters. It shouldn’t be excused as an accident or one-time event. We hope that it is, but in fact what has to be done is to ensure that if there are problems with worker relations that these things are dealt with at their root cause. That’s the responsibility as far as I can see of both the promoters and the unions.”

Police are not releasing any other information about the alleged crime.