Hydro-Quebec has refused to put it in writing that it has never spied on the Cree people and never will spy on them.
Hydro’s refusal has prompted the Grand Council and several Quebec environmental groups to call for a government inquiry of Hydro-Quebec’s secretive $18-million police force.
Last March 1993, the Crees and environmentalists launched a human-rights complaint charging that Hydro-Quebec had given its police force far too much power.
The police force had just been authorized to use “electronic surveillance” on anyone posing a real or imagined threat to Hydro, including natives.
“The more active ones (natives) are ready for forceful demonstrations to support their demands,” said an internal government document leaked to the Crees.
Crees and environmentalists demanded that Hydro say in writing it hasn’t spied on them, but Hydro recently refused.
That prompted the Crees and environmentalists to pull out of conciliation talks with Hydro-Quebec proposed by the Quebec Human Rights Commission.
The talks had stumbled along for 18 months with virtually no progress.
“We are literally wasting our time,” said Deputy Grand Chief Kenny Blacksmith in a press release issued Nov. 9.
Chief Blacksmith was also critical of the human rights commission for refusing Cree requests for a human rights inquiry into the Hydro police force.
Greenpeace Quebec has come out publicly backing the Crees and also demanding that PQ Public Security Minister Serge Menard order a public inquiry into Hydro’s police force.
“It’s time that they take our complaint seriously,” said Francois Tanguay, Greenpeace energy campaigner. “We have good reason to believe that we have been subjected to, among other things, electronic surveillance.
“For us it is a question of respect of democratic rights.”