The Innu of the Ekuanitshit First Nation in Mingan, Quebec, are outraged and seeking an apology from the Action démocratique du Québec leadership after disparaging remarks were made about the Innu group in conjunction with the ADQ’s objection to payments being made to band members.
The money in question is $2.4 million that was paid to 500 band members from a $75 million settlement payment by Hydro-Québec in 2009 over ancestral rights regarding the La Romaine hydroelectric project.
ADQ leader Gérard Deltell and ADQ MNA François Bonnardel stated publicly that direct payments to band members would end badly.
Bonnardel said the payouts would be “immoral” because almost half of the band members have alcohol and drug problems. He went on to say that Quebec would be paying out twice and so it would be “crazy” if the money would go directly to the people and so the province has a responsibility to “help” these people in that respect. His justification was that Quebec would have to pay out a second time to get these people back on track after giving them cash payouts.
While representatives from the Innu community and the province of Quebec have demanded a public apology, two days after the remarks were made the ADQ was still unreachable for comment.