Algonquin Chief imprisoned for two months: Quebec criminalizes Barriere Lake Algonquins for peaceful protest, ignores signed agreements

December 11, 2008


Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Quebec judge imprisons Algonquin Chief for two months for peaceful protest: Crown asks for one year to send “clear message” to impoverished community

Kitiganik/Rapid Lake, Algonquin Territory / – On Thursday December 4th a Quebec judge sentenced Barriere Lake Acting Chief Benjamin Nottaway to forty-five days in jail, in addition to fifteen already served in pre-trial detention, for participating in peaceful blockades intended to draw attention to violations of Barriere Lake’s rights by the Canadian and Quebec governments.

Barriere Lake has been demanding that Canada and Quebec honour signed agreements and that Canada appoint an observer to witness and respect the outcome of a new leadership selection in accordance with Barriere Lake’s Customary Governance Code.

“It’s shameful that the government of Quebec would rather throw me in jail than fulfill their legal obligations by implementing signed agreements,” said Acting Chief Nottaway, a father of six who passed his twenty-eighth birthday in jail last Thursday. “Meanwhile, the Government of Canada continues to interfere in our internal affairs while trying to wash its hands of responsibility for this situation.”

Nottaway was charged with three counts of mischief and breach of conditions stemming from March blockades on Barriere Lake’s access road and a November blockade on highway 117 outside the community’s reserve in Northern Quebec. Another blockade in October was violently dismantled by Quebec riot police, who used tear-gas on a crowd that included Elders, youth, and children. More than 40 members of the community of 450 have been charged for these actions.

“Quebec has now joined the company of Ontario, which put the leaders of Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug (KI) First Nation and Ardoch Algonquin First Nation behind bars for peaceful protest. It seems like the provinces’ preferred method for dealing with our rights is to use the police and the courts to punish us until we forget about them,” said Marylynn Poucachiche, a community spokesperson who was arrested during the November blockade.

Crown Attorney France Deschamps asked Judge Jules Barriere for a sentence of 12 months, saying a “clear message” was required “to make sure Nottaway has no desire to do this again, and to discourage the group – because his supporters are waiting to hear what happens here.” Judge Barriere noted that the Crown’s request was “partly illegal,” as 6 months is the maximum possible sentence for summary convictions. But he agreed with Deschamps that a prison sentence was necessary, saying it was “important to pass a clear message to the community.”

The only message the Canadian and Quebec governments are sending is that they are willing to criminalize our community and split apart our families in order to avoid implementing precedent-setting agreements and respecting our leadership customs,” added Nottaway.

Barriere Lake wants Canada and Quebec to uphold signed agreements, dating back to the 1991 Trilateral Agreement, a landmark sustainable development and resource co-management agreement praised by the United Nations and the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples. Canada has been in breach of the agreement since 2001. Quebec signed a complementary Bilateral agreement in 1998, but has stalled despite the 2006 recommendations of two former Quebec Cabinet Ministers, Quebec special representative John Ciaccia and Barriere Lake special representative Clifford Lincoln, that the agreement be implemented.

On March 10th, 2008, the Canadian government rescinded recognition of Acting Chief Benjamin Nottaway and his Council and recognized individuals from a minority faction whom the Barriere Lake Elder’s Council says were not selected in accordance with their Customary Governance Code. On March 2nd and 3rd, community members had set up blockades on their access road to prevent members of this minority faction from entering the reservation, anticipating the Canadian government would try to illegally interfere in Barriere Lake’s internal customary governance for the third time in 12 years.

In 2007, Quebec Superior Court Judge Rejean Paul issued a report that concluded that the current faction recognized by the federal government was a “small minority” that “didn’t respect the Customary Governance Code” in an alleged leadership selection in 2006 [1]. The federal government recognized this minority faction after they conducted another alleged leadership selection in January 2008, even though an observer’s report the government relied on stated there was no “guarantee” that the Customary Governance Code was respected [2].

The Algonquin Nation Secretariat, the Tribal Council representing three Algonquin communities including Barriere Lake, continues to recognize and work with Customary Chief Benjamin Nottaway and his Council.


Media Contacts:

Norman Matchewan, Barriere Lake spokesperson: 819 – 435 – 2171

Marylynn Poucachiche, Barriere Lake spokesperson: 819 – 435 – 2113


[1], pg 26-27
[2] , pg 2

Collectif de Solidarité Lac Barrière


Deputy Minister Wernick gives Algonquins the slip, disparages efforts to end Indian Affairs’ illegal meddling in their governance

August 12, 2008


Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Deputy Minister of Indian Affairs gives Barriere Lake Algonquins the slip, disparages their efforts to end Indian Affairs’ illegal meddling in their governance

Ottawa, ON / – On Friday, August 8, Algonquins from Barriere Lake and their supporters protested at the home of Deputy Minister of Indian Affairs Michael Wernick. They hoped a delegation could meet with the Deputy Minister, but he slipped out of his house just before the Algonquins arrived and told a journalist he was “disappointed” by the Algonquin’s tactics.

“He’s disappointed we were in front of his house,” says Marylynn Poucachiche, a Barriere Lake spokesperson. “Compare that to our disappointment about Indian Affairs’ illegal meddling in our internal affairs and their violation of our constitutionally-protected rights to customary governance.”

“Deputy Minister Wernick shouldn’t feel disappointed,” added Norman Matchewan, a youth spokesperson for Barriere Lake. “He should feel ashamed that he allows this behaviour of Indian Affairs to continue.”

The Barriere Lake Algonquins are demanding that the Government of Canada revoke its illegal decision of March 10, 2008, to recognize as Chief and Council members of a minority faction not selected according to Barriere Lake’s customs nor supported by a majority of the community, and to respect the outcome of a new leadership selection process in accordance with Barriere Lake’s Customary Governance Code.

Instead of meeting Barriere Lake’s demands, Pierre Nepton, the Associate Director of the Quebec Regional Office of Indian Affairs, has suggested further violating their leadership customs by imposing an Indian Act electoral governance system on the community, which would be a direct violation of Barriere Lake’s constitutionally-protected Aboriginal Rights.

The Algonquins also want the Government to uphold signed agreements with the community, dating back to the 1991 Trilateral Agreement, a landmark sustainable development, conservation, and resource co-management process praised by the United Nations and the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples. Canada walked away from the agreement in 2001.

Last month, members of Barriere Lake gathered for multi-day protests outside the office of Minister Lawrence Cannon and the Department of Indian Affairs in Gatineau.

“We’ll leave politicians and bureaucrats alone when the Department of Indian Affairs treats our community fairly, honours its agreements, and stays out of our business,” concluded Matchewan. “Until then, we’re not going to stop protesting.”

– 30 –

Photos of the action (for tif files, please get in touch):

Media Contacts:

Marylynn Poucachiche, Barriere Lake spokesperson: (819) 435 – 2142

Norman Matchewan, Barriere Lake youth spokesperson: (819) 435 – 2142

For background see
a submission to the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues:

Collectif de Solidarité Lac Barrière


IntegrateThis! – SPP Watch Update

June 7, 2008

SPP Watch

SPP WATCH makes the links between daily news items, new government initiatives and the ongoing Security and Prosperity Partnership talks between Canada, Mexico and the United States. As well as regular SPP updates, we will continue to post new reports, interviews and multimedia presentations critical of what is sometimes called the “deep integration” of North America. The site is updated regularly so visit often.

Canada’s beef industry wants to adopt weaker U.S. feed ban rules
According to a Canadian Press article this week, Canada’s beef industry is pressuring the Canadian government to adopt weaker U.S. feed ban rules. (more…)

Ontario working on provincial ID card with Homeland Security approval
Mere weeks after learning that Quebec will be producing “enhanced driver’s licences” (EDLs) by years end to cooperate with U.S. border security demands, Canadian Press reports this week that Ontario will offer similar provincial ID cards for non drivers. (more…)

Premiers Charest and Doer to address 2008 NASCO conference; progress made to Ontario-Quebec trade corridor
Quebec  Premier Jean Charest will give the closing address to the 2008 NASCO conference starting today in Guanajuato, central Mexico, and is expected to describe his vision for continental economic integration, according to La Presse canadienne today. Manitoba Premier Gary Doer will give an opening address to the conference, giving the annual meeting to discuss North American trade corridors a distinctly Canadian feel. (more…)

B.C.-Washington State “enhanced driver’s licences” are “very invasive,” says Ontario privacy official; Province to hold public hearings July 16
According to the Montreal Gazette today, “While Quebec’s privacy commission is being kept in the dark on a proposed enhanced driver’s licence (EDL), or Permis de conduire plus, Ontario’s Information and Privacy commissioner, who has been part of the EDL process in that province since 2006, is calling a public forum on the issue for July 16.” (more…)

NAFTA+ business plans hurting Mexican workers, says journalist
An essay in the Fort Worth, Texas Star-Telegram this weekend by Mexican journalist Anne Vigna describes the impact NAFTA has had on workers in her country. While uglier than Canada’s free-trade history with the United States, the reality is similar in many ways. (more…)

Does Ignatieff support a Canadian energy strategy?
In his Globe and Mail column today, Lawrence Martin asks how much sense it makes that “energy-abundant” Canada imports 40 per cent of its oil from foreign markets. He also reports that Liberal Michael Ignatieff is wondering the same thing. (more…)

For more information on the SPP, please visit

How New York’s financial woes affect Canadians

March 19, 2008

Most Canadians think that the worsening financial crisis in the U.S. has little to do with us. Think again, especially if you live in Ontario and are hoping for some much-needed help from the Ontario Liberals in McGuinty’s budget next week.

“In practical terms, what happened this weekend [to U.S. investment bank Bear Stearns] has profound effects for Ontario”, writes Thomas Walkom in today’s Toronto Star. “In a real sense, Ontario is much more tied into the U.S. economy than any other part of Canada.”

Read: New York’s woes spell trouble here:

In Canada, the furor resulting from the near bankruptcy of the U.S. investment bank Bear Stearns has been dealt with as a business story, of interest to investors perhaps, but not to anyone else. Would that were so.

Most Canadians may have no personal experience with Bear Stearns or any of the other big U.S. financial institutions. But what happens to these New York firms ends up affecting us in very concrete ways. In particular, those hoping that, after years of cheese paring, governments will finally invest in things like rapid transit, housing or infrastructure may find themselves roundly disappointed.

[… continue reading this article here.]

Greenhouse effect on Venus/Quebec & Kyoto/Global warming and world’s poor

November 29, 2007


The first data from the planetary probe Venus Express is helping scientists shape the story of how a young planet with everything needed to support life became instead a sulphurous, baking hell.



Quebec has distanced itself from the Harper government’s anti-Kyoto stance and will voice its dissent at an international climate-change summit next week, the government said.



Wealthy countries must provide at least $86 billion US to the world’s poor by 2015 to help them cope with the floods, droughts, disease and other negative effects from global warming, a new UN report says.




Pedophiles have significantly different brains than people without the condition, indicates new research, suggesting pedophilia may have physical causes.


Press Release on legal action re l’UQAM suppression

November 7, 2007

Press Release

For immediate release




            A legal action against the Université du Québec à Montréal (l’UQAM) has being initiated by Abraham Weizfeld, doctoral student with the Department of Political Science. He was expelled without the right of appeal when he was about to proceed to the Defence hearing for his Thesis. The University Ombudsman, Me. Pierre-Paul Lavoie after an enquiry submitted a seven-page advisory recognizing that the administrative procedures had not been respected and that errors had been committed against Mr. Abraham Weisfeld. This report has been ignored by the University’s non-academic Administration.

            All available avenues of appeal and defence have been sought within the University itself resulting only in his exclusion. The only alternative remains of resorting to a judicial review at the Cour Supérieur du Québec in order to oblige the University Administration to respect its own regulations in this affair in defence of his rights.

Abraham Weizfeld is known for his commitment in defence of the Palestinians during many years in Toronto, Ottawa and now Montréal.

His Thesis is entitled: Nation, Society and The State: the reconciliation of Palestinian and Jewish Nationhood. He is also the Co-Founder of the Alliance of Concerned Jewish Canadians; a cross- Canada anti-occupation organization composed of numerous academics and recently denied affiliation with the Canadian Jewish Congress.

            It is possible that pressure was exerted by the pro-Israel State lobby which seeks to suppress any and all critical work that refers to the Zionist movements’ practices with respect to the Palestinian People, especially when it arises from a Jewish source. Weizfeld is himself also a second-generation Holocaust survivor.


Further information available from :


Me. Patrice Blais

Legal representative


513.211.76.92 cellulaire

Abraham Weizfeld B.Sc., M.A., Ph.D. cand.


Prof. Lawrence Olivier

Thesis director

Day of Action Against the Wars – Saturday, October 27

October 26, 2007

Saturday, October 27 has been declared a Day of Action Against the Iraq and Afghan Wars by the Canadian Peace Alliance, Échec à la Guerre, and their member organizations. Demonstrations will be held across Canada and the U.S..

The Hamilton Coalition to Stop the War and many co-sponsoring groups will be holding a rally at

Hamilton City Hall

at 1:00pm on Saturday.

Last week, the Harper Government announced in the Throne Speech, their intention to extend Canada’s military contribution to the Afghan occupation to 2011. It is clear that the U.S. Administration has no plans to leave either Iraq or Afghanistan, in fact Bush and Cheney are threatening to attack Iran.

It is important to send a strong message to the Canadian Government that Canadians oppose these wars.


Not One More Dead
Bring the Troops Home Now
Pan-Canadian Day of Action against war: October 27

The war in Afghanistan is getting worse day by day. The Government of Canada and its NATO allies tell us that security and reconstruction are improving and that the battle for the hearts and minds of the Afghan people is being won by the West. In reality the situation is much more dire. Reconstruction has been proven to be a smokescreen and the resistance to the occupation is growing. Violence increases every month that our soldiers remain in Kandahar.

It is time to stop the bloodshed – not in 2009 as our politicians suggest – but now. The Canadian Peace Alliance and Collectif Échec à la guerre call on the people of Canada and Quebec to demonstrate this October 27, 2007 and call for the troops to be brought home.

On that day people from Canada and the United States will be marching to end war. Our friends in the US have put out a call for events to end the Iraq war on same date; so we will be jointly marching to end the violence that our governments are intent on continuing.

The state of reconstruction in Kandahar is a shambles. The Senlis Council recently released a report that investigated the
reconstruction claims by the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA). The Senlis Council found little of the promised reconstruction in Kandahar. The Afghan people are starving just outside the gates of the Canadian base. Their local hospitals have no medicine or equipment despite promises of money from CIDA. These failures, coupled with the rise in civilian casualties, have resulted in more people joining the resistance.

And what has been accomplished? Canadians have once again lost the Panjwai district of Kandahar after fighting four separate battles to hold it and being pushed off of that land again and again. After more than 18 months of fighting in the south which has killed hundreds of civilians and dozens of Canadian soldiers, the fight is still on for the same patch of land that was “secured” more than a year ago.

How many more will die on both sides to keep taking and retaking a spot of land?

The poppy trade is booming in Afghanistan with a record crop worth more than $3 billion USD this year. The UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) report showed a 35 per cent increase in opium production from a year ago. This will only get worse the longer NATO stays in Afghanistan. The UNODC argues that more control from the state of Afghanistan will reduce opium production. More than 60 percent of the elected members of the Afghan parliament are connected to warlords and drug barons. To increase the control of the drug warlords in the opium producing areas will not result in a decrease in opium production.

The irony is that opium production had been eradicated by 2001. This increase in production is a direct result of the invasion and occupation of Afghanistan.

The head of the Army in the UK, General Sir Richard Dannatt stated that the war in Afghanistan could go on for a generation. Thousands more civilians and soldiers will die and the resistance to the NATO occupation will grow. It is time to end this war.

On October 27 people in Canada and the US will be marching to call for peace in Iraq and Afghanistan. Thousands will march in a pan-Canadian day of action. Join us!

* Out of Afghanistan – Out of Iraq
Harper and Bush Bring the Troops back!





U.S. Consulate, 360 University Avenue

(TTC: St. Patrick or Osgoode)

Organized by the Toronto Coalition to Stop the War

Not One More Dead! Bring the Troops Home Now!
Pan-Canadian Day of Action Against War: October 27

The Toronto Coalition to Stop the War is Toronto’s city-wide anti-war coalition, comprised of more than fifty labour, faith and community organizations, and a member of the Canadian Peace Alliance.
w: e: tel: 416-795-5863

Please donate! Send a cheque or money order payable to TCSW Canada to:
TCSW, 427 Bloor St W, Box 13, Toronto, Ontario M5S 1X7

peace is possible