The Government of Québec, Hydro-Québec’s sole shareholder, has enabled its “entity” to become one of the largest and most profitable energy companies in the western hemisphere. In return, our Nations have been plunged into economic, cultural and social chaos that has no historical equivalent since the contact with Europeans in the 16th century.
In terms of human rights, Pessamit and Wemotaci have a moral obligation to participate in the international debate regarding systemic racism. After a century of denial by the Government of Quebec and apathy by the Government of Canada, we have the firm intention of demonstrating that the human rights of our members have been and still are violated within the framework of a structural and still operational policy of cultural genocide.
Our First Nations cannot stand by in silence while Hydro-Québec financially benefits from our heritage. The government of Quebec and Hydro-Québec have never had and still do not have the moral or constitutional right to operate 33 of the 63 hydroelectric production structures on our traditional lands as they have never consulted or compensated the First Nations concerned. They have even less right to sell this electricity in the United States when 13,200 MW, or 36% of the installed capacity in Quebec out of a total of 36,700 MW, has been usurped from First Nations.
Our two communities were dispossessed of their lands by the Government of Quebec and Hydro-Québec with the consent of the Government of Canada. In total, 21 production structures, some 10,000 km2 of reservoirs, tens of thousands of kilometers of transmission and distribution lines, and new roads, have been illegally installed on our traditional territories. These infrastructures are still operated by Hydro-Québec in violation of the rights recognized by the Constitutional Act of 1982 and the 1996 ruling of the Supreme Court of Canada.
The AFNQL thus offers its support to the Innu Nation in Labrador and to the five First Nations in Quebec, all of which are seeking, through different means, to remind Hydro-Québec of the need to compensate for the impacts of its projects and installations. We are proud to support these First Nations in their efforts.