Greenpeace Canada

Greenpeace Canada

May 13, 2005 11:37 ET

Ile René-Levasseur: Michel Chartrand and Greenpeace join Innus

Ile René-Levasseur: Michel Chartrand and Greenpeace join the Innus of Betsiamites Attention: Assignment Editor, Environment Editor, News Editor, Government/Political Affairs Editor MONTREAL/QUEBEC--(CCNMatthews - May 13, 2005) - The Innu community of Betsiamites today received significant support in its struggle to protect l'Ile René-Levasseur. The respected union leader Michel Chartrand and the environmental group Greenpeace, amongst others, have publicly lent their support to this first nations community.

The Innu have been dealing with the Charest government for about a year but the provincial government is ignoring their concerns and is forcing the first nations community to take legal recourse.

Steven Guilbeault, the Director of Greenpeace Quebec, underlined the importance and relevance of the Innu case while highlighting the fact that it is on l'Ile René-Levasseur that some of Quebec's oldest populations of trees are to be found. "Twenty percent of the island is protected, and that's simply not enough. Quebec lags far behind when it comes to following through on its promise to protect 8% of Quebec's territory from all exploitation by 2008. Why not make the whole island the next fully protected area in Quebec?" said Guilbeault.

In 2002 the Bureau d'audiences publiques sur l'environnement had highlighted a shocking lack of knowledge when it came to the natural environment of l'Ile René-Levasseur. "The government has nonetheless done little to remedy their lack of understanding of the importance of this natural environment," Guilbeault added.

For his part, Michel Chartrand underlined the importance for Quebec of better maintaining its natural resources and the ancestral rights of its indigenous peoples. "The future of Quebec is in its natural resources, particularly its forests, which we must stop destroying," said Chartrand.

"I am pleased to see that we are not alone in wanting to avoid the devastation of our forest heritage at l'île René-Levasseur and in wanting to have healthier management of our natural resources, which will take into account the rights of indigeneous peoples", added Chief Raphaël Picard.

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For more information contact:
Éric Cardinal Mélissa Filion
Communications Coordinator Forest campaigner
Council of the Innus of Pessamit Greenpeace
Tel: (450) 638-5159 (514) 933-0021 x12
Cell: (514) 258-2315

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