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GESPEG, QC, Oct. 29, 2013 – The Innu, Maliseet and Mi’gmaq Chiefs announced today they have formed a Political Coalition to protect the Gulf of St. Lawrence from the dangers posed by oil and gas exploration.
On October 23, 2013 the Chiefs signed – during the Chiefs Assembly of the First Nations of Quebec and Labrador – a Memorandum of Understanding setting out the Coalition’s main objectives:
“Since time immemorial, the waters and shores of the Gulf of St. Lawrence have been used and occupied by the Innu to the north and the Maliseet and Mi’gmaq to the south, for purposes including fishing, hunting, and travel. Our three peoples were the first trading partners of the French from the time that Champlain sailed into the Gulf’s waters over 400 years ago”, declared Chief Claude Jeannotte on behalf of Mi’gmawei Mawiomi.
“The tiny reserves the federal government set aside for the Innu, Maliseet and the Mi’gmaq out of their vast territory are now found around the Gulf, located in Québec, Labrador, on the Island of Newfoundland, in Prince Edward Island,Nova Scotia and New Brunswick. Beyond those lands, however, our three peoples continue to use and occupy the waters of the Gulf, exercising their Aboriginal and treaty rights and the title that they have never surrendered”, Chief Jean-Charles Piétacho of behalf of Innu Nation from Québec explained.
“These facts mean that we have rights that are recognized and affirmed by section 35 of the Constitution Act, 1982. Among other things, these rights mean that the federal and provincial governments are obliged to consult and accommodate us in order to avoid any irreparable harm to the exercise of our rights. Serious infringements of our rights require our consent1“, declared Grand Chief Anne Archambault, on behalf of the Maliseet Nation.
About the Coalition
The Coalition is formed by the Innu, Maliseet and Mi’gmaq Nations and intended to protect the Gulf of St. Lawrencefrom the dangers posed by oil and gas exploration. The Coalition Speak with a common voice on issues related to the Gulf of St. Lawrence. The Coalition spokesperson are Chief of Gespeg Claude Jeannotte and the Executive Director of Mi’gmawei Mawiomi Secretariat, Troy Jerome.
1 Haida Nation v. British Columbia (Minister of Forests),  3 SCR 511, para. 47, 24.
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