Photo: Ottawa Citizen
Today, I travelled to Gatineau to support a group of indigenous protesters lead by Roger Fleury who are occupying an archaeological site of historical and cultural significance that is threatened by a road construction project in the city of Gatineau.
Earlier today, I issued an open letter to Gatineau Mayor Maxime Pedneaud-Jobin encouraging him to seek a speedy resolution to the situation, which has now lasted more than a month.
The city refuses to take the time and money to carry out the excavations to the level claimed by the indigenous people who are present on the site.
After 34 days of occupation of the site, the city has announced an additional $70,000 for archaeological research on the site. However, the indigenous people are demanding broader and more transparent research.
In the early afternoon I went to the city hall to meet the mayor and send him my letter.
Twenty-four hours ago he openly threatened to shut down the demonstrators at the site by using the police.
In our meeting, the mayor repeatedly insisted that he had been working in goof faith while simultaneously trying to undermine the credibility of the indigenous demonstrators.
I explained to him that the fact that the City of Gatineau does not have a protocol in place to deal with indigenous issues does not change the fact that he has a responsibility to do the right thing.
For the time being, the legitimate and reasonable demands of the demonstrators have not been met. The City of Gatineau and Mayor Maxime Pedneaud-Jobin have all the tools they need to resolve this issue in the coming days. We will see what happens next.