Innu block roads in northern Quebec

Provincial police have been mobilized to a spot on Highway 138 in northern Quebec where local Innu erected roadblocks outside the town of Sept-Îles over the weekend. Dissident Uashat-Maliotenam band members who say they’ve been shut out of the province’s resource-development plan used trees, traffic cones and debris to block the highway, only allowing emergency vehicles to pass. The Uashat-Maliotenam band council distanced itself from the demonstrators, saying “in the immediate future, the band prefers mediation to resolve this crisis.” Protesters say they have been systematically excluded from talks related to Quebec’s Plan Nord, a mega-scheme to exploit natural resources in the region. Quebec wants to exploit mining, forest and energy resources in a 1.2-million-square-kilometer zone—an area more than twice the size of France. By the end of 2010, a total of 24 of the 33 First Nation communities in the impacted territory had signed agreements with the provincial government. (Sun News, Canada, Oct. 16)