After suffering what they describe as “mockery” by Hydro-Québec after they had asked him to use the surplus electricity for commercial purposes, the Innu of La Romaine go on Parliament Hill today to meet with the ministers of Aboriginal Affairs and Natural Resources.
The leaders of the Montagnais Council Unamen Shipu (La Romaine) want to be heard and above be accepted with respect. Last Tuesday, they met the team of Hydro-Québec in Aboriginal relations and lawyers from the Crown corporation. They emerged from the meeting with the feeling of being treated like second-class citizens.
“I was happy that Hydro-Québec agrees to meet us, but I was very disappointed because I felt they were laughing at the Innu community. The representatives of Hydro-Québec told us to go talk Innu us in a tone that was not mistaken, “said La Presse Vice Chief Georges Bellefleur.
Dissatisfied with the agreement reached in 2008 with Hydro-Quebec, the Innu Romaine adopted a resolution in March, for “reparation and compensation from Hydro-Quebec.” A request for a meeting had then been formulated.
Thus, Hydro-Québec received members of the Board of Unamen Shipu Tuesday in its offices in Quebec. But the discussion on the validity of the agreement would have turned sour, according to Mr. Bellefleur.
According to him, Hydro-Québec has tried to drive a wedge between the Innu communities on sharing the money received annually by each of them. “Their intention is there to baffle us, but we do not embark on that game,” said Mr. Bellefleur.
If one believes Hydro-Québec, “the meeting was cordial and politely took place.” “The sharing of funds between the communities is at the heart of the dispute and this concerns,” said spokesman Serge Abergel, adding that “the company remains committed to maintaining good relations.”
The future with hydrogen
Also, discussed the future of the Innu community, which wants to hand over surplus electricity to produce and sell hydrogen. “But we were told that there was no surplus electricity and it even lacked power,” recalls Mr. Bellefleur amazement.
In the public square, the corporation believes, however its surplus electricity to 2015 to 6.6 TWh.
Mr. Abergel wanted to correct the impression that the Innu surpluses are “wasted”. “This is not the case. They are stored in the form of water, “he explained.
At Unamen Shipu is estimated that these surpluses correspond to a “proprietary energy block Innu.” The band council arguments and outline of the hydrogen project will be presented this afternoon the Minister responsible for Native Affairs, Geoffrey Kelley, and his colleague Pierre Arcand, Minister of Energy and Natural Resources, Head of Planning Nord and Côte-Nord region.
Two other Innu leaders will attend the meeting in solidarity with the will expressed by their colleagues Unamen Shipu develop hydrogen subsidiary.