The court granted an injunction on Wednesday ordering the lifting of road obstacles on Chemin Lépine-Clova, in the upper Laurentians. He thus agrees with ZEC Petawaga, which had requested it last week.
Since mid-September, Anichinabe activists have been limiting access to certain territories in protest against the original hunting in La Vérendrye wildlife reserve, which they consider excessive. Their checkpoints have repercussions on other surrounding hunting grounds.
In her judgment rendered Wednesday, Judge Marie-Josée Bédard, of the Gatineau courthouse, demands that the Kitigan Zibi Band Council and “any other person having knowledge of this order” refrain from erecting “any dam , barrier or obstacle ”hindering access to the road. The injunction is in effect for 10 days.
The judge authorizes the ZEC to dismantle the roadblocks and request police assistance, if necessary. She recognizes the legitimacy of the Anichinabe claims, but deplores the threats and intimidation claimed by an alien hunter.
ZEC Petawaga Secretary-Treasurer Jean-Marc Bélanger said he was “very satisfied” with Wednesday’s decision. “We did not file this request for the fun, it is very serious. Our hunting season was compromised. Otherwise, we were forced to reimburse our members, ”he says.
Mr. Bélanger is now hoping the police will enforce the injunction.
In recent weeks, under the leadership of the Anichinabe community of Lac Barrière, the Aboriginals have called for a five-year moratorium on sports hunting for moose in La Vérendrye wildlife reserve. They are worried about the decreasing size of the herd. Members of the communities of Kitcisakik, Lac Simon and Kitigan Zibi are also part of the movement.
“We never ceded our territory, which is still occupied today [par l’État canadien]. Our members are on the ground and protesting peacefully to protect the moose, “Kitigan Zibi chief Dylan Whiteduck said in an interview with Duty hours before the court’s decision was announced. Mr. Whiteduck then hoped for a judgment “positive and in the direction of reconciliation”.
At the time of this writing, it had not been possible to speak to him again.
Restricted checkpoints limit access to the provincial reserve, but also to ZECs, outfitters and free territories. To access these areas, hunters often have to first cross the La Vérendrye reserve.
In reaction to the fears raised by the Anichinabe in 2019, the Quebec Ministry of Forests, Wildlife and Parks (MFFP) carried out an aerial inventory of moose in the La Vérendrye wildlife reserve last winter. He found the presence of 2.06 animals per 10 square kilometers – a decrease of 35% from the inventory taken in 2008.
Although the MFFP does not deem these results “critical”, it has reduced the supply of sport hunting permits in the wildlife sanctuary by 30% for this fall.