HudBay sues First Nation over Idle No More blockade
A Manitoba First Nation is being sued by Hudson Bay Mining and Smelting for a series of Idle No More protests and blockades.
The company claims protestors from Mathias Colomb Cree Nation (MCCN) caused a safety risk to employees when they blocked the entrance to where the company's gold, zinc and copper mine is being developed near Snow Lake in January and March.
Protestors claim it was the company that closed the gate. They also disagree it was a blockade.
"Actually we didn't organize blockades. We organized demonstrations where you go and exercise some of our treaty rights on our ancestral lands," said MCCN Chief Arlen Dumas.
Dumas said HudBay and the Manitoba government should have obtained consent from area aboriginals before going ahead with development. The band never surrendered its rights to the land and resources, he said.
Work is well underway on development of the 916-hectare property.
A court hearing on the lawsuit is scheduled for Wednesday. Hudson Bay Mining and Smelting also wants an injuction against any further protests.
But Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs Grand Chief Derek Nepinak said the court action will not shut down the protests.
"Absolutely not, I think it's going to pour some fuel on a fire and it's going to make things a lot warmer," he said.
He also expects more lawsuits to follow.
"You're kind of seeing the counter to many of the Idle No More initiatives that have been launched across the country. It's not just happening here in Manitoba, it's happening in Alberta, Saskatchewan, Ontario," Nepinak said.
With files from The Canadian Press