Montreal

Oka calls for moratorium on land transfer to Kanesatake

Oka Mayor Pascal Quevillon said an RCMP presence is needed to restore law and order in Kanesatake.

Liberal MP Marc Miller says federal government has no intention on pausing settlement process

Tension in the area is mounting over a private developer's plan to return land to the Mohawks of Kanesatake. (Ryan Remiorz/The Canadian Press)

The Quebec town of Oka is calling on the federal government to impose a moratorium on the proposed transfer of lands to the neighbouring community of Kanesatake.

It is also asking for an RCMP detachment to police the Mohawk community.

The proposals were contained in resolutions adopted Tuesday evening addressed to the federal and provincial governments as well as to the Mohawk Council of Kanesatake.

Mayor Pascal Quevillon held the first public council meeting since tensions mounted after a local developer proposed returning privately held lands to the adjacent Mohawk community, about 50 kilometres west of Montreal.

Quevillon told the meeting that Oka wants to live in harmony with the neighbouring Mohawk community, saying strong ties between the two have developed over 300 years of history.

But the council is calling on Ottawa to hold consultations that would take into account the concerns of Oka residents over the proposed transfer of land. The mayor also said an RCMP presence is needed to restore law and order in Kanesatake.

Liberal MP Marc Miller told Radio-Canada Wednesday that the federal government has no intention of putting the process on hold.

"When I hear words like 'moratorium,' it bothers me, because if you think of the people of Kanesatake, there has been a moratorium for them for 29 years," he said.

With files from Radio-Canada

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