Innu won't allow $6B hydro project yet
Labrador Innu are applauding the new plan to develop a hydroelectric power project at Muskrat Falls, but they say it can't go ahead until they are offered adequate compensation.
Labrador Innu Nation Grand Chief Joseph Riche said there are still some outstanding issues that need to be settled by the federal government before the Innu can fully support the project.
Power companies in Newfoundland and Labrador and Nova Scotia announced Thursday they have agreed to develop Muskrat Falls and route the power to Nova Scotia.
"One of the key outstanding issues now is the consent of our Innu people," Riche said.
"But we cannot do that yet, we need the federal government to resolve outstanding issues for our land rights agreement … it has been thirty years in the making and we have lost many of our elders and leaders in that time. Without this, the Lower Churchill project can not proceed."
Another group, the Métis, said Thursday they should be compensated too.
"I sincerely believe.that all aboriginal groups in Labrador should be included in the partnership and of course because the partnership is in our territory that would include the people of Nunatukavut," said Labrador Métis leader Chris Montague.
"It goes directly through our land claim territory. Over the heads of our people. So far, we have been left outside of any agreement and to our people this is not acceptable."
He said the Métis want a deal that is similar to what the Innu are being offered.
The Innu have negotiated a benefits deal called the New Dawn Agreement with Newfoundland and Labrador. It guarantees jobs and financial compensation to the Innu if the development goes ahead.