Metis want to stop N.L. hydro project
A Labrador Metis leader says his group plans to seek an injunction to stop hearings into developing a hydroelectric project at Muskrat Falls on Labrador's Churchill River.
Chris Montague of the NunatuKavut Metis Nation said the group is meeting with a lawyer Tuesday morning.
He said the Metis group expects to file an injunction against Nalcor, the provincial environmental department, and the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency, as soon as Tuesday or Wednesday.
In December, the NunatuKavut Metis Nation said a plan to tap hydro power on the Churchill River will go nowhere unless it is given a land claim agreement.
"The project will not proceed unless we are included," said NunatuKavut president Chris Montague said Dec. 10.
NunatuKavut members have redefined themselves as the Inuit of southern and central Labrador. Their group — formerly known as the Labrador Métis Nation — hasn't been recognized by Newfoundland and Labrador.
"We are the people who ranged in Labrador from the coast to far inland. We set up the traplines," Montague said Thursday at a briefing aimed at underscoring the group's claim to land that includes most of southern Labrador, but also the Muskrat Falls site where Nalcor intends to build a hydroelectric power station.
As the Labrador Métis Nation, the group was constantly stymied in attempts at recognition.
Premier Kathy Dunderdale said Thursday that Newfoundland and Labrador does not have a new response for negotiating with Montague.
"Our established policy is that we negotiate [benefit agreements] with groups that have established land claims," Dunderdale said.
The NunatuKavut claim is currently before the federal government.
If Ottawa does grant official recognition, Dunderdale said Newfoundland and Labrador would sit down with NunatuKavut negotiators.
Until then, the government said it is proceeding with the Lower Churchill project, which was announced last month. Nalcor and Halifax-based Emera Inc. have partnered on a plan to deliver power to Newfoundland and to Nova Scotia, with surplus power then to be sold to other markets.
The Lower Churchill deal has the provisional support of Labrador's Innu, although it is contingent on resolution of land claims issues with the federal government.