Blocking of railways: “it is very possible that it could escalate,” said Ghislain Picard

QUEBEC – The head of the Assembly of First Nations Quebec-Labrador, Ghislain Picard, warns against a police intervention to put an end to the blockade of the railway network of the country by agitating the spectrum of the Oka crisis.

“This year, it has been 30 years since the Oka crisis. We know how we can facilitate and encourage the escalation and, in this case, if there is a forced intervention […] it is very possible that it could escalate”, he said in a press briefing at the national Assembly on Friday.

According to him, the blocking of the tracks by native protesters should serve as a “call to order” to the federal government of its obligations to First Nations.

It is the responsibility of all levels of government to negotiate with Aboriginal people to address the crisis, said Ghislain Picard.

“Since a few days, everyone throws the ball, but it is a collective responsibility that all governments, provincial, territorial and federal,” he said.

Ghislain Picard has also deplored the fact that the prime minister Justin Trudeau is currently at the international in order to convince his counterparts to support the candidacy of Canada to obtain a seat on the security Council of the United Nations.

“It is ironic that Mr. Trudeau is in the international campaign, while in Canada, it hasn’t found anything to ensure the safety of thousands of aboriginal women”, he launched.

The Trudeau government reiterated on Friday that the blockade of railway tracks and must cease in respect of the law, but has called for “dialogue” in order not to inflame tensions between police and Aboriginal people.

The indigenous activists oppose, in solidarity with the First Nation Wet’suwet’en, the pipeline project Coastal GasLink, in British Columbia.

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