rabble blogs are the personal pages of some of Canada's most insightful progressive activists and commentators. All opinions belong to the writer; however, writers are expected to adhere to our guidelines. We welcome new bloggers -- contact us for details.

Activist Communique: Mining company suspends exploration in Algonquin territory

Please chip in to support more articles like this. Support rabble.ca for as little as $5 per month!

Algonquins of Barriere Lake are celebrating the suspension of mining exploration in their territory by Cartier Resources Inc. -- a Val d'Or-based corporation -- after it had begun line-cutting in preparation for its mining exploration earlier this year. On the company's request, the government of Quebec has now suspended the term of Cartier Resource's 1,052 mineral claims in the territory until July 3, 2013, No exploration activity can take place on the claims during this time period while further consultations take place.

This prompted fierce resistance from members of the Algonquins of Barriere Lake who expressed concerns about the resource extraction, especially with regards to land ownership -- the Algonquin Territory is considered as unceded according to British Common Law -- and mining ethics;  both are situations that apparently violate international and nation-to-nation protocols for the management of indigenous lands.

This includes, for example, the yet-to-be-honoured Trilateral Agreement signed in 1991 between Barriere Lake and the Quebec and Canadian governments, the latest examples of the provincial and federal governments' long history of not honouring agreements and treaties with First Nations.

Accorded under the recently signed United Nations Declarations on the Rights of Indigenous Persons (UNDRIP) is the right for indigenous peoples to have control "over developments affecting them and their lands, territories and resources will enable them to maintain and strengthen their institutions, cultures and traditions, and to promote their development in accordance with their aspirations and needs."

According to a July 8, 2011, press release by Cartier Resources, the corporation is suspending its mining exploration in Algonquins of Barriere Lake territory after discussions with the government and community members.

Philippe Cloutier, President and CEO of Cartier was quoted in the release: "We believe that our discussions and the initiative to suspend exploration work on this territory and requests for specific assistance from the Ministère de Ressources naturelles et de la faune and the Secrétariat aux affaires autochtones, confirms our respect for stakeholders in this area and will contribute to future development of the project."

In a statement released this morning, Norman Matchewan -- a community spokesperson for Barriere Lake -- said, "the community applauds Cartier Resources for respecting our wishes that no mining exploration and drilling proceed. The company is setting an important precedent by not moving ahead without the free, prior and informed consent of the community, a right recognized by the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples."

While the mining exploration by Cartier Resources has been suspended, the Algonquins will continue to press for more permanent solutions from the Quebec government. "We call on the Quebec government to follow Cartier Resources' lead by withdrawing any mineral claims in the entire area of the Trilateral Agreement until they have implemented the Trilateral Agreement. If Premier Jean Charest is committed to sustainable development and a just relationship with First Nations, this should be his natural next step," said Matchewan.

Thank you for reading this story…

More people are reading rabble.ca than ever and unlike many news organizations, we have never put up a paywall – at rabble we’ve always believed in making our reporting and analysis free to all, while striving to make it sustainable as well. Media isn’t free to produce. rabble’s total budget is likely less than what big corporate media spend on photocopying (we kid you not!) and we do not have any major foundation, sponsor or angel investor. Our main supporters are people and organizations -- like you. This is why we need your help. You are what keep us sustainable.

rabble.ca has staked its existence on you. We live or die on community support -- your support! We get hundreds of thousands of visitors and we believe in them. We believe in you. We believe people will put in what they can for the greater good. We call that sustainable.

So what is the easy answer for us? Depend on a community of visitors who care passionately about media that amplifies the voices of people struggling for change and justice. It really is that simple. When the people who visit rabble care enough to contribute a bit then it works for everyone.

And so we’re asking you if you could make a donation, right now, to help us carry forward on our mission. Make a donation today.


We welcome your comments! rabble.ca embraces a pro-human rights, pro-feminist, anti-racist, queer-positive, anti-imperialist and pro-labour stance, and encourages discussions which develop progressive thought. Our full comment policy can be found here. Learn more about Disqus on rabble.ca and your privacy here. Please keep in mind:


  • Tell the truth and avoid rumours.
  • Add context and background.
  • Report typos and logical fallacies.
  • Be respectful.
  • Respect copyright - link to articles.
  • Stay focused. Bring in-depth commentary to our discussion forum, babble.


  • Use oppressive/offensive language.
  • Libel or defame.
  • Bully or troll.
  • Post spam.
  • Engage trolls. Flag suspect activity instead.