The Magpie River, located on the northern shore, won international legal recognition on Tuesday in order to protect this waterway particularly threatened by hydroelectric dam projects.
The Magpie is one of the 10 best rivers on the planet for white water activities, and it has attained the status of “legal personality” thanks to two decisions made by the Innu of Ekuanitshit and the MRC de Minganie.
The two decisions are based, among other things, on municipal, regional and international laws. The operation received support from the International Observatory of Nature Rights, whose offices are located in Montreal.
An initiative like this has already begun to legally recognize nature’s rights in New Zealand, the United States and Ecuador. The Maqby River protection that attains the status of “legal personality” is the first of its kind in Canada.
“It’s a paradigm shift,” said Yeni Cardenas, president of the International Observatory of Nature Rights. The groups that made the declaration believe they now have the legal basis to better defend the Magpie River.
Adds Alain Branchwood, General Manager of Société pour la Nature et les parcs. In Quebec, “For us, this is a way to take matters into hand and stop waiting for the Quebec government and Hydro-Quebec.” In this project.
This recognition is also the result of a collaboration between the Innu Council of Ekuanitshit and the MRC de Minganie.
Cry from the heart
“All we hear is the economy and the economy, but not just the economy, there is also the protection of the environment and nature. We must get out of the eternal struggle between economy and the environment,” Jean-Charles Petachu, leader of the Ino community in Equanichet said at a press conference.
A cry from the heart echoed by MRC de Minganie governor, Luc Noël. “We want to protect our ecosystems, we don’t just want to become a reservoir for Hydro-Quebec.”
The two elected officials are particularly critical of the Quebec government for failing to take the opportunity to grant the Magpie River Protected Area status, when a project protecting more than 2,600 square kilometers was introduced.
Both decisions provide for the appointment of river rangers, who will be responsible for ensuring the legal rights of the magpie, but also for providing more supervision and decentralized development. The guards will be appointed by the Ino Board of Equanichet and the Council of MRCD Mingani.
At 290 km long, the river originates in Labrador and flows into Saint Lawrence in the village of Riviere Saint-Jean Magby in Mingani.