Skip to main content

Indigenous group files lawsuit against Quebec government over Northvolt battery plant


An Indigenous community near Montreal says it had filed a lawsuit against the Quebec and Canadian governments for allegedly failing to conduct adequate consultations before greenlighting the Northvolt electric vehicle battery project.

The Mohawk Council of Kahnawà:ke (MCK) is seeking an order from the Quebec Superior Court for the provincial and federal governments to consult the Mohawks of Kahnawà:ke about the plant's potential impacts on the local habitat. 

"The MCK is seeking a declaration that both Quebec and Canada have breached the duty to consult, both with respect to their decisions to fund the project and, in the case of Quebec, by authorizing the destruction of wetlands without completing consultation," reads a press release from the MCK issued early Tuesday evening.

"The MCK is also challenging the legislation that governs work in wetlands, arguing that these laws fail to consider, let alone respect, Indigenous rights."

In an interview with CTV News Tuesday evening, Council Chief Ross Montour said his community was blindsided when the project was announced late last year.

"We're outraged by the disingenuousness of government to be able to say on the one hand they respect the duty to consult and then turn it into a bit of a sham. My concern for the environment is very deeply held," he said.

"The issue is not whether or not we are in favour of green energy or not. What we are opposed to is not even being consulted, not being taken seriously on the importance of protecting endangered species. Find another place for it. Why does it have to be that place? Why does it have to destroy a wetland?"

The MCK is the latest group to voice ecological concerns about the project.

Last week, work on the plant was temporarily halted after the Quebec Center for Environmental Law (CQDE) and three citizens applied to the Superior Court for an injunction.

They argue the plant would cause irreparable harm to the region's biodiversity, pointing out that a housing project in the same area was refused less than a year ago due to environmental concerns.

The MCK makes a similar argument.

"The site contains some of the highest quality wetlands in the region. Wetlands are essential ecosystems, serving as critical habitat for fauna and flora, and providing multiple ecosystem services such as cleaning water, storing carbon, and retaining and redistributing water during major storm events, helping to prevent flooding," the release stated. Top Stories

Stay Connected