Kahnawake objects to rezoning of disputed land
Published Monday, August 14, 2017 10:38PM EDT
A long-simmering dispute between the Mohawk Reserve of Kahnawake and the Quebec government over 500 hectares of land near Highway 30 is heating back up.
The disputed land was originally expropriated to Kahnawake after work on the Highway was finished. While neighbouring municipalities Chateauguay, St-Isidore, Ste-Catherine and St-Constant objected and tried to challenge that transfer through the courts, they were ultimately defeated.
However, the provincial government is currently considering Bill 85, a law that would rezone that land for economic development.
“The land doesn’t belong to them,” said Grand Chief Joe Norton. “There’s no clear title of ownership, even though it may be in the hands of the Quebec government."
Norton said he’s not opposed to economic development, provided the Mohawk Council is consulted first.
“We have no problem doing something of that nature but first you have to talk to us,” he said. “You have to clear it with us, you have to make sure our interests are protected in that.”
On Tuesday, a delegation from Kahnawake is set to head to Quebec City to speak before a commission studying the bill. Native Affairs Minister Geoff Kelly said they will not be ignored.
“We’ve made it quite clear that there will be changes on the map that will be included on (the bill) because there are certain lines that shouldn’t have been included,” he said. “So there has been a commitment from our government that those will be looked at.”