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Ottawa calling for calm after Quebec premier says Mohawk protesters have AK-47s
Published Thursday, February 27, 2020 10:06AM EST Last Updated Thursday, February 27, 2020 11:23AM EST
MONTREAL -- Ottawa is calling for politicians at all levels of government to show more restraint when it comes to commenting on the railway crisis.
This comes after Quebec Premier François Legault claimed Wednesday that Mohawk protesters in Kahnawake were armed with dangerous assault rifles.
Legault stated he wanted to disclose the information because he needed the public to understand why provincial police had not yet moved in.
In response, the Kahnawake Longhouse issued a statement calling the premier's comments dangerous and inflammatory.
"These accusations are absolutely and totally false," the statement argued, insisting the protesters at the the rail blockade were unarmed.
Thursday, Joël Lightbound, parliamentary secretary to federal Public Security Minister Bill Blair, appealed to the entire political class to restore calm.
He noted there are "positive signs" of progress, including a meeting between the Wet'suwet'en hereditary chiefs and federal and provincial ministers in British Columbia.
"From what I hear from the Mohawks, they are looking for a peaceful solution to this crisis," said Lightbound. "So, I think that's really what we need to promote."
Conservative MP Pierre Paul-Hus noted Thursday he believes Legault was truly concerned about safety.
"I think that if the Premier of Quebec takes the trouble to say it, it is because information from the Sûreté du Québec (SQ) and other agencies confirmed it to him,'' he stated. "People don't always really know what is going on. Is it useful, in the current situation, to tell them what's happening? Perhaps, in part so people understand that there are risks and that the weapons owned by Indigenous people are very dangerous."
The Conservative politician also took the time to speak about gun control.
"What concerns me is that, when we talk about firearms, we often talk about banning weapons, removing firearms from citizens who have legal weapons," said Paul-Hus. "Then, we see that the Indigenous people have another way of doing things. They can have automatic weapons like AK-47s."
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 27, 2020.