Economic reconciliation | Hydro-Québec will pay 32 million to Unamen Shipu

(Quebec) In recognition of past damage, Hydro-Québec will pay 32 million over 23 years to the community of Unamen Shipu, where the Petit Mécatina river is in the sights of the state company. For the Innu, this agreement is intended to be a prerequisite for all future negotiations.

The Legault government gave the green light to the Mishta Uashat Lac-Robertson agreement concluded between Hydro-Québec and Unamen Shipu and which provides for the payment of 32 million divided into annual payments for the next 23 years.

This is a compensation agreement for the development in 1995 of the Lac-Robertson hydroelectric power station. The amounts announced Monday will be used to finance various social projects identified by the community. Unamen Shipu wants to build a residence for seniors with 21 places.

The Minister responsible for First Nations and Inuit, Ian Lafrenière, and the Minister of Employment, Kateri Champagne Jourdain, who is also Minister responsible for the North Shore, traveled Monday to the community, located more than 1,300 kilometers away. east of Montreal. The big boss of Hydro-Québec, Michael Sabia, is also on site.

The first time I learned about the history (of the Lac-Roberston power station), I learned that this project had been done without the collaboration of the community. I have only one word: unacceptable. I’m sorry.

Michael Sabia, CEO of Hydro-Québec

“It was my intention to rectify the situation, we were going to do things differently (…) I understand that no amount, no agreement erases the past (…) that said we now have better bases to build a relationship of trust and respect,” he added.

The agreement is intended to be a first step towards the conclusion of future partnerships for energy development. As reported The Press in April, the Legault government, which dreams of new dams, will have its work cut out to obtain the consent of the Innu.


The head of Unamen Shipu, Raymond Bellefleur

During our visit to the community, Chief Raymond Bellefleur was clear: there was no question of discussing the possibility of building a dam on the Petit Mécatina river or new energy projects before the conclusion of an agreement on the Petit Mécatina hydroelectric power station. Lac-Robertson.

This power station is not connected to the main Hydro-Québec transmission network. It supplies nearby communities and those along the Labrador coast of the Strait of Belle Isle.

“The Mishta Uashat Lac-Robertson agreement concretizes the shared intention of the community and Hydro-Québec to maintain a long-term, mutually profitable relationship based on respect, collaboration and trust,” writes Hydro-Québec in a press release published Monday.

In recent months, the Legault government and Hydro-Québec have spared no effort to gain the trust of the community. The Minister of Economy, Innovation and Energy, Pierre Fitzgibbon visited the site twice. Michael Sabia also traveled last November to deliver a letter of apology to the head of the previous administration.

A similar agreement is also in preparation with the neighboring community of Pakua Shipu.

Quebec wants the First Nations to become owners of future energy works to accelerate their development. Hydro-Québec is at a crossroads and must double its energy production by 2050. This means adding 200 terawatt hours of energy, including 60 terawatt hours by 2035. This is the equivalent of building seven and a half times the Romaine megacomplex within 11 years.

The energy appetite to support economic growth and decarbonize Quebec is such that the state-owned company brought out from the drawer where it had been sleeping for 20 years the idea of ​​a hydroelectric project on the Petit Mécatina river, in Basse-Côte -North.

In an interview in April, Pierre Fitzgibbon affirmed that his wish for the Lower North Shore was in the short term to develop wind projects and increase the power of existing structures.


Leave a Comment