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Legault told reporters in Quebec City on Wednesday that provincial police have not dismantled the barricade because: "We effectively have information that confirms there are weapons — AKs, to name them," in the Mohawk territory of Kahnawake.
The premier did not specify whether he was referring to weapons located at the blockade itself or in the community at large. However, Kahsennenhawe Sky-Deer, an elected member of the Mohawk Council of Kahnawake, said "using terms like 'armed' and 'AKs' is extremely inflammatory and, in fact, dangerous.
It could be interpreted as an intent to incite a response. Kahnawake Peacekeepers, who police the territory, have also called Legault's comments "irresponsible," saying there are no more guns on the reserve than anywhere else in the region. A Quebec Superior Court justice issued an injunction Tuesday ordering an end to all blockades of Canadian Pacific Railway lines in the province. The first Quebec blockade went up in Kahnawake on Feb. He said he does not want the injury of a police officer to rest on his conscience, and given the difficulty of the situation, he understands why the SQ "is taking its time to prepare an intervention.
The SQ's communications team appeared to be caught off-guard by Legault's remarks. When contacted by CBC News, a police spokesperson asked for time to provide a response, but still was not ready with a comment when contacted again an hour later. And in Ottawa, federal Public Safety Minister Bill Blair said his office is aware of Legault's comments but has no information about assault rifles. Both elected and traditional leaders in Kahnawake say the Mohawk Peacekeepers have sole jurisdiction in the territory.
The Peacekeepers indicated earlier this week they will not enforce an injunction, and the Mohawk Council of Kahnawake reaffirmed that statement Wednesday, telling reporters that Peacekeepers are not working with the SQ to dismantle the blockade. The force's communications officer, Const. Kyle Zachary, said Wednesday the Peacekeepers have not received an injunction yet, and they are not sure when they will. We have responsible gun owners just as anywhere else.
He said nobody in or out of Kahnawake wants "another ," referring to the Oka Crisis — a day standoff between a group of Mohawk protesters and provincial police as well as the Canadian military that was triggered by an SQ raid in which a police officer was killed. Sky-Deer said Legault's comments play to a stereotype that the Mohawk people are not peaceful.
It might make it easier to justify charging into Mohawk territory to forcefully dismantle the barricade, she said, but it's not an accurate representation of the tight-knit community. In the s, the community lost its direct access to the St. Lawrence River, when riverfront land was expropriated for the construction of the St. Lawrence Seaway. In a Facebook post Wednesday, Ghislain Picard, the Assembly of First Nations' regional chief for Quebec and Labrador, said Legault "is making very dangerous and offensive comments by suggesting the presence of weapons in Kahnawake.
He encouraged the premier "to be more careful on his public outbursts and instead promote a peaceful resolution. Social Sharing. Mohawks in Kahnawake defiant as injunctions seek end to rail blockades across Quebec Mohawk Council addresses community concerns over Wet'suwet'en solidarity action. Related Stories Analysis.Quebec ak
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Quebec premier's claim that protesters have AKs at blockade 'reckless,' says Mohawk Council of Kahnawake