16 May 2016
Delegates to the Annual General Meeting of the Public Service Alliance of Canada’s National Capital Region (PSAC NCR) Council voted on 7 May 2016 to oppose Windmill Development’s so-called ‘Zibi’ condo, office and retail development project on the Chaudières Islands in Ottawa.
“Asinabka, the sacred heartland that includes the falls and islands, is a place where human beings go to better understand their duties and responsibilities to all other life around them,” said Albert Dumont, PSAC NCR’s Aboriginal Elder. “Where water spills, life begins! The fish, birds, animals and plantations are already aware of their sacred instructions. Only we, the human beings, have lost our way. This is why we must defend Asinabka, our most sacred site.”
The resolution, which was brought forward by PSAC NCR’s Aboriginal Peoples Circle, passed with overwhelming support. It endorses the Assembly of First Nations of Quebec and Labrador resolution 27/2015 and the Assembly of First Nations (AFN) resolution 49/2015, both of which oppose Windmill’s project in the absence of consent from Algonquin First Nations. Indeed, nine of ten Algonquin First Nations remain opposed to Windmill’s project, and voted in favour of the aforementioned AFN resolution.
Moreover, the resolution commits PSAC National Capital Region to actively oppose the project.
“It would be a welcome change if the Government of Canada were to recognize the cultural importance of our heritage and history by giving it the space and prominence it deserves,” added Les Maiczan, co-chair of PSAC NCR’s Aboriginal Action Circle. “This is about Canadian history, not only Aboriginal history, and the Falls and Islands should be used to commemorate that relationship, rather than turned over to a corporation for profit.”
The PSAC NCR Council is the highest collective decision-making body of the PSAC in the National Capital Region, and is the political forum for representatives from all 118 of PSAC’s locals in the region.
“As a public service worker and a resident of the national capital, it continues to surprise me that we still don’t have a prominent institution honouring Canada’s Indigenous peoples in our city,” said Larry Rousseau, Regional Executive Vice-President for the National Capital Region. “The Chaudière site is a perfect location for such an institution, and the federal government should work towards making it a reality in partnership with Canada’s Indigenous peoples.”