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Supreme Court Decision: The Innu will not back down in their $900 million lawsuit against Rio Tinto (IOC)

Press Release

UASHAT MAK MANI-UTENAM, QC, Nov. 15, 2018 – The Innu First Nations of Uashat mak Mani-utenam and Matimekush-Lac John are disappointed by today’s decision of the Supreme Court of Canada to agree to hear an appeal by the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador on the issue of the jurisdiction of Quebec Courts in respect of the Innu’s $900 million lawsuit against Rio Tinto (IOC). After the Quebec Superior Court and the Quebec Court of Appeal had found in favor of the Innu on the issue, there will now be a hearing before the Supreme Court of Canada to determine whether Quebec Courts have jurisdiction over violations of the rights of the Innu caused by the mining operations of Rio Tinto (IOC) in Labrador.

“We remain convinced that our ability to obtain redress for violations of our rights by Rio Tinto (IOC) does not stop at provincial boundaries,” said Mike McKenzie, Chief of Uashat mak Mani-utenam. “This decision today reinforces our desire and determination to ensure that Rio Tinto (IOC) is forced to face up to its actions and the systematic violation of our rights over the past 70 years.”

This is the second time that a procedural matter in this landmark Innu lawsuit against Rio Tinto (IOC), filed in 2013, has reached the Supreme Court of Canada. Rio Tinto (IOC) suffered a loss the first time when it sought to have the Courts throw out the proceedings on the basis that the Innu should have sued the government rather than a private company.

“This constitutes yet another delay for our people who have been waiting for Rio Tinto (IOC), ever since it began operations here in 1950, to finally show us a measure of respect,” added Matimekush-Lac John Chief Tshani Ambroise. “The fact remains that Rio Tinto (IOC) continues to operate on our territory without our consent and that situation can no longer stand.”

For further information: Jean-Alexandre D’Etcheverry, NATIONAL, T 514-843-2369, C 514-910-1328, [email protected]


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