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MNN. Nov. 15, 2009. The Mercier Bridge is 1.4 kilometers long, spans the St. Lawrence River and Seaway between Montreal and Kahnawake on the south shore. It was built in 1932 beside the CPR Bridge which was built in 1885.

Mohawk Nation, Quebec and Canada contracted the Mohawks to strengthen the steel structure and replace the reinforced concrete bridge deck of three access ramps on Mohawk Territory. It is the largest bridge repair project in Canadian history. Canada is paying $57 million and Quebec $9 million. Over 1000 direct and indirect jobs are being created per year. Work started on April 25, 2008.

The Montreal Iron Workers Union Local 711 is trying to kick the Mohawks out because they don’t have the CCQ cards. Commission de la construction du Quebec cards are issued by the government which controls the union.

CCQ rules and regulations violate the Union’s international charter. Quebec is the only place on Great Turtle Island where a union card is worthless.

Local 711 gives Mohawks union books but tells them to work in the US or other provinces. Retired ironworkers say 711 doesn’t let those who have books from locals 40 or 361 from NY City work in Quebec or Kahnawake, even though they are considered to be highly skilled ironworkers.

Wayne Rice, is head of the local Mohawk Bridge Consortium, a group of contractors in Kahnawake. He had a meeting in August 2009 with Pierre Desroche, the 711 business agent.

711 is trying to invade our sovereignty by disqualifying the Mohawks that don’t have CCQ cards. Desroche urged Rice to send his workers without cards home and hire non-natives. This would put 80 Mohawks out of work.

Jacques Dubois, President of the union’s District Council of Eastern Canada, sent letters to certain men threatening loss of their union books and never working again if they work on the Mercier Bridge project. 9 men quit. 8 had cards and one was promised one. None have been provided jobs or a card.

Rice is trying to protect the men, women and the community now and in the future from jurisdictional encroachment by foreigners. Rice sees other trades in the community being forced under Quebec’s control so that jobs will go to non-natives and taxes can be extorted from us.

Quebec is getting caught in a web of lawlessness. Rice is apparently writing to Joseph Hunt, General President, of the AFL-CIO Iron Workers International Union in Washington DC about these racist practices. He is looking into setting up a local in Kahnawake.

MBC continues to put Mohawk workers on the bridge. Union members elsewhere say it is highly unusual to improperly deny jobs and should be investigated at the highest level.

The Mohawk Nation is inherently sovereign. Kahnawake is on unsurrendered Haudenosaunee land. In 1974 Jean Chretien, the Minister of Indian Affairs, illegally signed an Order in Council declaring it a reserve. He violated internationally recognized standards for respecting political, economic and human rights as set out in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, UN Convention on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and other international legal instruments. UN General Assembly Resolution 1541 [XV] requires the informed consent of the people before they are included in another state. We have never legally or voluntarily become part of Canada.

The Mohawks’ position supported by international law is that when anyone comes into our sovereign territory, they must abide by our laws and can’t force their authority on us.

711 recently filed an injunction in Montreal Superior Court to enforce their laws in Kahnawake. As we are a nation, this issue belongs in the International Court.

Supporting this position is the recent ruling in 2008 by the FCC Federal Court of Canada. A Mohawk woman was beaten by Canada Border Services Agents at Akwesasne. She requested an investigation. FCC ruled that the victim must pay for the Crown’s costs because she lives in Kahnwake and is not a resident of Canada. FCC declared that Kahnawake is sovereign and not in Canada.

Based on this ruling, in June 2009 the Maliseet of Tobique in New Brunswick took over and kept the dam and electric generating plant that was built in the middle of their territory.

Dubois tried to unfairly tarnish the reputation of the Mohawks. He prejudiced the Mohawk Bridge Consortium and the workers on the Mercier Bridge Project by stating they are not qualified to do the work and it is a catastrophe.

On August 29, 1907, we lost most of our ironworkers when the Quebec [City] Bridge collapsed into the St. Lawrence River. We later learned this was due to deficiencies in material and construction by the contractors. We don’t want another bridge disaster, especially since we cross it every day. We are a nation and must be legally dealt with as such.

Contact: Wayne Rice, Mohawk Bridge Consortium tel. 450-635-6063

Kahentinetha MNN Mohawk Nation News, Note: Your financial help is needed and appreciated. Please send your donations by check or money order to “MNN Mohawk Nation News”, Box 991, Kahnawake [Quebec, Canada] J0L 1B0. Or go to PayPal on MNN website. Nia:wen thank you very much. Go to MNN KAHNAWAKE category for more stories; New MNN Books Available now!

FCC Federal Court of Canada Prothonotary Mireille Tabib order, October 23, 2008, Mohawks residing in Akwesasne and Kahnawake are not residents of Canada. Two supporting FCC orders: Judge Francois Lemieux, January 29, 2009; and Claude Morissette, March 16, 2009. [FCA t-1309 and T-288-09].

Iron Workers International Union, % Joseph Hunt, General President, AFL-CIO,400 – 1750 NY Ave. NW, Washington DC 202-383-4810 PRESSURE SHOULD BE PUT ON LOCAL 711 AND QUEBEC TO STAY OUT OF KAHNAWAKE AND LET THE MEN WORK UNMOLESTED ON OUR TERRITORY.

Local 711 Montreal, Ville d’Anjou, QC. H1J 2Y7 514-328-2808 Tollfree 1-800-461-0711; District Council of Eastern Canada, President Jacques Dubois 514-328-1482.

Mercier Bridge Deck Replacement Project, 1111 St. Charles St. W, West Tower, Suite 600, Longueuil, Quebec J4K 5G4 450-651-8771, managed by Jacques Cartier and Champlain Bridge Inc., Andre Girard, Federal Bridge Corporation Ltd. 450-468-5775; Serge Valliers Cell 514-892-7205, Communications 514-849-7000 [230]

John Baird, Minister, Transport Canada 613-990-2309 Media 613-993-0055; Karine White 613-643-3804, Daniel Desharnois 613-418-643-6980, Natalie Sarafin 613-991-0700 & Danny Kingberry 613-993-0055.

Michael M. Fortier, Public Works, Federick Baril 613-868-1128; Jean Marc Fournier, Quebec Minister of Monteregie Region; Harold Fortin, Revenue Canada 418-643-3804.


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