Support Growing for Beauval Man in Land Dispute

Monday, September 15, 2003 at 15:52




An expert in international indigenous law has agreed to assist a Beauval man that is involved in a land dispute with the province.


Norman Bonneau has been ordered to leave an area of land south of Beauval which he calls home.


A judge recently agreed with the province that Bonneau was occupying Crown land illegally.


Bonneau had until September 8th to leave the area, but has refused to go, saying he has the Aboriginal right to remain on the land.


Now, Vancouver-based indigenous law expert Janice Switlo has decided to advise Bonneau, who until now, has been representing himself.


Switlo says she’s agreed to help Bonneau because she feels this is a classic case of one people group trying to impose its will on another people group.


So far, the province hasn’t made any move to forcibly remove Bonneau from the land in question, but his supporters say they will form a protest camp at the site in question if that happens. Switlo hopes her assistance in this matter will prevent this conflict from escalating into violence.


Meantime, Churchill River MP Rick Laliberte says Bonneau’s conflict with the province is another reason why the North should establish resource management councils along the lines of the existing fur blocks.


Laliberte has been pitching this idea for a couple of years, and feels it should be the northern equivalent to the rural municipality model found in southern Saskatchewan.


Laliberte says these proposed resource management councils in the North would be the perfect body to settle this type of dispute.


Laliberte says it’s becoming clear that the province and Ottawa have to settle Aboriginal land rights issues once and for all.