Belanger Not Expecting Backlash from Bonneau Case

Tuesday, October 07, 2003 at 14:53




Environment Minister Buckley Belanger doesn’t believe his department’s handling of the Norman Bonneau affair will come back to haunt him in the coming election.


Bonneau is the man who was evicted recently from a parcel of land between Green Lake and Beauval that he calls home. Bonneau says he was exercising his Aboriginal right to live on the land of his ancestors — the department and a Queen’s Bench justice decided Bonneau was guilty of squatting on unoccupied Crown land.


Some of Bonneau’s family members are angry with how it was carried out, and say it will hurt Belanger’s chances of being re-elected.


Belanger says he wasn’t involved in the decision as to when and how the raid was conducted.


However, he’s backing the department’s actions.


Belanger also feels since most northerners that live in the woods do pay permit or lease fees, most northern residents support the province’s decision in this case.


Belanger says there are about 37-hundred leases and permits in use across the North, and says 80 per cent of them belong to Aboriginal people — people Belanger says have no problem paying the fees year after year.