While the solidarity deputy Sol Zanetti said he was proud, last Friday at the Blue Room, of the indigenous activists who took part in the Oka crisis, the mayor of the municipality concerned, Pascal Quevillon, sees in it "a lack of judgment and common sense”.
• Read also: Sol Zanetti “proud” of the Oka crisis
"It's as if he was encouraging people to take out their weapons," said the mayor of Oka on Monday during an interview with the QMI Agency.
"For a member of the National Assembly to say loud and clear that he agrees with what happened in 1990, I find that irresponsible," he added.
Last Friday, Sol Zanetti said he was proud “of the indigenous peoples in Quebec who made Oka and Idle No More”, while denouncing the violence which had led to the death of Corporal Marcel Lemay. The deployment of some 4,000 Canadian soldiers had been necessary to resolve the crisis.
Sol Zanetti had indicated, on the sidelines of the National Council of Quebec Solidarity the next day, that the Oka crisis was according to him "a moment when the indigenous peoples rose up courageously to defend who they were and claim political sovereignty". "I'm not proud of the violence, that's not what I mean, but we can't reduce this event to just that," he said.
Only one side of the coin
“From what I understand, we only see one side of the coin in his version, reacted the mayor of Oka. On the other side of the coin, we have dozens of Oka citizens who were forced to leave their homes following the Oka crisis. Several businesses had to close in Oka.”
Pascal Quevillon also notes that the weapons that were used at the time were assault weapons that entered Canada illegally. He also deplores that still in 2022, major problems of gun killings are occurring in Greater Montreal.
"Encouraging indigenous communities to take up arms, I don't think that's the solution," noted Pascal Quevillon, who also expressed his dissatisfaction on his Facebook page. Let's imagine that the city of Quebec wants to carry out a project on land that it owns. We know that Quebec City is claimed by four different communities. If these communities rise up and take up arms, will the member for Québec solidaire go to the barricades with them? Will he encourage this?” asked the mayor.
Sol Zanetti believes, however, that “positive things” have resulted from the Oka crisis, evoking “significant awareness in Quebec society in relation to the condition [of the indigenous peoples]”.
“I am not at all on this, reacted the mayor of Oka. It is a completely different reality that we live on the ground here. As much on the side of the Mohawk people as on the side of the citizens of Oka. We never caught up with what had been won before 1990 with the Mohawk community. The Oka crisis is not cured. It is not an event that has made our two communities evolve, it is a sad event that has set them back. I don't know where Mr. Zanetti gets his information."