Posted by: rosemary | September 10, 2009


Freddy Jolly hands off the baton, with message enclosed, to first runner Steve Leckman at the start of the marathon

Freddy Jolly hands off the baton, with message enclosed, to first runner Steve Leckman at the start of the marathon

(Sept. 9th) Alliance Romaine’s “Run for our Rivers” campaign kicked off in style Wednesday morning outside Matagami. A group of sympathizers from the Abitibi and James Bay Regions accompanied runner Steve Leckman to the junction of Highway 109, where Cree trapper Freddy Jolly offered a brief prayer before walking with us for the first kilometer. Our spirits were buoyed by the superbly blue September sky and the encouraging toots of passing vehicles as we followed Steve’s seemingly effortless stride for 42 kilometers along the road that stretches south to Amos.

Steve Leckman is the first in a chain of volunteer runners who will be
carrying a message from Freddy Jolly’s home town of Nemaska, located
near the soon-to-be-diverted Rupert River, north of Matagami. Cree
hunters who depend on the land for much of their food and livelihood
will be negatively impacted by the flooding of a wide tract of forest
once Hydro Quebec closes the gate at the Rupert diversion site later
this  fall.

Alliance Romaine has accepted the responsibility of relaying the
letter from Nemaska because we are aware of the threat that planned
hydroelectric projects comparable to the Rupert diversion pose to our
remaining free-flowing rivers across the province. Alliance Romaine
recognizes that large-scale hydroelectric dams are not green energy,
because they inflict severe and long-lasting harm on our forests,
watersheds, and commercial fisheries. As we carry this letter all the
way to the Romaine River, on the Lower North Shore, we will be urging
Quebecers to take a step back and realize that virtually all the large
rivers we will be passing along our 2000-kilometer route have already
been dammed.

As environmentalists, paddlers and activists we stand for the
protection of Quebec’s remaining free-flowing rivers, including the
Romaine. We will be using the opportunity created by this marathon
campaign to demand a re-thinking of Quebec’s energy strategy, and a
democratization of the relevant public consultation processes,  such
as the BAPE (Bureau des audiences publiques en environnement).

The relay which began Wednesday continues throughout the week, with
stops and public meetings scheduled in Amos (Sept. 12th, 8PM Aquarium
Café), and Val d’Or (Sept. 13th, 7:30 PM, Native Friendship Centre).

Alliance Romaine is counting on the financial and logistical aid of
sympathizers from across Quebec to help guarantee the continued
success of our run. If you would like to make a donation, or assist in
some other way, please write to us at

Thank you so much!

For the love of our rivers!
The Alliance Romaine marathon team
on the road


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