Group History

Meditating next to the Grandes Chutes

Alliance Romaine is a group of paddlers, researchers, artists, students and engaged citizens who have come together to advocate for the protection of the Romaine River, located near Havre-Saint-Pierre, Quebec, on the North Shore of the Saint Lawrence. We are mobilized to oppose the ongoing hydroelectric project, started by Hydro Quebec in 2009, which if completed would result in the creation of four dams and reservoirs along a 150-kilometer stretch of the lower Romaine . We have chosen to campaign for the Romaine at a juncture where the great majority of  Quebec’s large rivers including the Outaouais, the Eastmain, the Rupert, the Gatineau and the Manicouagan have already been damaged by hydroelectric projects, and the boreal forest that characterizes the watersheds of these rivers is under threat.

We feel its our duty to bequeath to future generations of Quebecers the opportunity to know and enjoy a major, free-flowing river in its natural state. Alliance Romaine supports the development of a vibrant economy in Quebec’s North Shore region involving sectors such as ecoforestry and fishing, and we deplore the fact that the hydroelectric project would degrade the resource base upon which these sectors depend.

We’ve been mobilizing since 2008, and our goals are to stimulate public debate on energy policy, apply pressure on elected officials and impel our present or future government to cancel the hydroelectric project on the Romaine.

Alliance Romaine believes that electricity that would be generated at the Romaine River site is not necessary to supply Quebec’s residential requirements, and that energy efficiency measures and green technologies will be adequate to meet any future increase in energy demand.

What follows is an outline of various actions we’ve taken since 2008:

  • In the summer of 2008 Alliance Romaine members Steve Leckman and Fran Bristow joined filmmakers Nicolas Boisclair and Alexis de Gheldere on a 40-day canoe trip down the Romaine River.  This expedition formed the basis for the award-winning documentary Chercher le Courant (Seeking the Current) which investigates hydroelectricty and energy policy in Quebec.
  • In December 2008 we submitted a memo at the public hearing regarding the proposed hydroelectric project, held in Havre-Saint-Pierre.
  • During February and March 2009 we circulated a petition opposing the building of dams on the Romaine River. The petition collected 5500 signatures and  was submitted to Quebec’s National Assembly by MNA Amir Khadir.
  • From September to October we co-ordinated a cross-province  marathon ( relay race) involving twenty-eight athletes who carried a message from the James Bay Cree describing the social problems experienced by communities subsequent to the flooding of their land. The message started out in Matagami, at Kilometer 0 of the James Bay Highway, and was delivered to the Innu community of Ekuanitshit, near to the territory which would be flooded by the Romaine project on the North Shore.
  • In July 2010, ten Romaine Alliance members embarked on a week-long canoe expedition on the river.
  • On July 5, 2011, an opinion piece titled “La Romaine: est-ce trop tard“(“Is it too late for the Romaine?”), by spokesperson Chris Scott, appeared in the Ideas page of Montreal newspaper Le Devoir.
  • Since the fall of 2011 we have held several conferences and public meetings focused on Quebec’s energy policy and the Plan Nord.
  • In March 2012, a delegation from Alliance Romaine accompanied the Innu of Uashat-Maliotenam as they blocked access to Hydro-Quebec vehicles on Highway 138 to protest against the construction of transmission lines from the Romaine project across their territory.

If you would like to participate in our campaigns, or receive more information, please write to info@allianceromaine.org.

We check our mail regularly, and we will get back to you!

 

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