Quebec judge says McGill work halted to avoid ‘irreparable harm’ to Mohawk plaintiffs

MONTREAL- A Quebec judge today released his written reasons for a ruling last week that halted excavation work on a McGill University project after an Indigenous group raised concerns about possible unmarked graves.

Superior Court Justice Gregory Moore writes that allowing the planned work to go ahead without taking time to develop a proper archeological plan would cause irreparable harm to the Mohawk plaintiffs who initiated the case.

He says the identification of unmarked Indigenous graves is a priority for discovering the truth and working towards reconciliation, pointing to possible parallels between health services and residential schools.

The injunction was granted Thursday at the end of a two-day hearing, following a request in March from a group of elders from Kahnawake known as the Mohawk Mothers.

The group has alleged that the bodies of Indigenous patients of the Allan Memorial Institute and the Royal Victoria Hospital are buried at the site scheduled to be redeveloped.

During the hearing, lawyers representing McGill and the Societe quebecoise des infrastructures, a provincial body that supports public infrastructure projects, argued that there was no evidence of unmarked graves on the site.


This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 1, 2022.

This story was produced with the financial assistance of the Meta and Canadian Press News Fellowship.

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