Jackie Vautour’s family’s belongings boxed up from Kouchibouguac National Park

FREDERICTON- The personal belongings of the family of a man who laid claim to land in New Brunswick’s Kouchibouguac National Park are being removed, says Parks Canada.
Jackie Vautour’s “family’s belongings are being carefully boxed and securely stored outside of the national park,” Parks Canada said Tuesday evening in a statement.
Vautour died in 2021 and the Crown agency said it will ensure his family has the details on how to retrieve their belongings.
Parks Canada had given the family until March 31, 2022, to remove their belongings from the park.
“A year ago, Parks Canada respectfully requested that the illegal occupation of Kouchibouguac National Park be brought to a conclusion within a reasonable period of time,” it said
“We offered to work with the Vautour family to help transition Mrs. Yvonne Vautour’s belongings and structures to a desired location outside of the national park. This offer was refused.”
Vautour was compensated by the New Brunswick government for the expropriated land in 1987, said the statement.
He was given two parcels of land totalling 44.5 hectares outside of Kouchibouguac National Park and $228,000, it added, noting it was an “amount significantly more than the average amount received by the other expropriates.”
“Despite accepting the money and the land and signing an agreement to relinquish his claim on the land, Mr. Vautour returned to occupy lands in the park,” it said.
The Vautours have claimed they are Acadian-Metis and have the permission of Steven Augustine, a hereditary chief of the Mi’kmaq Grand Council, to remain on the property for more than 50 years.
However, Mi’kmaq chiefs in New Brunswick have said they hold title to the land that includes the park and the rights have not been extended to the Vautours or the Acadian-Metis
The Societe de l’Acadie du Nouveau-Brunswick also issued its own statement in support of the Mi’kmaq chiefs.
Parks Canada said that over the past few years, New Brunswick courts rejected claims by Vautour and his son, Roy, of Indigenous harvesting rights as Metis in Kouchibouguac National Park.
“Mr. Vautour made a request to appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada, which was denied in 2017.”
On Tuesday, Parks Canada said it had “temporarily closed” Route 117, which runs through the park and suspended all visitor services until further notice.
New Brunswick RCMP spokesman Cpl. Hans Ouellette said the Mounties were assisting Parks Canada with the road closure.
About 250 families were displaced through expropriation when the park was created in 1969.
“Parks Canada acknowledges that the past practice of expropriation in the establishment of national parks and national historic sites greatly affected many families and individuals,” it said.
“The families and communities of what is now Kouchibouguac National Park remain an important part of the history of this region of Canada.”
This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 11, 2023.

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