The working class of industrialist Québec was integrated into the state project of Canada – the inclusion of a French workforce of “civil servants” in the federalist project – as an act of securing the legitimacy of a unified Canadian state. The federalist vision is dependent on a pacification that is bought by the inclusion of the working class and the poor in the further development of the state, via employment that provides them with marginal benefits that are otherwise not afforded or systemically denied. When there was resistance from Algonquin communities to the development of yet another inaccessible and consumerist project constructed on a sacred site, Windmill seized the opportunity to integrate a “progressive” employment policy that would allow underemployed Algonquin workers a chance to participate in the construction of a “world-class sustainable waterfront community”. In order to employ a quota of Indigenous workers, Windmill and the Gatineau municipal governments have created a special administrative zone to bypass regulations on the certifications, practices and working conditions set in place by the Commission de la construction du Québec (CCQ). “For tradespeople and construction workers from Kitigan Zibi, it has been almost impossible to work off reserve because of complex Québec construction regulations. Windmill is negotiating to have parts of its site declared a special administrative zone. That would allow Algonquin tradespeople to work there.” [Zibi Press Release, Jun. 30, 2015]. There would be no need for this benevolent creation of a special administrative zone by Windmill and the Gatineau municipal government for the employment of Algonquin workers, if these barriers weren’t already entrenched within systemic practices of discrimination, and absence of required training, certification and employment resources.
Speaking of their collaborators, the Zibi developers write,
“For tradespeople and construction workers from Kitigan Zibi, it has been almost impossible to work off reserve because of complex Québec construction regulations. Windmill is negotiating to have parts of its site declared a special administrative zone. That would allow Algonquin tradespeople to work there. Historically, many people from Kitigan Zibi have gone to the United States to work in construction because they were unable to find work near home.” [Zibi Press Release].