"Without a prior agreement with the Crees, the mechanism chosen by
Quebec for this important process violates our treaty rights of, and
fails to respect our special status in Eeyou Istchee"
NEMASKA, QC, March 28, 2013 /CNW/ - The James Bay Cree Nation welcomes
the Government of Quebec's decision to impose a moratorium on uranium
exploration and mining activities in Eeyou Istchee and in Quebec.
However, the Cree Nation calls on the Government of Quebec to ensure
that the Commission concerning the uranium industry in Quebec properly
respects Cree rights and the James Bay and Northern Quebec Agreement
Quebec Environment Minister Yves-François Blanchet announced today that
the Bureau d'audiences publiques sur l'environnement (BAPE) is to
conduct province-wide public hearings regarding the uranium sector in
Quebec. Minister Blanchet confirmed that while the BAPE uranium process
is underway, no authorizations for uranium exploration or mining
projects will be granted, and the proposed Matoush advanced exploration
project will not be permitted to proceed.
"An independent and broad study of the uranium industry is urgently
required," Deputy Grand Chief Ashley Iserhoff stated. "It is also good
that Quebec has halted all uranium exploration and mining activities
while this process is on-going. However, we unfortunately cannot
support the process as it is currently planned."
"Without the prior consent of the Crees, the BAPE mechanism chosen by
the Government of Quebec violates the JBNQA treaty of 1975 to which the
government of Quebec is a party, and fails to respect the special
status of the Cree Nation in Eeyou Istchee," said Grand Chief Dr.
Matthew Coon Come. "We are confident that through nation-to-nation
discussions, we will reach an agreement with Quebec. We call on Quebec
to work with the Grand Council of the Crees to ensure that this
important process can proceed in Eeyou Istchee on a cooperative and
Located near the Cree community of Mistissini, the Matoush project is
the most advanced uranium project to date in the Cree territory of
Eeyou Istchee and in Quebec. "We commend the Government for its
decision to stop the Matoush project," said Mistissini Chief Richard
Shecapio. "Mistissini's position is clear: there will be no uranium
activities in our territory. We will continue working with the
hundreds of municipalities and civil society groups that oppose uranium
"The risks that come with uranium exploration, uranium exploitation and
uranium waste are issues of major concern to the Cree Nation", said
Grand Chief Dr. Matthew Coon Come. "As a basic matter of human rights,
our consent is required for all projects that might seriously impact
our environment, economies and way of life."
"Our people supports environmentally and socially sustainable and
equitable development in our territory, including mining," Grand Chief
Coon Come noted. "But uranium burdens all future generations in a way
that we are not willing to assume. We are confident that when Quebecers
consider the true facts about uranium mining and waste, they will join
us in our permanent moratorium stand."
The Grand Council of the Crees (Eeyou Istchee) is the political entity
that represents the James Bay Cree people. The Cree Nation of
Mistissini is one of the larger communities within the James Bay Cree
Nation, and is located at the southeast end of Mistassini Lake.
SOURCE: The Grand Council of the Crees (Eeyou Istchee)
For further information:
Grand Council of the Crees (Eeyou Istchee)
Grand Chief Matthew Coon Come
Telephone: (613) 761-1655
Me Jessica Orkin, legal advisor
Cellular: (514) 260-2622
Cree Nation of Mistissini
Chief Richard Shecapio
Cree Nation of Mistissini
Téléphone : (418) 923-3461