WENDAKE, QC, Dec. 10, 2013 /CNW Telbec/ - The Assembly of First Nations
of Quebec and Labrador (AFNQL) strongly opposes two very specific
issues of the new Mining Act and demanded the Quebec government to
listen to what they had to say on these issues before its adoption last
Section 2 of the Act proposes new "consultation" measures, but this is
not at all what is at stake. Without an exploration permit as a
prerequisite, this consultation will be meaningless, because Quebec
will still have no control whatsoever over the exploration work with
"Since the government has ignored our request to introduce in the
current legislation the prerequisite of an exploration permit, despite
its existence everywhere in Canada, including British Columbia,
Alberta, Ontario and Newfoundland, the matter will inevitably be
settled in Court, as was the case in Yukon, where the First Nations won
their case on exactly the same issue (Ross River Ruling). This means
that after all those months of work on the reform, it will not be the
end of it, with all the uncertainty that it will create for the mining
industry", states Chief Gilbert Dominique.
Worse still, the new Mining Act even constitutes a major setback in respecting First Nation self-governance, in relation to the status
quo of the previous Mining Act. Minister Ouellet insists, in sections
59 and 79, in spite of fierce protests of First Nations in Quebec, on
forcing the mining companies to disclose the information contained in
the confidential commercial agreements they signed with the First Nations.
"As we repeatedly stated, and just like many stakeholders emphasized it
before the Parliamentary Commission on Bill 43, if the government was
looking for the best possible means to worsening relations and
increasing tensions between First Nations and the government, and to
further increase the uncertainty in the mining industry in Quebec, it
certainly got the right one. The AFNQL considers that everyone will
come out losing in this manœuvre: the government, the industry and the
First Nations", stated Chief Ghislain Picard of the AFNQL.
The Minister of Natural Resources could have avoided a new era of
conflicts in the mining industry by eliminating this paternalistic
measure of the Quebec government in this new law, a measure which,
let's not forget, will not be found anywhere else, except in Quebec.
But the Minister opted for confrontation. The AFNQL is shocked about
the fact that the government is prepared to clash with the First
Nations, simply to continue with its desperate fight to come up with
statistics on their confidential agreements.
"As we already indicated to the government, it has become extremely
difficult to convince the Chiefs who sit at the AFNQL about the
sincerity of the Quebec government who claims its intention of building
a nation-to-nation relationship. The new law adopted yesterday
represents unfortunately, another example of complete failure to
understand the issues that are peculiar to the First Nations",
concluded Chief Picard.
About the AFNQL
The Assembly of the First Nations of Quebec and Labrador is the
political organization regrouping 43 Chiefs of the First Nations of
Quebec and Labrador. www.apnql-afnql.com.
SOURCE: Assembly of First Nations of Quebec and Labrador
For further information:
Mélanie Vincent (firstname.lastname@example.org)