WASWANIPI, QC, April 5, 2016 /CNW Telbec/ - While the Cree First Nation of Waswanipi welcomes the government's measures to protect the woodland caribou, it must also be said that the stated objectives cannot be attained without greater protection of the territory that includes the Broadback River Valley forest.
"The latest measures announced are nothing new to Waswanipi, and so are inadequate," said Chief Marcel Happyjack of the Cree First Nation of Waswanipi. "The Broadback River Valley forest remains fragile and its exploitation, even if limited, would not ensure the protection critical to the survival of the woodland caribou."
The Cree First Nation of Waswanipi has always been in favour of economic development based on winning conditions that would respect the traditional Cree way of life as well as environmental criteria and social acceptance of our people.
The Waswanipi Council takes this opportunity resulting from the government's openness to reiterate its request to increase the size of the current protected area. It also insists that the government consider accelerating the pursuit of its objectives to protect a larger area of the boreal forest that is still virgin, within the framework of its policy on the subject in the Plan Nord.
"The Cree First Nation of Waswanipi has battled for a decade to protect a virgin forest area," said Chief Happyjack. "No forestry operation should occur without our prior consent. We are responsible for the protection of our ancestral land and we possess the knowledge required to ensure its survival. Today's announcement must be the continuation of a constructive dialogue between the Quebec government and us."
Henceforth, the Cree First Nation expects forestry companies to obtain the legitimate consent of the Cree. It also expects these firms to explain in detail their development plans in an honest and transparent way. Forestry companies and the government should emulate the historic and valuable accord that paved the way for the total protection of the Great Bear forest in British Columbia. It hopes that a similar accord can be reached on its territory.
SOURCE Conseil de la Première Nation crie de Waswanipi
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