QUEBEC CITY, Oct. 14 /CNW Telbec/ - In a presentation earlier this
morning to the Economics and Labour Commission at the National Assembly,
Matthew Mukash, Grand Chief of the Grand Council of the Crees (Eeyou Istchee),
denounced the Government's proposal on Forestry known as the "Green Plan". The
Grand Chief stressed that the Green Plan is not an option for the James Bay
Territory because it would erode the gains the Crees have made in forestry
with the Paix des Braves Agreement.
By design, the Green Plan would have the Ministry of Natural Resources
and Wildlife delegate the day-to-day administration, management and monitoring
of forests to crown corporations whose boards would be predominated by
regional officials and accountable in large part to the Conseil régional des
Elus Baie James or CRE-BJ. The Grand Chief elaborated on this by referring to
the CRE legislation that ostensibly nominated the Municipality of Baie James,
through the CRE-BJ, as the primary agency responsible for development in the
James Bay Territory.
"The CRE legislation and by extension, the Green Plan is tantamount to a
return to the Indian Act Reserve system because they would have Cree economic
and political interests begin and end at the limits of their communities",
Mr. Mukash stated.
The Grand Chief then described how these legal instruments rob the Crees
of their democratic right to representation on the lands they occupy and
transfers this representation to a segment of the population having little or
no presence throughout the majority of the territory. Mr. Mukash added: "This
scenario would lead to a subversion of all the mutually supported
administrative organizations and procedures established under the James Bay
and Northern Quebec Agreement and the Paix des Braves Agreement."
In conclusion, Grand Chief Mukash noted: "Our Agreements with Quebec are
nation to nation and not nation to municipality. The Government cannot
unilaterally decide to send a proxy when it comes to these agreements and
their fiduciary responsibility to uphold them."
For further information:
For further information: Romeo Saganash, Director of Quebec Relations
(French inquiries), (418) 564-1598; Ashley Iserhoff, Deputy Grand Chief, (819)
673-2600; Bill Namagoose, Executive Director, (613) 725-7024; For a copy of
the presentation see: http://www.gcc.ca