Grand Council of the Crees Welcomes Supreme Court Decision on Social and
Environmental Impact Assessment In James Bay Quebec

OTTAWA, May 14 /CNW Telbec/ - The Grand Council of the Crees is pleased with the decision of the Supreme Court in the Vanadium Case. The decision confirms that Canada and Quebec both have a responsibility for environmental and social impact reviews of projects within the James Bay Territory.

This decision is a victory, not just for the Crees, but for the environment. Today's decision is the culmination of a six-year court battle. But the debate goes back much earlier, to the environmental reviews of the Great Whale and Eastmain hydroelectric projects in the early 1990's. Today, we have confirmation that both federal and provincial reviews apply.

Grand Chief Dr. Matthew Coon Come stated, "For the Crees, this is yet another symbol of our determination to ensure respect for our desire to strike the right balance between the Cree Traditional Economy and Cree participation in the modern economy. We are confident that a rigorous implementation of our Treaty can achieve this objective."

Under the Treaty, the Crees participate in the review of proposed projects. The Court stated in respect of the federal review: "Common sense as well as legal requirements suggest that the CEAA assessment will be structured to accommodate the special context of a project proposal in James Bay Treaty territory, including the participation of the Cree."

In this regard, Grand Chief Dr. Matthew Coon Come stated, "We call upon Canada to open discussions on the formal integration of the federal process of Section 22 of the James Bay Treaty into the CEAA legislation. Just as Québec incorporated the provincial process under Section 22 into the Environment Quality Act in 1978, Canada must now incorporate the Section 22 federal process into the CEAA."

SOURCE Grand Council of the Crees (Eeyou Istchee)

For further information: For further information: Bill Namagoose, Executive Director, GCC(EI), Tel: (613) 725-7024; Romeo Saganash, Director of Québec Relations, GCC(EI), Tel: (418) 564-1598

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