The Nation-to-Nation Relationship on a False Start
WENDAKE, QC, Feb. 7, 2013 /CNW Telbec/ - "If Quebec's decision to end the small hydropower plant program, without prior warning and without consultation with the First Nations, is the first step towards a nation-to-nation relationship, we are getting off on the wrong foot", stated the Chief of the AFNQL, Ghislain Picard.
The Summit on Territories and Resources held on December 3, 2012 was to send a signal that things should be done differently as regards the development of natural resources, by involving the First Nations more closely.
The decision of Natural Resource Minister, Martine Ouellet, who was present at the Summit, goes against the openness expressed by Premier Pauline Marois: "Quebec can do better, Quebec must do better."
"The participation of the First Nations in the small hydropower plant program was a commitment of the Socioeconomic Forum which we held in 2006 in Mashteuiatsh with the Quebec government. We're talking about great opportunities for development, mutually-profitable partnerships that have been wiped out, without any notice, without consultation", laments the Chief of the AFNQL, Ghislain Picard.
"AFNQL is looking for a new relationship with the Quebec government, one that is mutually-profitable and based on a nation-to-nation spirit, and which will address more particularly all the sensitive issues connected with the territory and the resources. We need to discuss as quickly as possible with Quebec the implementation of the forest regime on next April 1st, which is causing a lot of concerns to a majority of the First Nations. We will also need to discuss about the FSC certification, mining, royalties, etc. I am not ready to question the sincerity of the persons who were present at the December 3rd Summit. On the other hand, I cannot help but notice that the decision on the small hydropower plants has an air of déjà-vu. I expected better", concluded the Chief of the AFNQL.
About the AFNQL
AFNQL is the regional organization regrouping the 43 Chiefs of the First Nations of Quebec and Labrador. For information: www.apnql-afnql.com.
SOURCE: ASSEMBLY OF FIRST NATIONS OF QUEBEC AND LABRADOR
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