Targeting a provincial and federal strategy session related to the renewal of the Softwood Lumber Agreement in Vancouver today, the Grand Council of the Crees (Eeyou Istchee) has placed an ad in the Western edition of the today's Globe and Mail. The ad follows up on the Crees' tactic of alerting American trade representatives of their dissatisfaction with Quebec's forestry policies through a full-page ad in a Washington newspaper (Roll Call) two weeks ago.
The ad, which is the same as the one run in the U.S., states that Quebec's forestry policies are unsustainable because they do not adequately account for environmental impacts or the social impacts on Cree hunters. Cutting is presently occurring at rates which are not sustainable. As a consequence the Crees assert that these policies are equivalent to hidden subsidies and create an unfair pricing regime for Quebec's wood products.
The Grand Council asserts that the outcome of these trade discussions will determine how much of the forest is removed from Cree traditional lands. Bill Namagoose, Executive Director of the Grand Council of the Crees explained that "harvesting levels in Canada are driven more by trade agreements than they are by environmental concerns, and yet only government and industry have access to these discussions." He added, "the Grand Council of the Crees has a treaty right to be directly involved in these discussions."