Yesterday Justice Croteau of the Quebec Superior Court said that he would not resign from the Cree forestry case as requested by Qu?bec, Canada and the forestry companies.
Justice Croteau stated that the proof provided by Quebec in a previous hearing demonstrated that the process for the approval of the forestry plans violated the terms of the James Bay and Northern Quebec Agreement. He said in good conscience he had to state what the law required in the circumstances.
Just before midnight yesterday, lawyers for Canada, Quebec and the Companies filed a formal motion in the Quebec Superior Court asking that Justice Croteau be immediately removed from the case. Associate Chief Justice Andre Deslongchamps this morning refused to decide the Motion. He referred the whole matter to the Chief Justice of the Quebec Superior Court, Madame Lyse Lemieux who will be contacting the attorneys involved in the case in order to set a date to hear the Motion.
"Obviously, the government Treaty Busters at the so called Federal Department of "Justice" will jump at any opportunity to attack decisions which uphold treaty rights", stated Bill Namagoose, Executive Director of the Grand Council of the Crees. "Canada was not even a party to the appeal of the decision that had caused Quebec and the companies so much distress. Still Canada actively pursues the dismissal of Justice Croteau from the main case. Canada, Quebec and the companies have already submitted to the court a list of 37 judges, close to half of the judges of the Court in Montreal, who they thought should not hear the case because of some presumed or real impediment. Now, when they have a judge who was first acceptable to them, they take extreme measures to have him removed."
"In the meantime, the approval process for the forest cutting plans goes ahead. The gymnastics of the Federal and Quebec Governments and the Forestry Companies before the Courts are impeding the Cree request for a safeguard order to protect our constitutional rights under the James Bay and Northern Quebec Agreement." he continued.
Bill Namagoose: 613 725 7024
Ted Moses: 514 232 3104