The Cree Regional Authority (C.R.A.) is a non-profit corporation without share capital and without pecuniary gain to its members. It has established the Board of Compensation to receive, administer, use and invest the compensation contemplated under the James Bay and Northern Quebec Agreement (JBNQA).
Payment of this compensation, authorized under Section 25 of the JBNQA, began in 1979, and was completed in 1996-97. The details of these payments are as follows:
Basic compensation by virtue of section 25.1 (JBNQA):
|(i) Cree share of first $75 million due from Governments of Quebec and Canada||44,605,226|
|(ii) Cree share of second $75 million due from James Bay Energy Corporation||44,605,226|
|(iii) Due from Governments of Quebec and Canada||2,809,773|
|Compensation by virtue of section 25.2:
Cree share of third $75 million
due from Government of Quebec
Of the compensation received pursuant to section 25.1, 50% must be invested as prescribed in the schedule to the Act until October 31, 1997.
Board of Compensation Chairman Roderick Pachano, in his annual report presented to the Cree Annual General Assembly in August, 1997, noted that the value of the total assets of the Board of Compensation as of March 31, 1997 was $162,830,000. This included a reserve of $1,782,208 for a self-insurance program.
These assets are held in five different funds, known as the Restricted Investment Fund, the Cree Heritage Fund, the Growth Fund, the General Fund, and the Capital Additions Fund.
Restricted Investment Fund
As of March, 1997, the Restricted Investment Fund held assets of more than $61 million, comprised of $19 million cash, $26 million in province of Quebec debentures, and nearly $15 million in other debentures, treasury bills and bonds. This fund covers activities related to the investment of the compensation monies restricted by the terms of the JBNQA. Interest on cash, debentures and investment income are recorded as income of the General Fund.
Cree Heritage Fund
The funds whose investment is unrestricted by the terms of the JBNQA have been invested by the Crees in a variety of enterprises which come under the aegis of the Cree Heritage Fund. The Cree Heritage Fund in 1997 holds more than $40 million in assets, of which half comprises the more than $20 million loaned to CREECO, a holding company established to own the various Cree commercial enterprises. Advances totaling almost $6 million were made without interest or repayment terms to various Cree entities, including Cree Energy Distribution of Canada, Inc., the Grand Council, the Cree Nation Youth Council ($500,000 to hold the first World Indigenous Youth Conference), and to Whapmagoostui First Nation.
Several years ago, following losses by various Cree entities, a decision was made to create a fund of $15 million that is untouchable. This Growth Fund, reported chairman Pachano, has increased to $25,195,612 from $15 million after 4 years of systematic reinvestment (market value is $26,478,973).
The General Fund contains assets of more than $35 million, but these include $17 million worth of advances made to various Cree entities, including loans of $7 million to Servinor Food Wholesaler, Inc., one of the Cree-owned companies, nearly $3 million to Air Creebec, the Cree-owned airline, to various communities for housing construction projects, and to the Grand Council.
The General (or operating) Fund had revenues, almost entirely from interest, of more than $8 million, and operating expenditures of nearly $1 million. The $7 million surplus was used to write down the $1,220,000 loss caused by a subsidiary, and to distribute grants totaling more than $4 million to the communities, to the Cree Trappers Association, and to various institutes, schools and societies, including the $1 million to fund the Grand Council?s political and educational work.
Overall financial result
Overall results of the year?s operations showed revenue at $86.3 million, expenditure at $87.6 million, for a loss of $1.22 million.
The revenues generated by these total assets, reported chairman Pachano in his annual report, were decreased in the last financial year by 17 per cent from the previous year be-cause of the inability of the Board to react and to take advantage of the constant changes taking place in the financial markets.
"The Board members spent the year searching for additional investment counselors and managers to manage a portion of the assets of the Board," wrote the chairman. "The type of managers being sought were the type whose investment style would complement our present investment counselors - Gryphon Investment Counsel Inc. At the March 1997 Board meeting, Guardian was chosen to act as the second investment counselor and manager. Their mandate will commence early in the 1997-98 fiscal year. Regular performance evaluations of the investment managers will be carried out.
"The Board is searching for a financial analyst whose primary responsibilities will be to ensure that the investment reports are analyzed and the policies of the Board are carried out. The Board continues to have difficulties recruiting an administrative assistant.
"Although the Board has certain difficulties in retaining the right personnel, we continue to prepare for a brighter future. Difficulties are after all only challenges that can be dealt with properly and must not be viewed as insurmountable. We can only learn and grow individually and as an entity with these challenges.
"The changes that are presently being made within the Board and outside are to provide a brighter future for ourselves and the generations yet unborn. Each of us must take up the daily challenges we face at work, home or even play and learn and grow by those experiences. We must never forget that the funds managed by the Board are compensation for the destruction of our land and loss of the use and enjoyment of that land. There are young people who have become parents who were not born when the JBNQA was signed. They never had the use and enjoyment of the land before its destruction.
"The members of the Board take their responsibilities very seriously to ensure that the funds are managed prudently. Every decision that they make helps create our future - a brighter future," he wrote.
Members of the Board of Directors are Josie Jimiken and Nellie Coonishish, Nemaska; L. George Pachanos, Chisasibi; Kathleen Black and Simeon Trapper, Waskaganish; George Shecapio, Mistissini; Bill Namagoose, Louise Wapachee, Connie Bosum and Eddie Diamond, representing the CRA; Abraham Kawapit and William Kawapit, Whapmagoostui; Billy Atsynia, Wemindji; Emily Whiskeychan and Lloyd Mayappo, Eastmain; Allan Happyjack, Waswanipi.
The Management Committee is made up of Roderick Pachano, chairman, John Mark, William MacLeod and Matthew Swallow.
The head office of the Board of Compensation is at
203 Opemiska Meskimo, Ouj?-Bougoumou, Quebec, GOW 3C0;
tel.: 418-745-3931, fax: 418-745-3844
The Board?s bankers are
Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce,
3rd Avenue, C.P. 130, Val-d'Or, Quebec, J9P 1V4;
tel.: 819-825-8830, fax: 819-824-1427.
Its custodians are the
Royal Trust Co.
630 Rene Levesque Blvd. West, 4th Floor, Montreal, Quebec H3B 1S6;
Tel: 514-874-3662, fax: 514-874-3640.
Its investment firm is
Gryphon Investment Counsel Inc.,
1002, Sherbrooke St West, Suite 400, Montreal, Quebec H3A 3L6;
Tel: 514-288-4122, fax: 514-288-046