The Grand Council of the Crees

Crees Call On Abitibi Consolidated to Respect New Regime

Crees Call On Abitibi Consolidated to Respect the New Regime for Forest Management in James Bay Quebec

Posted: 2002-03-27

Nemaska: "I call on the Chairman of the Board of Abitibi Consolidated, Richard Drouin, to respect the new forestry regime in James Bay decided upon between the Government of Quebec and the Grand Council of the Crees and set out in the new Agreement on the Paix des Braves. This new regime is intended to implement the obligations of Quebec in the James Bay and Northern Quebec Agreement to the effect that forestry development would be compatible with the continuation of the Cree way of life on the land. I understand that Abitibi Consolidated has made a decision to downsize it operations while it fights the American softwood lumber tariffs, but to blame this decision on measures in our agreement with Quebec that ensure long-term forest viability and continued Cree use of the forest, is not acceptable. Moreover, such a tactic is contrary to Abitibi Consolidated's own commitment to the International Standards Organization and to the Canadian Council of Forest Ministers for the protection of the multiple uses made by society of the forest and in particular to the protection of aboriginal rights. We are examining our options for making this company more accountable to its international commitments and to Quebec law," stated Grand Chief Dr. Ted Moses.

An article in Le Soleil of March 25th sets out that the company blames the Cree-Quebec Agreement for the possible closing of three of its mills. At the same time on March 22nd the Company announced that it would fight the U.S. Department of Commerce's final determinations of a 19.34% countervailing duty and a 14.60% Company specific anti-dumping rate on softwood lumber exports from Canada to the United States. The talk of Quebec closures follows on the heels of closures in Ontario. "It is amazing the depths to which this company will go in blaming others for its decisions to close plants to support its bottom line. After the Ontario closures the company made $289 million in 2001 and only in February of 2002 declared a dividend for its shareholders," stated Bill Namagoose Executive
Director of the Grand Council.

Contacts:
Grand Chief Moses: 819 327 5464
Bill Namagoose: 613 725 7024
Abel Bosum: 613 293 7077