The Grand Council of the Crees

The Grand Council of the Crees Reject Quebec's Forestry Green Plan in the National Assembly

Posted: 2008-10-14

In a presentation earlier this morning to the Economics and Labour Commission at the National Assembly, Matthew Mukash, Grand Chief of the Grand Council of the Crees (Eeyou Istchee), denounced the Government's proposal on forestry known as the "Green Plan". The Grand Chief stressed that the Green Plan is not an option for the James Bay Territory because it would erode the gains the Crees have made in forestry with the <em>Paix des Braves Agreement</em>.

By design, the Green Plan would have the Ministry of Natural Resources and Wildlife delegate the day-to-day administration, management and monitoring of forests to crown corporations whose boards would be predominated by regional officials and accountable in large part to the Conseil rEgional des Elus Baie James or CRE-BJ. The Grand Chief elaborated on this by referring to the CRE legislation that ostensibly nominated the Municipality of Baie James, through the CRE-BJ, as the primary agency responsible for development in the James Bay Territory.

"The CRE legislation and by extension, the Green Plan is tantamount to a return to the Indian Act Reserve system because they would have Cree economic and political interests begin and end at the limits of their communities" Mr. Mukash stated.

The Grand Chief then described how these legal instruments rob the Crees of their democratic right to representation on the lands they occupy and transfers this representation to a segment of the population having little or no presence throughout the majority of the territory. Mr. Mukash added: "this scenario would lead to a subversion of all the mutually supported administrative organizations and procedures established under the <em>James Bay and Northern Quebec Agreement</em> and the <em>Paix des Braves Agreement</em>."

In conclusion, Grand Chief Mukash noted: "Our Agreements with Quebec are nation to nation and not nation to municipality. The Government cannot unilaterally decide to send a proxy when it comes to these agreements and their fiduciary responsibility to uphold them."