The Grand Council of the Crees
SPEAKING POINTS FOR GRAND CHIEF DR. MATTHEW COON COME FOR PLAN NORD ANNOUNCEMENT
- I am pleased to announce today, on behalf of the Cree Nation, that I support and endorse the Premier’s announcement of the Plan Nord, and also, I am pleased to say that I will today be signing the Partners Declaration.
- The Crees support the sustainable development of the North. We have made, and will continue to make, efforts to build partnerships with Québec, Jamésiens and others for the orderly development of the Territory, for the benefit of all.
- As we have stated many times, for the Crees, governance and economic development are closely linked. For the Plan Nord to succeed, a new governance regime is required in Eeyou Istchee.
- The Plan Nord must be aligned with the realistic and progressive revisions to the governance structures that are now being discussed between the Crees and Québec for the Eeyou Istchee James Bay territory.
- We have been in discussions with Québec to modernize the governance regime in the Territory. My negotiator informs me that the governance file is making very good progress.
- I am pleased that Premier Charest and his Government recognize the link between good governance and economic development.
- I note the undertaking in the Partners Declaration that the Plan Nord must respect the agreements already signed with the First Nations and the Inuit and that its implementation must be sufficiently flexible to adapt to the future direction of the negotiations underway, in particular concerning questions of governance.
- On the basis of these commitments, and on the basis of the progress being made in our governance negotiations, I am pleased to be able to stand together side-by-side with Premier Charest in order to express the willingness of the Crees of Eeyou Istchee to cooperate in the implementation of the Plan Nord, in a context of respect for the James Bay and Northern Québec Agreement, the Paix des Braves and any future governance agreement between the Crees and Québec.
- Of course, the Plan Nord will be a continuing process, not a single list of projects. The implementation of the Plan Nord process will be critical to its success. The Crees look forward to working together with you, Mr. Charest, in the implementation of Plan Nord to ensure that it provides concrete benefits to the Crees in critical areas such as housing, infrastructure and energy and benefits for our neighbours in the region.