Grand Chief: “The public release of the report is necessary to correct the misinformation circulated by Strateco”
NEMASKA, QUEBEC, October 19, 2012: The Grand Council of the Crees (Eeyou Istchee) is today releasing the environmental review report concerning the Matoush uranium advanced exploration project, which was provided by the Review Committee under the James Bay and Northern Quebec Agreement (COMEX) to the Quebec Administrator in August 2011. To date, the Review Committee’s report has not been made public, as the Quebec Administrator has not yet issued a decision concerning the Matoush project.
On October 18, 2012, Guy Hébert, president of Strateco Resources Inc., the proponent of the Matoush project, reported to LesAffaires.com and La Presse that he had read the COMEX report, and that it was “unanimously favourable” towards the Matoush project. “This includes the Cree representatives on the committee”, Mr. Hébert stated.
In reality, in its report, the Review Committee stated that it had “serious reservations” about the Matoush project. The Committee recommended that the Quebec Administrator authorize the project only if the consent of the Crees has been obtained.
“The proponent must obtain the Crees’ consent, through the Mistissini Band Council, with regard to the project’s social acceptability, and must enter into a written agreement to that effect with the Band Council or another body designated by the Band Council,” the Committee wrote.
“The Grand Council is taking the unusual step of releasing the Review Committee’s report to correct the misinformation circulated by Strateco,” Grand Chief Dr. Matthew Coon Come explained. “We are surprised at Strateco’s decision to misinform the public by misstating the content of the report, in an apparent attempt to pressure the Quebec Administrator to make a decision in its favour.”
“The James Bay Crees have always maintained that as a matter of fundamental human rights, our consent is required for projects that have the potential to seriously impact our environment, economies and way of life”, Grand Chief Dr. Matthew Coon Come noted. “We are pleased that this principle was upheld by the Review Committee members in relation to the Matoush project. Uranium mining and uranium waste are not welcome in Cree territory. This is not something that the Cree Nation will consent to living with for thousands of generations to come.”
“The Cree Nation of Mistissini has clearly stated, over and over again, that we do not consent to the Matoush project,” said Chief Richard Shecapio of the Cree Nation of Mistissini. “The Cree Nation as a whole has now joined with us in this position. We are confident that when Quebecers learn the true facts, they too will support a moratorium on uranium exploration, mining and waste in Quebec.”
The Review Committee, known as COMEX, is the body created under the James Bay and Northern Quebec Agreement to conduct environmental and social assessments of proposed development projects within Cree territory. The Review Committee provides recommendations to the Quebec Administrator concerning whether or not projects should be authorized, and if so, under what conditions. The Grand Council of the Crees appoints two of the five members of the Review Committee.
For further information, please contact:
Jessica Orkin (514) 260-2622
Grand Chief Matthew Coon Come (613) 761-1655