WENDAKE, QC, Sept. 25, 2014 /CNW Telbec/ - At a workshop on uranium development hosted by the Assembly of First Nations Quebec-Labrador (AFNQL) today, First Nations from across the province reaffirmed their opposition to uranium development on their territories and throughout Quebec. The workshop brought together representatives of First Nations from across Quebec to discuss the future of uranium development in Quebec.
In March 2013, the AFNQL passed a resolution inviting its members to voice their opposition to uranium development and to declare a global rejection of the exploration and exploitation of uranium on all First Nation territories. This followed the resolution adopted by the Grand Council of the Crees in August 2012 declaring a permanent moratorium on uranium development in Cree territory.
"The exploration and exploitation of uranium constitute major and irreversible threats to our population, our territories and the resources they contain", said Chief Terence McBride, the Chief of Timiskaming First Nation and member of the Interim Chiefs Committee for the AFNQL. "As First Nations, we have a sacred duty to protect our territories and ensure the sustainable development of our natural resources."
"Our experience here today has clearly demonstrated that the First Nations of Quebec and Labrador are united in our opposition to uranium development in our territories," continued Grand Chief Matthew Coon Come of the Cree Nation. "We strongly encourage all the First Nations and citizens in Quebec to clearly and publicly express their opposition to uranium development."
In March 2013, Quebec's Minister of the Environment announced that he would not issue any permits for uranium exploration or mining until the Bureau d'audiences publiques sur l'environnement (BAPE) completed hearings on the uranium industry in Quebec and provided recommendations to the Minister. The BAPE'S mandate began in May 2014.
This week, the BAPE completed the second phase of its inquiry, during which it heard from various ministries, experts and industry representatives on a number of topics relating to uranium and its associated risks. The third phase of the BAPE hearings will begin in November, at which time members of the public will have the opportunity to make oral and written submissions to the BAPE. Anyone wishing to make submissions must file a notice of intention, available on the BAPE website, by October 16, 2014.