How Eeyouch made out in 2016 according to Abel Bosum

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Quebec-Cree negotiator Abel Bosum can be as tough and as quick-witted as a tiger when it comes to defending and negotiating for his people. The following is his review for the Nation of Cree-Quebec relations over the past year.


  • Commission of Inquiry on Indigenous People and Public Services

  1. In October 2015, Radio-Canada reported on allegations by Indigenous women in Val-d’Or of serious misconduct by members of the Sûreté du Québec. These allegations led other Indigenous persons to share their own experience of discrimination and misconduct by members of police forces.
  2. The GCC(EI)/CNG has worked actively with the AFNQL and affected Algonquin First Nations to establish a provincial judicial commission of inquiry to look into the systemic issues underlying such misconduct. The government of Quebec at first resisted such a commission of inquiry on the grounds that it would duplicate the work of the National Inquiry on Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls.
  3. After intense discussions over a period of months, the government of Quebec now appears receptive to creating a provincial judicial commission of inquiry to look into systemic issues affecting a number of public services for Indigenous people, including police, corrections, justice, health and social services and youth protection. As of this writing, we are optimistic that an announcement will be made shortly in this regard.
  • Forestry Harmonization Agreement

  1. Cree and Quebec representatives have provisionally agreed on the texts of the Forestry Harmonization Agreement to replace Chapter 3 of the Paix des Braves and to amend Section 30A of the JBNQA, the Confidentiality Agreement to replace the 2006 Confidentiality Agreement and two letters of agreement regarding forestry consultations in respect of the Baril-Moses modalities and the Southern Waskaganish traplines.
  2. At a special meeting held by conference call on April 22, Council-Board approved the Consolidated Harmonization Agreement and authorized its signature, with such adjustments as the Grand Chief and Deputy Grand Chief consider advisable. The Agreement is now being reviewed by the Quebec government ministries with a view to its final approval.
  • Cree–Quebec Table on the Environment and Protected Areas

  1. It has been agreed to establish a special Cree-Quebec negotiations table on the Environment and Protected Areas. This table will act as a high-level forum to discuss any issues related to the environment and protected areas in the Eeyou Istchee – James Bay Territory.
  2. Terms of reference have been developed for this negotiations table on the Environment and Protected Areas and submitted to Environment Quebec. As proposed by the Cree, this table could address the following matters, among others:
  1. implementation of Cree Regional Conservation Strategy;
  2. identification of additional protected areas;
  3. relationship between protected areas and the fight against climate change, including the possible use of the boreal forest for sequestration of atmospheric carbon dioxide and for carbon storage;
  4. implementation of measures for the recovery of woodland caribou habitat and of the precautionary approach for the interim protection of woodland caribou habitat;
  5. integrated management mechanism for water resources on the basis of hydrological units, including watersheds, sub-watersheds and groups of watersheds;
  6. such other matters as Quebec and the CNG may agree upon from time to time.
  • Innu of Mashteuiatsh

  1. Positive discussions have taken place with the Innu of Mashteuiatsh with a view to establishing a Cree-Mashteuiatsh negotiations table to address possible cooperation on territorial interests and jurisdiction, hunting, fishing and trapping, joint management of certain specific sectors and consensus measures for forestry management, with special attention to the protection of wildlife habitat. Any such negotiations will be carried out in close consultation with the Cree Nations of Mistissini and Ouje-Bougoumou.
  • Cree–Quebec Governance Agreement

  1. Under the direction of Deputy Grand Chief Rodney Mark and Director Isaac Voyageur, the Land Use Planning Unit of the CNG Department of Environment and Remedial Works is advancing the work to define the composition and mandate of the Eeyou Planning Commission provided for in the Cree-Quebec Governance Agreement. It is anticipated that community consultations will take place in the near future.
  • Energy

  1. In April 2016, the government of Quebec released its 2030 Energy Policy and in June 2016, Hydro-Québec issued its Strategic Plan 2016-2020. These documents note that Hydro-Québec currently has a buffer or surplus equivalent to more than 4% of Quebec’s annual electricity needs. New energy supplies will only be authorized when the surplus is on the order of 2.5% of Quebec’s annual electricity needs, not expected until at least 2024. Hydro-Quebec is unlikely to require additional energy supply before then.
  • Quebec Fuel Tax

  1. After its approval by the GCC(EI)/CNG and the Cree First Nations, the Fuel Tax Settlement Agreement was signed with the with the government of Quebec in September 2016. This agreement provides for Quebec to pay the nine Cree First Nations a total amount of $8.5 million to refund fuel tax paid between 1991 and 2001.
  • Firearm Registry

  1. On April 5, 2016, the Grand Chief presented the brief of the GCC(EI)/CNG on Bill 64, the Firearms Registration Act, to the National Assembly. The brief stated that concerns for public security and safety in relation to firearms must be balanced with the constitutionally protected treaty rights of the Cree, including our traditional and harvesting rights. We indicated openness to the establishment of a provincial firearms registry, provided that it is adapted to fully respect Cree rights and the realities of the Cree hunting culture. We will follow-up with Quebec regarding a technical table to consider the adjustments needed for the Cree.
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