– Grand Council issues logging ultimatum

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The Grand Council of the Crees of Quebec is demanding a halt to logging by Resolute Forest Products (RFP) in Cree territory. A formal notice was issued to the company, escalating a dispute over Cree rights and agreements concerning forestry in Eeyou Istchee.

The step highlights the difficult negotiations between RFP and Aboriginal peoples, despite the nomination of former Premier Lucien Bouchard as special mediator earlier this year.

“We expect to have an injunction, said Resolute Forest Products CEO Richard Garneau. “If that happens jobs could be at risk.”

The timber supply in dispute represents around 400,000 cubic metres per year, and is used to supply sawmills in Girardville and Saint-Thomas-Didyme. The loss of these supplies will have some impact at both sites.

“It will probably become uneconomic to operate both. It may be necessary to sacrifice one of the two sawmills,” said Garneau.

Ongoing negotiations with the Cree are intended to allow RFP to recover its Forest Stewardship Council certification, which is necessary to sell in markets around the world. The Cree position was a central element in the FSC’s decision to suspend the certification.

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