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Secrétariat aux affaires autochtones

THE GOVERNMENT OF QUÉBEC IS PROPOSING A FRAMEWORK AGREEMENT TO THE CREES

QUÉBEC CITY, December 14, 2000 - Mr. Guy Chevrette, Minister of Transport, Minister for Native Affairs and Minister for Wildlife and Parks, today unveiled in Québec City the main elements of a draft framework agreement concerning relations between the Government of Québec and the Cree nation.

This proposal follows in the wake of two meetings held in June and November of this year between Mr. Lucien Bouchard, Prime Minister of Québec, and Mr. Ted Moses, Grand Chief of the Grand Council of the Crees, as well as numerous work sessions that ensued. The Conseil des Ministres approved this proposal, which was then formally presented to the Cree representatives.

The purpose of this draft agreement is to establish a general framework to promote the implementation of elements of the James Bay and Northern Québec Agreement (JBNQA) signed in 1975, and agreements already reached between Québec and the Crees.  The government wants to establish a new basis for relations and will promote a negotiation-based approach.

Mechanism for implementing the JBNQA and other agreements

It is proposed that a central negotiation committee be created. This committee would be mandated to carry out and coordinate negotiations, to agree on a common interpretation by the parties of certains elements of the JBNQA, and to serve as a liaison mechanism to settle disputes originating from the sectoral or multisectoral committees. The framework agreement and the ensuing negotiations would be placed under the responsibility of Mr. Ted Moses, Grand Chief of the Grand Council of the Crees, and Mr. Guy Chevrette, Minister for Native Affairs.

"We want to work in partnership with the Crees to establish a mechanism allowing us to establish priorities meeting the needs of their population and ensuring a more systematic implementation of the Agreement," stated Minister Chevrette.

Negotiation of sectoral or multisectoral agreements

For the implementation of certain elements of the JBNQA and for the closing of the Implementation Agreement of 1998, the government is proposing to the Crees a $120 million budget over a five-year period that would be broken down as follows: a maximum of $80 million to complete the commitments of the Implementation Agreement of 1998; $11 million to complete the transfer of SODAB (Société de développement autochtone de la Baie-James) to the Crees; $750,000 to adjust the funding of the Cree Trappers' Association. A remaining sum of $28.25 million would be devoted to realize priorities ensuing from the JBNQA, in particular the elements provided for in Section 28, Economic and Social development-Crees.

In the health sector, a specific budget would go to realizing various priority elements of Section 14 of the Agreement and section II of the Implementation Agreement of 1998.  Moreover, the negotiations pertaining to the transfer of Category I and II lands to the Crees of Oujé Bougoumou would continue.  The government is willing to devote a lump-sum budget to resolving this entire matter.

"The Government acknowledges the needs of the Cree population made up of a large number of young people under 25 (more than 58%), in the matter of training and jobs creation. It is my firm conviction that the government's offer makes it possible to meet needs deemed a priority by the Crees, in particular in the community infrastructure, economic development and health fields. I sincerely hope that the leaders of the Grand Council of the Crees  agree to work with Québec within the framework of this substantial and realistic proposal," indicated Mr. Guy Chevrette, Minister for Native Affairs.

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SOURCE :

Édith Rochette
Press officer
Office of Minister Guy Chevrette
(418) 643-6980
Signature gouvernementale
Secrétariat aux affaires autochtones
905, avenue Honoré-Mercier, 1er étage - Québec (Qc)  G1R 5M6 - 418 643-3166
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