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Secrétariat aux affaires autochtones

Negotiations between the Government of Québec and the Algonquins of Long Point and Lac Simon

Ministers Geoffrey Kelley and Pierre Corbeil take stock of the situation

Québec, April 1, 2005 - Mr. Geoffrey Kelley, Minister for Aboriginal Affairs, and Mr. Pierre Corbeil, Minister of Natural Resources and Wildlife, Minister responsible for the Abitibi-Témiscamingue Region and the Nord-du-Québec Region, and MNA for Abitibi-Est, have taken stock of the recent developments in the negotiations between the Government of Québec and the Algonquin communities of Long Point and Lac Simon.

On March 30, 2005, the parties reached an agreement which aims to decide on a negotiation process to find a lasting solution to the problem concerning the participation of Algonquin communities in the exploitation and development of the natural resources of the Abitibi-Témiscamingue region. This agreement provided for the negotiation and conclusion of an interim agreement before 6 p.m. on March 31st. This agreement was supposed to permit the progressive implementation of harmonization measures.

Despite the holding of sustained discussions and the efforts invested by the Government of Québec, the interim agreement could not be reached by the agreed upon deadline. To avoid a breakdown in the dialogue between the parties, Ministers Kelley and Corbeil would like to continue the discussions over the next few days to arrive at an agreement.

"While the deadline for reaching an interim agreement has passed, my colleague, Minister Corbeil, and I consider that the dialogue has not broken down. I have made a personal commitment to Chiefs Mathias and Pien to maintain contact, and I have invited them to continue the talks. We believe in the good faith of the parties, and that by working together, a solution may be reached. Together, we can settle our disputes and work in cooperation so that the communities can participate fully in the economic development of the region," emphasized Minister Kelley.

For his part, Minister Corbeil announced: "Under the circumstances, the Ministère des Ressources naturelles et de la Faune, in keeping with its mandate and in all fairness, must issue, beginning today, a certain number of forest management permits to allow holders of Timber Supply and Forest Management Agreements (TSFM) to ensure the continuity of work in order to supply their plants." However, these permits are being issued to permit operations over the next three months. By taking this step, the Minister wants to allow the negotiations to continue, while maintaining operations, where this is required.

This permits are intended for the following TSFM holders in particular: Domtar (Val-d'Or, Malartic and Lebel-sur-Quévillon); Tembec (La Sarre, Béarn, Senneterrre, Taschereau); Commonwealth Plywood (Belleterre); Bois Oméga (Lac Supérieur); Norbord (La Sarre, Val-d'Or), Produits forestiers et miniers Abitibi (Malartic), CDEX (Val-d'Or), Abitibi-Consolidated of Canada (Champneuf and Comtois); Scierie Landrienne (Amos); Scierie Gallichan (Amos); Matériaux Blanchet.

"The continuation of forestry operations, one of the leading economic activities of the Abitibi-Témiscamingue region, will benefit all communities in the region. It is essential to ensure the continuity of the production process," insisted Minister Corbeil.

In August 2004, the Algonquins of Long Point and Lac Simon had intensified their pressure tactics in this file, slowing down the carrying out of forestry activities in the Abitibi-Témiscamingue region. Since then, the Government of Québec, in accordance with the Supreme Court ruling, has continued to step up its actions to consult the two aboriginal communities in question on the subject of annual forestry management plans with a view to re-establishing the dialogue and bringing the parties closer together, with the ultimate goal of finding a lasting solution to this problem.


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Secrétariat aux affaires autochtones
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Online as of : April 4, 2005