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Accueil > Centre de presse > Communiqués > 2006 >February 16, 2006
Comprehensive territorial negotiations with the Innu

Minister Geoffrey Kelley presents Québec’s new negotiator

Québec City, February 16, 2006 – Mr. Geoffrey Kelley, Minister for Native Affairs, today officially announced the appointment of Mr. L. Yves Fortier, former ambassador and Canada’s permanent representative to the United Nations, to the position of negotiator for the Government of Québec in the file of the comprehensive territorial negotiations with the Innu. Mr. Fortier will head Québec’s negotiating team and will be assisted by Mr. Jean G. Bertrand, both members of the law firm of Ogilvy Renault.

During a meeting held this morning in Québec City in the presence of the negotiating team and the Innu chiefs, Minister Kelley said that he was proud that Mr. Fortier had agreed to take up this major challenge. “I am convinced that his internationally recognized talent in the arbitration of territorial questions and his experience as a negotiator with the Aboriginal peoples will help ensure the progress of the negotiations with the Innu. In making this appointment, the Government of Québec is respecting its commitment to revive the negotiations and is reaffirming its desire to reach an agreement that is satisfactory for all of the parties,” pointed out the Minister.

During his mandate, Mr. Fortier will work jointly with the negotiators of the Government of Canada and those of the Innu communities to reach an agreement, notably concerning the territory. “These negotiations have been under way for close to 25 years. I believe that the reaching of a final treaty requires a step-by-step approach. The resolution of the territory question is one of these key steps, and I am convinced that we can come to agreement. I also wish to add that the Agreement-in-principle of a general nature affects not only the Innu, but also the populations of the regions in question. Clearly, it has major social and economic implications, and I am personally committed to taking the point of view of these regions into consideration,” indicated Mr. Fortier.

In March 2004, the governments of Québec and Canada, as well as the first nations of Mamuitun and Nutashkuan signed the Agreement-in-principle of a general nature engaging the parties in a negotiation process that should lead to a treaty. This treaty will promote the development of the Aboriginal communities as well as that of the Saguenay–Lac-Saint-Jean and North Shore regions. These negotiations are slated to resume shortly.

Mr. Kelley pointed out that since April 2003 Québec has made it a priority to accompany the Aboriginal peoples in their development and to continue the negotiations begun with them. “By appointing Mr. Fortier to head our negotiating team in this file, we want to send a clear signal. I am determined to make progress in the relations that we have with the Aboriginal peoples and to enter into partnerships that will serve as foundations upon which future generations will build the Québec of tomorrow,” concluded Minister Kelley.

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Mise en ligne : February 16, 2006