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Secrétariat aux affaires autochtones
Home > Press centre > Press releases > 2012 > January 24, 2012

Community of Chisasibi

Ministers Kelley and Corbeil take part in the inauguration of the Justice Centre

Chisasibi, January 24, 2012 – Geoffrey Kelley, Minister responsible for Native Affairs, and Pierre Corbeil, Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, Minister responsible for the Abitibi-Témiscamingue region and the Nord-du-Québec region, and MNA for Abitibi-Est, were in Chisasibi today for the celebration marking the official opening of the Justice Centre. They joined Ashley Iserhoff, Deputy Grand Chief of the Grand Council of the Crees (Eeyou Istvchee) and Vice-Chairman of the Cree Regional Authority, and the Chief of the Community, Abraham Rupert, in inaugurating this new institution that is one more example of mobilization for the social development of Northern Québec.

"Today we are celebrating the culmination of several years of work and extensive collaboration between the community, the Grand Council of the Crees, and the Government of Québec. This initiative shows that we can do great things by working together. This new institution improves the slate of services in the community. I feel privileged to be part of this historic moment with the Community of Chisasibi," said Minister Kelley.

Until now, the Itinerant Court was held in Chisasibi in a setting that lacked decorum.

"From now on, the Community of Chisasibi will have a permanent location for the administration of justice, a modern, functional centre. It’s one more step in making the community a better place to live overall," Minister Corbeil explained.

The facilities are designed to meet the specific needs of the Cree and the Court so that the services offered are right for the exercise of justice, including the latest information technology such as videoconferences. This will make it much easier for members of the community to meet with attorneys, psychologists and other professionals, no matter where they happen to be.

The inauguration of the Justice Centre comes in the wake of the Agreement concerning the administration of justice for the Crees between the Government of Québec and the Grand Council of the Crees (Eeyou Istchee) and the Cree Regional Authority, signed in May 2007, providing for an annual payment of $13 million indexed for 20 years. It will be used to fund various justice-administration-related projects and measures. The idea is to take into account certain specific features of the Cree community. The Crees opted for a justice centre in each of their communities that enables the Court as well as Justice Committees to conduct their business. This is the fourth such inauguration, with Chisasibi following Mistissini in January 2011, Waswanipi in June 2011 and Oujé-Bougoumou in November 2011.

"The opening of the Chisasibi Justice Centre marks an important day for the Cree Nation of Chisasibi. It’s an opportunity for the Cree to participate more in the area of justice. The facility can provide greater access to services for the people of Chisasibi and also be a meeting place for the local Justice Committee and the development of local programs, and  can facilitate the creation of a network of resources locally to address issues of significance for the community. Justice is a system that needs to be inclusive of the people it seeks to serve, so we’ve ensured that facilities, services and personnel are in place as key resources to build a system for the community. We would also like to take the opportunity with the Government of Québec to recognize and commend the spirit of cooperation of the people of Chisasibi at times when it is needed the most," said Mr. Iserhoff.

This event attended by the ministers is an example of what the Government of Québec is doing to equip Northern communities with modern, functional buildings adapted to their needs, with a view to facilitating access to certain services. This achievement also proves that the Cree Nation and Québec share the will to work together to develop Québec’s North.

Lastly, Ministers Kelley and Corbeil took advantage of the opportunity to award a plaque to community Chief Abraham Rupert in recognition of the solidarity and effectiveness of the emergency workers during the major power outage last December.

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