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MONTRÉAL, March 30, 1999 - The Grand Chief of the Mohawk Council of Kahnawake, Mr. Joseph Tokwiro Norton, the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of State for the Economy and Finance, Mr. Bernard Landry, and the Minister of Transport, Minister for Native Affairs, and Minister responsible for Wildlife and Parks, Mr. Guy Chevrette, today signed ten sectoral agreements arising from the framework agreement of October 15, 1998.

These agreements are designed to harmonize relations between Kahnawake and Québec. They indicate the result that can be achieved when two parties honestly and in good faith seek mutually agreed upon solutions in different fields of common interest where both parties benefit.

The agreements cover the fiscal matters related to consumer goods and services; fiscal matters related to tobacco, fuel and alcoholic beverages; transportation and user fees; economic development; administration of justice; registration of births, marriages and deaths; child care; police services; combat sports; and liquor permits.

After Kahnawake and Québec signed a Statement of Understanding and Mutual Respect, as well as a framework agreement, last October 15, intensive negotiations involving seven Québec government departments were held to achieve these ten sectoral agreements. Five sectors had already been identified in the framework agreement, namely fiscal matters, economic development, public security, administration of justice and user fees. The issue of child care was subsequently added.

Agreement on fiscal matters related to tobacco, petroleum and alcohol products

Under this agreement, the Mohawk Council of Kahnawake will ensure that tobacco products, fuel and alcoholic beverages sold on the territory are obtained from authorized sources. It will also ensure that the price of products sold to non-aboriginal people is within the market price.

In addition, a simpler mechanism dealing with specific taxes on cigarettes, alcohol and fuel, will be established for the purpose of reimbursement.

Agreement on fiscal matters related to consumer goods and services

This agreement confirms and broadens the personal exemption of the Mohawks of Kahnawake regarding the purchase of goods and services for personal consumption, while implementing a better control system to prevent abuses.

Goods and services purchased by a Mohawk of Kahnawake within the territory of Kahnawake will continue to be tax-exempt. Outside the territory, purchases of goods by a Mohawk of Kahnawake will be tax-exempt upon presentation of an identification card. However, the card will not be valid regarding the consumption of most services outside the territory. The agreement will be implemented gradually, in view of the time required to set up the identification card system.

The Mohawk Council of Kahnawake will have primary responsibility for overseeing the effective operation of this system. For the purposes of this agreement the parties agree to share and exchange information on the list of card-holders.

Agreement on transport and user fees

This agreement settles the issue of user fees and the sharing of responsibilities in regard to the management of the road system. It stipulates payment of compensation by Québec to Kahnawake for the use of its territory for the purposes of highways 132, 138 and 207.

Kahnawake will be fully responsible for the management of roads located within its territory. The agreement also stipulates the implementation of arrangements needed to improve public transit: traffic control, traffic signals, police services and other related matters.

Agreement on economic development

This agreement fosters economic development and job creation for the Mohawks of Kahnawake. The purpose of the agreement is to ensure that economic projects from Kahnawake will be able to benefit from the aboriginal development fund which will be set up in 1999. In addition, Kahnawake will continue to be eligible for the Québec government's regular assistance programs.

Agreement on the administration of justice

Under this agreement, a mediation system will be implemented for family matters, youth, civil disputes (small claims), the appointment of justices of the peace and the solemnization of civil marriages.

Agreement on the registration of births, marriages and deaths

The purpose of this agreement is to strengthen cooperation between the Director of civil status and the Kahnawake Registrar regarding the registration of births, marriages and deaths, while avoiding duplication of administrative procedures.

Agreement on child care

This agreement enables the Ministère de la Famille et de l'Enfance to recognize the Kahnawake child care centre. This centre will be recognized as a non-profit legal person.

Agreement on police services

The purpose of this agreement is to define the framework for effective cooperation between the parties regarding police services to maintain peace, order and public security in Kahnawake. It is different from previous agreements on policing in that it is now bipartite between Québec and Kahnawake.

Agreement on combat sports

This agreement sets up a framework for effective cooperation between the parties regarding the issue and control of permits for professional combat sports within the territory of Kahnawake. The Kahnawake Athletic Commission will be responsible for issuing, suspension and cancellation of permits.

Agreement on liquor permits

This agreement sets up a framework for effective cooperation between the parties regarding the issue and control of liquor permits within the territory. This agreement also stipulates that alcoholic beverages supplied or sold within the territory of Kahnawake must be obtained from the Société des alcools du Québec or other authorized sources.

In general, the agreements are for five years and are renewed automatically, unless written notice to the contrary is given by either party. They do not have treaty force. Each agreement stipulates that a joint liaison committee is to be set up to oversee the implementation of the agreement.

Grand Chief Joseph Tokwiro Norton said: "We set out to find solutions to the problems that affected both our peoples. When this started, I had said that we needed to make things easier for our children in the future so that they would not have to endure what we have been through. The overall impact of the agreements, I believe, is a giant step in that direction. Today's signing shows that both Kahnawake and Québec working from two different perspectives can accommodate each other in a constructive and responsible manner."

Mr. Bernard Landry noted: "The agreements we are signing today flow from a Statement of Understanding and Mutual Respect, and are designed to maintain harmonious relations while providing a better foundation for Kahnawake's economic and social development."

For his part, Minister Guy Chevrette stated: "These agreements demonstrate the new approach defined in the guidelines the Québec government adopted in April 1998. This is the first series of sectoral agreements the government has signed with a native community since the policy was initiated. The objective is to live in harmony, while respecting our differences, with native communities, without hindrances, in fairness and transparency. We will continue to take significant steps to encourage the participation of the native communities in the economic development of their region to secure a better future for their young people."

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Esther Boily
Office of Minister Guy Chevrette
Telephone: (418) 643-6980
Fax: (418) 643-2033
Timmy Norton
Public Relations Officer
Mohawk Council of Kahnawake
Telephone: (514) 632-7500
Fax: (514) 638-5958
Andrée Corriveau
Associate Executive Assistant
Press Officer
Office of the Deputy Prime Minister
Telephone: (418) 643-5270
Fax : (418) 643-6626

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Secrétariat aux affaires autochtones
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