Media Release - 2012
Matoush uranium project: A confidence test for Quebec's Plan Nord
Montreal, June 9, 2012 – According to the Canadian Boreal Initiative (CBI), the Mistissini Cree community's categorical rejection of Strateco Resources' Matoush uranium project represents a test of confidence for the Charest government's Plan Nord. The issue is whether this northern Quebec development plan will respect the principle of free, prior and informed consent, nation to nation, between Quebec and Aboriginal nations, as stated in the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
If the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) approves advanced exploration of the uranium deposit, Quebec—i.e., the Deputy Minister of sustainable development, environment and parks—will have the final decision as to whether or not the project goes ahead.
"The informed and categorical refusal by the Mistissini community expressed by its Chief, Richard Shecapio, earlier this week, and supported by the Grand Council of the Crees, calls for a coherent response from Quebec," explains Suzann Méthot, CBI's Regional Director in Quebec. "CBI believes this will be crucial in the pursuit of relations between Quebec and Aboriginal peoples of the North. This is all about the credibility of the Plan Nord, respect for the principles set out in the Sustainable Development law, particularly in terms of social acceptability, and the Government's commitments to First Nations and Inuit."
"Consent from the Cree for the Matoush project is needed to ensure not only a nation-to-nation relationship, but also the project’s sustainability," says Valérie Courtois, Senior Advisor, Aboriginal Affairs, at CBI. "It is important that ecological planning of their territory is undertaken with the Cree, before any licence is granted, to ensure that their rights, interests, values and aspirations are taken into consideration."
About the Canadian Boreal Initiative
The Canadian Boreal Initiative brings together diverse partners to create new solutions for the conservation and sustainable development of the Boreal Forest. It works as a catalyst by supporting on-the-ground efforts across the boreal region by industry, Aboriginal nations, conservation organizations, major retailers, financial institutions and scientists.
Suzann Méthot, Regional Director - Quebec, Canadian Boreal Initiative