The Quebec government’s Bill 99 sets the stage for the use of force against the Crees and other First Nations following a vote for sovereignty, Grand Chief Ted Moses told a National Assembly committee last month.
Quebec also has no business including First Nations in Bill 99’s “fictitious Quebec people.
“Bill 99 subsumes and assimilates ail peoples in Quebec – including Aboriginal peoples – into a single ‘Quebec people.’ This violates our right to self-identification. It is also a fraudulent deception,” Moses said.
The bill is Quebec’s legislative response to Ottawa’s Clarity Act, which sets out rules on the secession of a province.
Testifying before a committee examining Bill 99, Moses agreed that Quebecers have a right to self-determination and to separate from Canada, but so do the Crees.
It’s up to them to decide whether their 400,000-square-kilometre territory should remain part of Canada, he said.
Moses called Bill 99 unconstitutional, and said it “runs roughshod over our human right to self-determination” and other Aboriginal and treaty rights. It is also illegal because it exceeds the legislative jurisdiction of the National Assembly, he said.
Rather than a strong argument against the Clarity Act, “Bill 99 serves as the most concrete example to date as to why clear and principled rules are urgently needed for any future secession initiative,” he said.
Moses also noted that Quebec has already retaliated against the Crees for standing up for their rights, by withholding millions of dollars in promised funding for community projects.