Canada is ignoring the territorial dispute between the Parti Quebecois and the Crees of James Bay, said Matthew Coon Come at the Cree Nations Gathering in The Pas.

The Grand Chief accused Ottawa politicians of wanting to ignore the problem because they are afraid of stirring up anti-federalist sentiment in Quebec during an election campaign.

“It’s time to deal with this problem,” Coon Come said at a meeting of Crees from across North America at the end of July.

“It will be too late when the separatists are in power and we will be alone in opposing them.”

Coon Come’s comments were reported in La Presse. (See a full report on the gathering on page 28.)

The PQ says First Nations will remain part of Quebec if the province votes to separate from Canada. But Coon Come disagreed, saying that First Nations rights and self-government must be addressed before the provincial election.