We are faced with scarcity within our Cree Nation because of our resources, which we love so much. But it’s a scarcity in which the people of Eeyou Istchee are forced to make choices.
When we cannot have everything we want, we must choose among the available alternatives. Because scarcity forces us to choose, the science of economics is sometimes called the science of choice. It is the science that explains the choices people make and predicts how changes in circumstances affect these choices, like the one of the recent agreement with the Quebec government.
To make a choice is to balance the benefits of having more of things against the cost of having less of something else. Balancing benefits against costs and doing the best within the limits of what is possible is called “optimizing.” There is another word that has similar meaning and that is “economizing.” Economizing is making the best use of the resources available. Is this perhaps what we have chosen as an alternative to other developments of certain big hydro projects that have been tabled before? Maybe, we will see about that. Once people have made a choice and have optimized, they cannot have more of everything. Having more of one thing means having less of something else. Expressed in another way, it would be that, in making choices, we face costs. Whatever we choose to do, we could always have chosen to do something else instead.
Think of what the benefits are and don’t focus too much on the negative. It was bound to happen sometime soon, and this was the path chosen for us long ago even before the JBNQA. Policy development and partnerships, monitoring and implementation should now be our prime focus. In development, it is time for change. It is time to-step forward and take action for ourselves…