Hydro-Quebec’s plan to export hydrogen energy to Germany will mean greater destruction of Cree lands, said Grand Chief Matthew Coon Come. “Can you not accomplish your goals through greater conservation and greater efficiency?” asked Coon Come at a conference of the prestigious Association for Canadian Studies in German-Speaking Countries late last month.
“Are there not ways of producing hydrogen which are less destructive of the environment? Surely, it is not
in the interests of the environment and humanity for you to export your environmental problems by causing the construction of mega-projects on our lands.”
Hydro-Quebec has plans to export hydrogen to Germany and France for use in run cars and other vehicles. Under the plan, up to 25,000 megawatts of hydrogen could be eventually produced in Quebec using electricity generated through hydro-electric projects like Great Whale.
Coon Come also attacked Quebec and Canada for conducting unsustainable clear-cutting on Cree lands. “The lands of aboriginal peoples are now being exploited without regard to the requirements of the law or sound environmental-managemcnt principles, so that non-aboriginals can benefit. I consider this to be a form of environmental racism.”
The Grand Chief also addressed the issue of sovereignty, observing that several prominent Quebec nationalists were present in the audience. “The Cree people are neither cattle nor property, to be transferred from sovereignty to sovereignty or from master to master. We do not seek to prevent the Québécois from achieving their legitimate goals. But we will not permit them to do so on Cree territory and at the expense of our fundamental rights, including our right to self-determination.”
He also called on Quebec to recognize the aboriginal right to self-determination.