Four candidates want your vote in the June 2 federal election. But the seat representing the Abitibi riding in the Parliamentary cafeteria fits only one. Who will it be? For the three or so Crees who will be voting, it won’t be easy to decide. Especially with Neil deciding to bow out of the race at the last minute…

Now, for the first time in Nation history: The Candidates Tell All.

NAME: Jeannot Couture

PARTY: Bloc Quebecois

OCCUPATION: Shopkeeper

HOME: Malartic

The Nation: How many Cree communities are there in Northern Quebec?

I don’t know. 15, 20, 18?

What does the word “Cree” mean?

(a) Comes from French word for “to scream”

(b) Cree for “the moose people”

(c) “The lost tribe of Crete”

(d) Latin for “Christian”

I don’t think it’s the first one… It’s a Native nation like other Native nations, the Algonquins, the Iroquois. There’s lots. Who was the last Cree person you spoke to and what did you discuss?

I often have difficulty with Natives knowing who they are, Cree, Algonquin, Attikamekw or whatever. I have spoken to Mr. Saganash, Mr. Diamond.

Should the dams be dismantled?

Dismantled? Dismantle the James Bay hydro-electric dams? No, I don’t believe so. No.

How long have the Crees been in James Bay?

Oh my God. What I have heard is they’ve been there for years and years and years and years.

Should Radisson be driven from James Bay?

No. If the population stays there, I don’t see why it shouldn’t be a permanent municipality.

Have you ever partied/gone out with a Native?

Yes. When I was young I went out with a Native girl from Amos. There were beautiful girls in the reserve there!

Have you read Chief?

No. Maybe you could send me a copy?

What does Eeyou mean?

No idea.

Have you ever inhaled?

No. In the 70s people thought marijuana was dangerous.

Why are the Cree communities empty at this time of year?

The youth have left their communities, is that it?

Do you have any Native ancestors?

I don’t think so.

Do you read The Nation?

Had never heard of it.

NAME: Armand Caouette

PARTY: Progressive Conservatives

OCCUPATION: in the Heating and ventilation business, former MP

HOME: Val d’Or

How many Cree communities are there in Quebec?

I would say minimum 18 reserves.

Do you know the word for “hello” in Cree?


Which Native personality do you admire the most?

In the past I have had the occasion to work with Billy Diamond. And I have also worked with Mr. Can… Cancoun… Can-Coon Come? That’s it.

If you had a Native name what would it be?

Me, I admire enormously the name Diamond.

Which is the closest Cree community to you and have you been there?

Yes, I have had the occasion to go to Nemaska, but it’s not the closest. The closest I believe is Chisasibi.

If you were an animal which one would it be?

Beaver. It’s hardworking.

Which Cree person did you speak with most recently and what did you discuss?

We talked about business and I spoke with a Mr. who was called… Wait a minute… It’ll come to me… John something. It starts with C. It’s not Cancoun… Coon Con… Kistabish? Kistabish! That’s it.

Do you think the dams should be dismantled?

No, because they’re a resource we own.

If we dismantle them I believe it would be to the detriment of the Natives.

How many communities start with the letter W?

I would say all nine… Well, not Chisasibi.

How long have the Crees been in James Bay?

I’ve reached 51 years of age and the Crees have been here most of the time. I would say 40 years. Did they move from Fort Chimo?

Should Radisson be driven from James Bay?

Radisson is a benefit for the North with its infrastructure.

Have you smoked marijuana?

No. Never.

Do you have any Cherokee ancestors?


Do you read The Nation?

I have a brother-in-law who goes to the reserves to sell cars. When he returns he brings back the magazine and we take a look at what’s going on. It’s stuff I love, like caribou hunting.

NAME: Eric Lanteigne

PARTY: New Democratic Party

OCCUPATION: NDP Communications Director for Quebec

HOME: Montreal

(Lanteigne stood in for NDP candidate Claudette Paquin who was unavailable)

Do you have a dreamcatcher in your house or car?

No, I don’t. What is it?

What is the Native population of Canada?

… (laughs) I’m sorry, I couldn’t put a number on this one.

What is the closest Native community to where you live? Have you been there?

Kahnawake, and yes, I’ve been there.

Would you eat fish guts?

Oh yes, I like everything that has to do with fish.

If you had an Indian name what would it be?

I used to belong to the Scouts and we gave ourselves names like this. I was “Triumphant Eagle.”

Which Native personality do you admire most?

Ghislain Picard (AFN Regional Chief), I’ve always admired him because he isn’t too extreme. And Billy Two Rivers.

Do you know any Native words?


Have you ever smoked marijuana?

No. Are you surprised?

How many Native nations are in Quebec?

I’d say about 12. (Right answer: 11 -Ed.)

How long have the Crees lived in James Bay?

They were there long before the James Bay projects were thought of.

Can you spell the word “potatoes”?

P-O… Uh. Po… Okay, P-O-T-A-T-O-E-S.

If we put your candidate’s face on the cover of The Nation, would you give us a big fat government contract if you are elected?

(laughs) No, and you wouldn’t expect any other answer… But I can tell you that for most of the national newspapers, they say yes we will meet with your party but you have to negotiate an advertising contract. And we’re the only party that doesn’t do this. It’s a condition of getting coverage. And they’re not even ashamed of talking about it. Which papers are you talking about? All the big papers in Quebec. Name them. Like The Gazette? Yes, especially The Gazette. You can quote me. I thought it was quite horrible. I was quite surprised and shocked.

NAME: Guy St. Julien

PARTY: Liberals

OCCUPATION: Mine Service Company, former MP

HOME: Val d’Or

How many Cree communities in Quebec?


How long have the Crees lived in James Bay?

Oh la la… 5,000 years.

Which Native personality do you admire the most?

I admire all the Natives.

If I said Watchiya to your mother, how would you react?

If you said it in the evening it would be okay. It means hello.

If you were an animal which one would it be?

A wolf. He’s a fighter, he goes everywhere in his territory.

Would you eat the brains of a beaver?

Yes, no problem.

Have you ever told a lie?

Yes. To my mother.

Have you read Chief?

I’ve read some of it. I got it as a gift from Billy Diamond.

Why are the Cree communities empty now?

It’s the goose hunt.

Which of these campaign slogans best describes you?

(a) I rip you off less

(b) Praise the Lord and pass the collection plate

(c) Jobs, jobs, jobs: If we jail the homeless, we can hire more prison guards

(d) I am not a crook.

It’s more like: “Help, help, help.” I want to help people.

Have you smoked marijuana?


Do you read The Nation?

Yes, I read it often.