The Superior Court of Quebec has ruled that the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act is in violation of the James Bay and Northern Quebec Agreement.

In a lengthy decision handed down April 3, the Superior Court affirmed the Crees’ constitutional right to “fully participate in the management, control and regulation of the development of the territory.” The ruling went on to say that the JBNQA trumps any and all federal or provincial laws.

Since CEA Act does not take into account Cree rights and fails to recognize the special status of Crees within Eeyou Istchee, it is inapplicable in northern Quebec.

“We are extremely satisfied that the court has agreed with us that the CEA Act violated our treaty right,” Grand Chief Matthew Mukash said in a press release. This decision strongly reaffirms the principle of the prevalence of our treaty rights in the James Bay territory, as well as our guaranteed participation in the management, control and regulation of all development throughout the territory.”

In the past, Canada has forced the Crees to live under the CEA Act. With this decision however, Canada will be compelled by the Superior Court to abide by the JBNQA guidelines.