Strateco President Guy Hebert says that the Crees have no say over resource exploitation in Eeyou Istchee because “the Crees sold their rights.” Hebert made the comment during Strateco’s 2013 shareholder assembly. During the meeting, one investor went even further, questioning whether Crees qualified as Quebecers. “We should level all their tents and get it over with,” he said.
Hebert restored order to the meeting and claimed that Crees supported the uranium project but the current problems were the result of a “few activists.”
This statement was contradicted by the 93% of those who voted against uranium development during the Special General Assembly in Mistissini. As well, a 2013 poll commissioned by the Canadian Boreal Initiative showed that 77% of Northern Quebecers believe Strateco should respect the Cree community of Mistissini and not proceed with the project.
The Quebec government has asked the Bureau d’audiences publiques sur l’environnement (BAPE) to hold a generic evaluation of uranium mining in Quebec. Strateco’s project and others like it are on hold until the BAPE makes its report. Strateco shareholders are frustrated by the delay, especially because Strateco’s stock value has plummeted from $3.78 to 7 cents a share. The company said it has spent $123 million developing the exploration project to date and has taken the Quebec government to court over the delays. The company is demanding immediate compensation of $16 million and a monthly subsidy to keep the company from folding.
On the advice of legal counsel, Grand Council and Mistissini First Nation representatives couldn’t comment as they would be joining the court proceedings on June 13 and 14.
Hebert reassured his investors saying, “I am confident that there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Since January, we have concentrated on the legal aspects, but they could be just as profitable as exploitation.”