The Cree forestry battle looks like it’s going all the way to the Supreme Court of Canada.

Cree officials last week had all but made up their minds to take the Cree forestry lawsuit to the country’s highest court, after the Quebec Court of Appeal overturned a ruling that found Quebec and Canada had violated Cree rights.

In its May 15 decision, the Court of Appeal also upheld the removal of judge Jean-Jacques Croteau from the forestry case.

The appeal court stuck Crees with a $15,000 bill for court costs.

Croteau is the judge who ruled in favour of the Crees on December 20, saying Quebec had “openly and continually violated” Cree rights under the 1975 James Bay and Northern Quebec Agreement.

This is the ruling the appeal court struck down on May 15.

Cree chiefs met last week and were pretty much decided they would appeal the latest rulings to the Supreme Court.

“We are going to appeal,” said Chief Paul Gull, chair of the Cree forestry working group. “It all depends on whether there are any other recourses.” Crees have until August 4 to file an appeal.

Between now and then, a breakthrough in relations with Quebec is still possible.

It’s now almost certain that Quebec Premier Lucien Bouchard will finally meet Grand Chief Ted Moses sometime in June.

Moses has called for the meeting for months in hopes of breaking through the impasse in Cree-Quebec relations.

The relationship got derailed last year When Quebec Native Affairs Minister Guy Chevrette suspended $152 million in community funding to the Crees that had been promised with much fanfare in a 1997 memorandum of understanding.

The cut-off of funds left numerous community projects high and dry.

One such project is the long-awaited youth centre in Waswanipi. Frustrated youth in the community have decided not to wait any longer and are discussing the idea of walking all the way to Quebec City to bring attention to the situation.

They intend to pass through Premier Bouchard’s riding of Jonquière in the Saguenay region. The walk would probably take place sometime before St. Jean Baptiste Day.

More pressure will be brought to bear on Quebec when a Cree delegation, including people from Waswanipi and Ouje-Bougoumou, travels to Atlanta, Georgia, to lobby a May 31 Home Depot shareholders’ meeting.

The Crees will ask Home Depot to boycott lumber cut in Iyiyuuschii.

Home Depot is the world’s largest retailer of old-growth lumber and buys $700 million worth of goods each year in Quebec. A boycott by Home Depot, the Walmart of home improvement, would be a devastating blow to the Quebec government and forestry industry.

The company is already concerned about bad publicity from the Cree visit. It has been targeted by U.S. environmentalists who say it encourages the destruction of old-growth forests.

They have even created a web site to pressure the company (