It’s now out in the open.
During a meeting in Chisasibi, Hydro-Quebec’s top executives admitted publicly that the utility wants to build new projects in Iyiyuuschii and offer Crees some form of “partnership” and “profit-sharing” in these new developments.
“We are here to renew our relationship with Crees,” said Hydro-Quebec President Andre Caille. “We are here to deal directly with our partners, the people who have authority.”
Chairman of the Board Jacques Menard was candid about Hydro-Quebec’s future plans for new hydro-electric projects. However, he didn’t come right out and say where they would be located.
“Crees are an important ally and partner,” said Menard. “We are convinced we have every interest to work together as we move forward.”
Menard said the utility’s growth has stagnated over the last several years.
“We think it is our responsibility to resume this growth,” said Menard.
“We’ve decided to go swiftly—to be as quick as we can be (building new projects).”
Although The Nation broke the news of behind-closed-door plans of a new project involving the Whapmagoostui and Rupert’s rivers, Hydro-Quebec has never confirmed anything official.
However, during coffee break, the executives were asked directly if they were planning to build on Cree land.
“Yes,” said Director of Finance Yves Fillion, adding that official plans would be announced later this fall. “But we can’t do it without the people here,” said Fillion. “We don’t want the fight that happened with the last project.”
He said the Crees and Hydro-Quebec could be partners and make money together through profit-sharing on the new developments. “There could be many interesting opportunities for the people,” Fillion enthused.
When asked if Hydro-Quebec would try and force Crees to accept a new hydro-electric project, even if the people don’t want it, Fillion responded, “If they (Crees) don’t want it, we will go elsewhere.”