Hydro-Quebec must think I’m the most outspoken, never-say-die opposition they have. I feel the majority of my editorials in some way deals with them and the impacts that they have on the Crees in some way. “Give it a rest,” I can almost hear them saying.
Unfortunately this is the real world and to coin an overused cliché, “there’s no rest for the wicked.” Just as they haven’t rested, neither shall I.
The latest in a long list of misconceptions and backroom politics deals with Hydro-Quebec and Great Whale. Even though the spokespeople at Hydro have stated that they will not do any projects that a community nixes, the reality is being twisted, deliberately or not.
Some very basic mis-impressions have arisen. In conversations with Hydro-Quebec officials and according to our reports, we’ve found out what Hydro-Quebec seems to think. They think the Crees are negotiating with them through the three-man task force that was set up after Premier Bouchard came up North on his visit. The task force members are: Chief Walter Hughboy, Romeo Saganash and Roderick Pachano.
Hydro is spin-doctoring Whapmagoostui’s latest referendum and the subsequent GCCEA/CRA Annual General Assembly Resolution concerning the Great Whale Project. They say the referendum and resolution don’t apply the their latest proposal to divert the Great Whale and Rupert rivers because this project is different from the original one which the Crees defeated.
Matthew Mukash, Chief of Great Whale, says he can’t understand this attitude. “The mandate encompassed all development to the Great Whale River. It was very straightforward and clear in the mandate that the resolution represented. That mandate has to be carried out by the GCCEA. Not to do so would be contrary to the understanding by the Cree communities to respect decisions of the other communities,” he said.
“This referendum and the resulting resolution were unanimous. No community voted against it. In my mind, there are no questions about it. There should be no negotiations on it. There should be nothing but the actions necessary to stop Hydro-Quebec’s plans to develop the Great Whale River, whether or not the proposals change,” asserted Mukash.
Given all this and Whapmagoostui’s latest battle plan for a new upcoming U.S. tour (see page 7), one can only wonder exactly what it is that keeps Hydro-Quebec coming back, again and again. Even the most jaded of the public-relations department can’t hope to think that the Whapmagoostui First Nation is going to allow Hydro to divert their river or disappear quietly without a fight.
Well, the latest action in this tale is that Chief Matthew Mukash will be calling Hydro-Quebec to discuss the proposed Great Whale River Diversion Project and to let them know the Whapmagoostui community does not want this project. Given that Hydro said they’ll back down if a community doesn’t want a project we’ll keep you up to date on the developments. In this way we’ll see if the forked tongue is a thing of the past when Hydro talks.