As predicted, Quebec has appealed Justice Jean-Jacques Croteau’s scathing judgement in the Cree forestry court case.
Quebec is arguing that the Superior Court judge overstepped his bounds and made a ruling before all the evidence was in.
On Dec. 20, Croteau ruled that Quebec’s forest regime violates Cree rights. He gave Quebec six months to start changing it.
The judge had ruled on what’s called a “safeguard order,” which Crees had requested as part of the Mario Lord forestry case filed in 1998.
It could take years before there is a final judgement in the court case. So the Crees requested a safeguard order, in which the judge was asked to order the government not to approve any new forest management plans while the case is before the court.
The plans are what makes the whole forestry system go. Forest companies need to submit the plans every five years to get a permit to cut trees.
The judge ruled in favour of the Crees, but he gave the government and companies some breathing room – six months – to start changing the system to respect Cree rights.
Crees also requested three injunctions, which are separate from the safeguard order. They asked the court to order Quebec and Canada to respect the James Bay and Northern Quebec Agreement in their forestry laws.
Crees also asked for logging to be stopped in 24 vulnerable Cree traplines. And they asked for a stop to the construction of a new logging road north of Waswanipi.
Hearings on these three injunction motions were supposed to start after Christmas. But Quebec’s appeal of Croteau’s Dec. 20 ruling will sideline the injunction hearings for now.