Did you hear about Quebec Native Affairs Minister Guy Chevrette’s latest little gift to First Nations in Quebec? Seems this lad is trying to gather the reins of power ever closer to himself.

He has introduced a little bill in Quebec’s legislature. Let me give you the low-down on that little piece. Basically the bill says that all negotiations or deals signed with First Nations in Quebec must pass through his office for examination and approval. That’s right, Chevrette is giving himself a veto and tons of power.

This means many things for First Nations. For example, take the Cree School Board negotiates with the Ministry of Education. The Grand Council isn’t involved and Quebec’s Indian Affairs boys aren’t either. This is a hard-won right.

Basically, Guy Chevrette is setting up a situation where he will have an ethnically based ministry. Perhaps having a Ministry of Jews, Blacks or Irish is next.

In any case, if this legislation goes through you can kiss your rights and freedoms away. Any agreements will be subject to his Royal Highness’s approval and we all know what a nasty boy Chevrette can be. He’s the one who is insisting on the Crees giving up their forestry court case before releasing any of the 1995 Memorandum of Understanding monies. This, even though the MOU allows for court cases and is a result of the dams, not trees. He lacks the insight and commitment to be fair, as I see it.

Not only that. This comes at a time when the federal government is looking at ways to deregulate Indian Affairs and give Aboriginal peoples in Canada chances at self-government and control over their own lives. They may not be doing that as fast as First Nations in Canada would like to see it done, but they are attempting to do it at least.

Now Chevrette wants his own Ministry of Indian Affairs to mimic the Canadian Indian Affairs of the early 1900’s.

The Great White Father looking after his poor benighted Red Children type of bull manure that I thought went the way of bell-bottoms and disco. Guess what? Bell-bottoms are making a comeback and disco is getting the occasional play these days.

Quebec says it treated the First Nations better than anybody else did. Looks like that is just another load of B.S. these days. I know one thing and that is if this bill is an example of how First Nations will be treated within a Quebec that is still part of Canada, then I am deeply afraid of sovereignty.

But what can we do about it? To start with, we can call our National Assembly members to complain. If you have a computer you can get on the internet and chat about it. In any case we need to make Quebec’s parliament aware of how we feel about this issue.

Andre Pelletier, Member for Abitibi-Est
Hotel du Parlement, Bureau 1.113
Quebec City (Quebec) G1A 1A4
Phone : (418) 644-4869
Fax : (418) 646-9284

Francois Gendron, Member for Abitibl-Ouest
Hotel du Parlement
Bureau 1.103
Quebec City (Quebec) G1A 1A4
Phone: (418) 646-8741
Fax: (418) 643-5462