Why should Cree voters vote for you?
I feel confident that my past experience as a political aide for the Minister responsible for Northern Quebec has prepared me to work with your communities and to serve as the Liberal Member of the National Assembly for Ungava riding. I am familiar with the priorities and issues of the Cree communities. I am extremely enthusiastic and motivated at the idea of working with the Cree Nation. For the past 20 years, I have worked with various political structures and developed considerable experience in defending issues and projects.

I’m well aware that the Cree Nation has developed its own vision and you have successfully established your own institutions and services. I consider that the role of the MNA is not to impose any changes but rather to provide complementary support in improving your programs and services in addition to having the privilege of representing your interests at the National Assembly. The challenge will be to make the opportunities that come with the existing agreements work for the Crees.

We must recognize the progress made in the past in education, in the delivery of health and social services, for example. Clearly, work still needs to be done to improve services and the quality of life for the Cree. We need to improve health care by promoting healthy living habits as well as diabetes prevention and treatment programs. I want to work to provide adults with the skills and training they need to access jobs now and in the future. The education system must offer sufficient training to the youth who will enter the job market every year. I also want to focus on improving family services, for example, improving child care services by increasing the number of places in daycare services allowing more women to integrate jobs as well.

Another priority is to complete the community broadband network project and to improve the economic perspectives with a focus on encouraging wind power development projects which will bring direct and long-term economic benefits to the Crees.

I believe that I can make a difference by ensuring a presence in the communities and by learning more about the priorities and issues.

I look forward to working with Cree leadership and understand that they have set an objective to ensure self-determination.

What is your stance on the current control that James Bay municipality mayors have over Cree lands under Bill 40? Do you think Crees should have more control over what happens on their territory?
I believe that Quebec’s future depends on the economic and social development of all the communities that inhabit the territory. We share the same territory, we rely on the same resources, we are concerned about the same challenges and we have the same ambitions to see every member of our communities find self-fulfillment by actively participating in the building of a strong and inclusive Québec.

It is a question of justice and equity between the different groups of our society.

I am confident that our common desire will give us the opportunity to seek new ideas and solutions that will lead to productive partnerships and relationships, which, in turn, will improve the social and economic conditions of the entire population of Ungava.

We must provide opportunities to unite our strengths, to respect one another and to reach our common goal, which is to ensure the development of our territory. Our futures are intertwined. Our future is a shared one.

For the Quebec Liberal Party, it is clear that we must enter into dialogue, listen, mobilize our strengths and take action. I am here to listen. I am confident that the elected leadership, both Cree and non-Aboriginal, will provide guidance to discuss our differences openly and respectfully.

Initially, we are well aware that the operational mechanisms of the various existing structures including the Regional Council of Elected Officials (CRE), municipalities and First Nations differ in the operational aspects but we also have similarities in our concerns and responsibilities as elected officials. I believe that this constitutes a stepping stone towards a new collaboration and a new regional force. We must understand that this does not imply that we must intrude in each others structures at a political level, but mostly on how we can support each other. Our people must get to know each other.

If I am elected, I will do everything I can to ensure that the Cree communities are involved and consulted in any decisions taken in the territory.

What do you think about the Rupert River diversion? Is it good or bad for Crees?
I support all projects that have a positive impact on the Cree communities. The Eastmain IA – La Sarcelle – Rupert River diversion project will bring considerable economic spin-offs in Northern Québec.

Hydro-Québec has committed itself to offer Crees and businesses contracts for at least $240 million to implement the project. In addition to this, they will contribute an amount of $43 million to carry out corrective measures, projects specific to archaeology and burial sites, promotion of traditional activities and compensation for impacts on mercury levels.

Quebec and Crees share a common interest. We both want to build a better future. We need to allow future generations to prosper from development of the natural resources and we must develop tools and opportunities to build together.

Three Cree communities recently had referendums on whether they should fight the Rupert River diversion. Do you know which communities they were and why they fought the diversion?
On December 1st, 2006, the three Cree communities of Waskaganish, Nemaska and Chisasibi made public the results of a referendum on the EM-1A Rupert Diversion Project expressing that the majority of their members voted against the Rupert Diversion that focused on the impacts of the EM-1A project.

In fact, the decision in 2002 in favor of the Paix des Braves Agreement was made by all of the communities. The Agreement with Quebec was ratified and approved when it was signed by the Grand Council of the Crees (Eeyou Istchee) in Waskaganish on February 7th, 2002 which is the basis of our discussions. We also must take into consideration that it is a process initiated by the Crees and for the Crees.

If Quebec separates, should Crees have a right to stay within Canada?
This question should be asked to the Parti Québécois candidate considering that they are the ones who want to separate. As for the Quebec Liberal Party, we want to unite. It is time to work together to resolve problems and to provide Northern Quebec with every possibility to prosper.

What does a walking out ceremony consist of?
I am not very familiar with the ceremony and have never had the opportunity to assist in a walking out ceremony but I understand that this is an important traditional custom for the Cree. If elected, I hope to be invited to attend a ceremony to see for myself what the ceremony entails.

I am told that when Cree children are old enough to walk, they are dressed in traditional clothing and given tools similar to those used by Cree hunters – guns and knives for the boys, and scraping instruments for the girls. They are placed in a tent in which the elders of the community are seated. The elders then send them out of the tent accompanied by a family member with the infants pulling behind them with animals which have been hunted, sometimes geese, sometimes beaver or other small game. They then complete a circle around a decorated tree. When the boys have completed half the circle they are assisted in firing a rifle in the air. They complete their circle, re-enter the tent and give the animals which they have been pulling to the elders. For Crees this is a ceremony which symbolizes the expectation of productive behavior from individuals, the collective objective of work, and the worth of everyone in Cree society. Traditionally this ceremony is carried out in the morning. The opening of the ceremonial tent always faces east, toward the rising sun, which is a constant symbol of optimism and hope for the future.

How many Cree communities were there when the James Bay and Northern Quebec Agreement was signed?
The James Bay and Northern Quebec Agreement was signed on November 11th, 1975 by the Inuit and Cree communities. Eight Cree communities were signatories of the agreement. Since then, some of these eight communities have relocated and/or changed names. In 1992, the Oujé-Bougoumou-Canada agreement was signed which called for the recognition and the construction of the community of Oujé-Bougoumou.

What’s the biggest Cree community?
According to the most current statistics, the coastal community of Chisasibi is the largest community. The community of Mistissini is also considered as the largest inland community.

Anything you would like to add?
I strongly believe that Crees should exercise their right to vote because you can make a difference as to who represents you. I hope that the Cree population realizes now more than ever the substantive nature of their power at the polls.

I think it is important that more and more women vote because real power also comes at the polls and by starting with active participation in elections.

The Cree vote does make a difference.

If I am elected, I look forward to working closely with Cree leadership and look forward to visiting all communities I will represent.

Why should the Crees vote for you?
Let’s first remember that it’s the Parti Québécois that proceeded to sign the Paix des Braves under Mr. Landry and Mr. Ted Moses and we follow, of course, in that line, in continuation of that signature and especially seeing it’s application that hasn’t been done under the Liberal Party’s term since the past 4 years. I’m forced to observe that there hasn’t been any effort on that side to apply this historical agreement between the two that was underlined (the agreement) not only in Quebec but worldwide. So I place myself in the continuation of the relations between the Crees and the Quebec population, the one that can be observed in northern Quebec. Also, when I say application I could refer to the economical aspect, the relations between our two communities. So that’s where I stand.

Other than the party itself, what separates you from the other candidates?
First off one thing I have to say that what’s obvious and clearly separates us, is our belonging to this region. I am the only of the present candidates who has lived in the region for nearly 30 years and who still live here. My adversaries, on the ADQ’s side, are from Lac St-Jean and my liberal opponent is from Abitibi-Temiscamingue. First observation. Another thing is that it’s been over 20 years that I’ve worked as much at the administrative organization and the political of the northern region of Quebec, notably with the Crees and the Jamesians. We thought of the placement of the structure and you will observe the link to make with our party and our communities growing closer. We have to remember that it’s under the Parti Québécois, at the time I was general manager of the regional council for the James Bay Development and after I’ve worked, for the past six years, for Mr. Letourneau’s bureau as political councillor. But I have worked at placing the structure like all the ATR’s of the region, the formally named the regional council for the James-Bay development and we have worked with the regional Cree administration to install mechanisms to help us work together and develop our region together.

What is your stance on the control that the James Bay Municipality has on the Cree territories under Bill 40? Do you think that the Crees should have more control on the territory and what happens on it?
Well I wouldn’t necessarily talk about control; I would much more talk about developing relations, that’s what hasn’t been done in the past four years. I can tell you right now, I’m releasing my electoral platform in two days but I can say one of my engagements, and this is really important to me, I’ve talked with many chiefs of some Cree communities and that engagement is that there is a Cree-Jamesian summit and I don’t say economic summit because yes, there will be an important economic aspect in this summit but I also want to stress an other important aspect in this summit: youth. This is something I will speak about on my platform; the importance we must give to our youth, as much in the Cree communities. Yes, there are problems in the Jamesian cities and by that I mean dropping out of school and everything else that brings along. It is my commitment to install mechanisms to allow each of our communities things like phys-ed and at the same time encourage them to stay in school. We have examples and I stress how much this means to me, and I have talked to many Cree chiefs and we’ve concluded that there is a problem on that level. You understand that I’m not putting a particular emphasis on economy so I would call it a Cree-Jamesian summit. In which we will also allow people like the James Bay mayors and the Cree Grand Council to have discussion tables allowing us to talk together and develop. I want to accelerate this procedure and promote these meetings. One of my expressions is to build together or develop our region. I mean to bring our communities together, we need to create hopefor our youth, promote Cree employee accessibility. We’ve always worked on that and that’s why we’ve signed the Paix des Braves. I want to continue along these lines.

What do you think of the Rupert River diversion?
I don’t think this is unique in Northern Quebec. We have to remember that there have been consultations as much in the cities of Chibougamau, Quévillon, Matagami and the concerned Cree communities where people have spoken out against and for. So there has been a division within the Cree communities and these subjects remain concerns. I would like the government to reassure more these people that still have these fears.

This is why we’ve said yes to hydroelectric development but not necessarily at the exportation price. The hydroelectric development has to be used to create employment in our region. If we develop 50 per cent or more hydro to be used in factories down south and promote there job expansion while at home, it creates little or no jobs. At least let us have access to jobs with Hydro Quebec. That our youth obtain jobs at home. And this is not what’s going on right now. So that’s my fight. Same with all our natural resources.

Do you know why the three opposing communities to this project took that position?
I think that’s democracy, I think those three communities are the most concerned and affected by the changes. They were much more concerned and scared by the changes. There has been another consultation in these communities and, I don’t have the numbers but I think it revealed that there was only 25 per cent participation from the citizens and of that 25 per cent, 75 per cent was against. So there’s still 75 percent of the population that was not consulted on the subject. That’s why I say that before and after the people will have to be informed.

How many Cree communities signed the JBNQA?
If we go back to 1975, I think they were all represented by people whom I can’t remember, I think there was a community that didn’t exist at the time now known as Oujé-Bougoumou. But I think most communities were for but we have to keep in mind that at that time, the consultation was done very fast and was a little weak, and we seen afterwards that a bunch of clauses weren’t respected which lead to lawsuit after lawsuit, year after year with good reason from the Cree Nation. Which led to the signing of the Paix des Braves. I remember in 1975 there was a bunch of promises made and that’s why we can’t do things that way anymore and must inform people so we must assure that it’s done with our agreement and that we follow this very closely.

What’s the biggest Cree community?
It’s Chisasibi or Mistissini; it has taken a lot of expansion. I checked the numbers I think it has surpassed Chisasibi today but they’re close.

Should Quebec separate, do you think the Crees have the right to chose to remain in Canada?
The first thing I have to say that we were the first party with René Lévesque to recognize natives as a people. And the Cree Nation, we gave the example to the rest of Canada and the world. And that being said we do promote independence but we want to do this within the respect of our different communities and the particularity of the northern region is that they’re inhabited by the Crees and the Inuit. They will have to pronounce themselves as everyone else within Quebec. It will be done within respect of our communities. And if I remember correctly in 2003 Ted Moses gave his support to the Parti Québécois. So nothing will be done that goes against the populations that live in Quebec.

Do you know what a walking out ceremony is?
I’ve been to several ceremonies through my engagements. We’ve

Why should Cree voters vote for you?
The ADQ party wishes to develop Quebec on an economic standpoint as well as a social standpoint, this would enable us to face some unfortunate facts such as; lack of newborn, aging of population, extreme high public debt. We need Quebecers contributions to reach a point of return where we would develop and become a place where it would be nice to live. We want to be leader of the patch in several aspects and keep an optic on future generations and a heritage to our children.

The Cree contribution and opinion is essential in the Quebec progress in the achievement we all wish to obtain for the entire province. We appeal to your communities, to your leadership and open mind of all communities.

What is your stance on the current control that James Bay Municipality mayors have over Cree lands under Bill 40? Do you think Crees should have more control over what happens on their territory?
As an autonomist party, we understand that people are perfectly able to manage and make smart decisions and also take local initiatives. We rely on local leadership and we will remain aware of their situation and the problems encountered in their communities

What do you think about the Rupert River diversion? Is it good or bad for Crees?
Concerning the Rupert, we believe that the Eastmain project will benefit not only the Quebec collectivity but all the Cree nation. However, we must be assured that the project respects the environment and that it doesn’t bother the daily life of said community

Hydroelectricity is a heritage for all Quebec. With the Paix des Braves treaty, the Cree community has demonstrated its goodwill in the process by showing an excellent cooperation with the rest of the province for the development of Quebec.

We know that the great Cree Chief Matthew Mukash has expressed some mixed feelings, but we can assure you that that the ADQ will respect in full the treaty and we want to assure you all of our full collaboration with your community. This treaty is anbrought several European tourists who wanted to attend to these ceremonies. So yes, I’ve experienced it for myself and I know what it is.

Anything you want to add?
I want to stress the Cree-Jamesian summit and giving hope to our kids, take care of dropping out and help sport to integrate them in our schools. These are my main focuses.

historic agreement and for the Cree community, the Eastmain project represent over $240 million in economic and benefits (being 15% of the project), this information was taken in the newspaper just recently (La Presse, January 12,2007, page A2 and 3).

Three Cree communities recently had referendums on whether they should fight the Rupert River diversion. Do you know which communities they were and why they fought the diversion?
We have no answer at this time as we are not leading. A lot of this is being handled by the existing government. However, in the event that we take the lead on the government, we would be in a position to take a stance. There are too many unknown factors at this time.

If Quebec separates, should Crees have a right to stay within Canada?
The ADQ would respect the majority’s decision in the event of a referendum. The ADQ will not make a referendum. Our ultimate goal is to have a strong Province of Quebec in a united Canada. This being said, Quebec sovereignty is only hypothetical and at this time, is unlikely to happen.

What does a walking out ceremony consist of?
After one mandat as a deputy in the Ungava territory, I will be able to name every Chief of every community and all ceremonies as I would be part of them (if invited). I must admit the lack of knowledge from my part, but give me a chance to prove you my good faith.

How many Cree communities were there when the James Bay and Northern Quebec Agreement was signed?

What’s the biggest Cree community?

Anything you would like to add?
The ADQ has never been exposed to corruption and never will be. Our chief Mario Dumont has strong convictions. He believes in the tradition of family and he is an honnest father of three young lads. His wife Marie-Claude is part of this political party and is quite involved. Their ideal was described above. All candidates are all down to earth people, workers for most of them and parents. Our ultimate goal is to make sure that all citizens are treated with respect and dignity in a well-established system where elders will be taken care of.