The Hughboy administration is under fire again.
It happened at an August 5 Band meeting about new proposed mini-hydrodams and other matters pertaining to the interests of Wemindji residents.
Walter Hughboy, the Chief, was proposing to create four or five more flow-of-the-river mini-dams. This would be in addition to the one existing mini-dam that has Wemindji residents enjoying free electricity.
At the moment, these proposed dams are still in the discussion stage, as far as the residents and Chief are concerned. Excess energy would be sold to Hydro-Quebec, which Chief Hughboy said would create “almost financial independence” for Wemindji.
Later in the Band meeting, the Chief shocked and outraged some residents when he hinted that Wemindji may consider pulling out of the Grand Council of the Crees/ CRA. (See our interview with the Chief and an open letter from Wemindji dissidents on pages 18-20 of this issue.)
Chief Hughboy also slammed Grand Chief Matthew Coon Come for being “preoccupied” with fighting the Great Whale River Project, saying it has cost Crees because other issues like jobs were neglected.
“One of the costs is sacrificing our young people who are losing job opportunities,” said Chief Hughboy. “People just don’t have the resources to feed their families. It’s like that not only here, but in all the other communities.”
Grand Chief Coon Come, on vacation, wasn’t available for comment.
In his interview with The Nation, Chief Hughboy says he doesn’t so much want to breakaway, but maybe take away. He says Wemindji might consider taking back all the mandates the community has given the Grand Council/CRA.
Some Wemindji residents fear that this would be the break in Cree ranks that the Canadian and Quebec governments and I Hydro-Quebec are looking for. Chief Hughboy admitted that there is strength in numbers, but only when all the numbers want the same thing.
Another thingthat Chief Hughboy wants is an examination of Premier Robert Bourassa’s self-government package, offered back in 1988. This would’ve given Crees a deal on policing, economic development, resource development and other issues, according to Chief Hughboy.
The demands by people to address what they felt were irregularities at the Wemindji Band Council went unheard as there wasn’t enough time at the meeting. At the time of printing, no other meeting has been called.