Mr. Eric House
Cree Nation of Chisasibi
Chisasibi, Eeyou Istchee, Québec
Dear Mr. House,
Your email inquiring about the request of Radisson to MAMROT for municipal status has been brought to my attention, and I would like to take this opportunity to respond.
From the radio interview of March 20, 2012 with the president of the local council of Radisson, I understand that the council has submitted to Minister Laurent Lessard of MAMROT a request for recognition of Radisson as a municipality. The president refers to the recent Framework Agreement on Governance between the Cree and Québec as one of the reasons for this request.
As you know, this issue is not new. In the 1980’s, Eric Gourdeau of SAGMAI floated the idea that Radisson should become a municipality. The Cree Nation opposed the idea then, and we continue to do so.
While the idea is not new, we find Radisson’s request for municipal status at this time both surprising and disturbing. The Framework Agreement on Governance already addresses the potential concerns of Radisson regarding services and representation. Under these circumstances, there is no justification for Radisson to request municipal status.
The Cree representatives have consistently taken the position in the governance negotiations with Québec that no municipalities, other than the existing municipalities of Chapais, Chibougamau, Lebel-sur-Quévillon and Matagami, should be created in the James Bay Territory without Cree consent. We have also made it plain that, at this juncture, we do not consent to the creation of any new municipalities in the Territory.
This case shows why the Cree Nation must participate in the governance of Category III lands through the new Regional Government to be created pursuant to the Framework Agreement. There can be no question of such major initiatives as the creation of a new municipality going forward without Cree consent. That is why our position is that a special majority of the Council of the new Regional Government, including a majority of Cree votes on the Council, would be required for the creation of any new municipality.
We understand that, under existing Québec law, a new municipality may only be constituted on unorganized territory, not from the territory of an existing municipality such as the Municipalité de Baie-James. The creation of Radisson as a municipality would therefore require a special law to be adopted by the National Assembly. Under the present circumstances, we shall oppose the adoption of any such law.
Rest assured that we shall be raising this matter with Québec at the earliest opportunity. We shall advise Québec that the Cree Nation strongly opposes the request of Radisson for municipal status at this time as inconsistent with the spirit and principles of the Framework Agreement on Governance, and that we shall avail ourselves of all the means at our disposal to oppose this request.
I trust that this addresses your concerns. I thank you for bringing this matter to our attention. Please do not hesitate to communicate with me, Bill Namagoose or Abel Bosum if you have any comments or questions.
Dr. Matthew Coon Come