Cree treaty opens door for new hydro development (October 25, 2001)

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QUEBEC City, Que. — Quebec and northern Cree leaders have signed a multibillion-dollar agreement aimed at cooling long running debate over future hydroelectric projects in la Belle Province.

Under the far-reaching deal, the government has promised the First Nations group at least $3.5 billion over 50 years — including $139 million before 2004, according to Premier Bernard Landry.

The Cree would also end up with increased input on the development of their territory in the northern half of Quebec — a region rich in forestry and hydro resources.

In return, the Cree have promised to drop $3.6 billion in lawsuits against the government over past dealings gone a wry. They have also agreed to two new hydroelectric installations worth a total of $3.8 billion, both of which remain subject to environmental approval.

“We’re all too aware that on this planet today we’re not just sensing winds of peace and harmony,” says Landry. “Quebecers and Crees are taking steps toward peace, harmony, brotherhood and a bright future away from a sometimes-troubled past.”

The agreement in principle was signed by Landry and Cree grand chief Ted Moses at the provincial legislature on Oct. 23.

Cree leaders will consult with their people in the coming weeks before finalizing a formal deal.

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