A bill suggests that the Cree are corrupt, says a representative

carierA draft law on transparency in the mining sector suggests that Aboriginal people are corrupt, said Wednesday a representative of the Cree community.

Deputy Grand Chief of the Grand Council of the Crees Eeyou Istchee, Rodney Mark, advocated that the mining companies are not obliged to disclose the financial benefits paid to Aboriginal communities.

“The subtext of this bill, it seems to send the message to the industry that these measures are necessary because Aboriginal communities are corrupt,” he has told the parliamentary committee studying Bill 55.

The Cree representatives heard by MPs on Wednesday said that such measures would have several negative effects for the Cree communities and mine development in northern Quebec.

Mr. Mark expressed concern that governments, including federal, benefit from this financial information to reduce all funding to the Cree, which could incite communities to refuse projects.

“There could be a permanent reduction in government funding caused by the financial arrangements that sometimes last only 10 or 20 years with a mining company, he said. What is the interest in First Nations communities to partner with a temporary project? The concern is to see the funding decline even after the closure of the mine. ”

A lawyer for the community, François Dandenault, explained that disclosure of this information could also lead to an escalation that would prevent entering into agreements on different value projects.

“What other communities are going to see is the amount paid and there, it will become a kind of auction, has he said. Such an agreement has brought so much money to the community of Wemindji, in a hypothetical scenario, and then the Algonquin community will want to have the same amount for a project that is completely different, which may not have the same duration of life. This is where it considers that the publication of payments can curb or render more difficult the conclusion of these agreements. ”

The PQ member Bernard Drainville objected to this argument on the grounds that greater transparency could instead benefit other indigenous communities who negotiate with mining companies.

“My response to that, and I say this respectfully, is: Welcome to democracy, he has said. Welcome to democracy is a good thing for people to know what other communities have successfully negotiated to use this information to have as good or even better deal. ”

Mr. Drainville also warned Mr. Mark against the perception that he is opposed to transparency measures for the agreements with the mining industry.

“It seems to me that you position would be strengthened great leader if you could tell your people,” I’m not afraid to disclose this information The funding we receive, as a public body, you know, all amounts. ” “, he said.

The negotiator Abel Bosum countered that the Cree are not opposed to disclosure of the agreements they conclude, only that they prefer to keep confidential the financial provisions.

“We are also a public government, he said. We declare our income, our spending in reports of audits and public meetings, with complete transparency. ”

Bosum explained that those involved in mining development are informed financial provisions when it comes to whether or not a mining project in the territory of a community.

“The definition of” public “in the bill, it is for everyone, he has said. What will be the benefit of the Quebec government to have this information? There is a difference in definitions when we say “public”. ‘

In an exchange with Mr. Drainville, Bosum felt that the discussion was useless with the PQ MNA, accusing him of falsely confront the big boss Mark on his interest in transparency.

“Will you listen to me or not? He has told the member that interrupts. Just forget it. We go to the next, you are not careful, let him. ”

The Association of the Quebec Mineral Exploration (AEMQ) for his part called for changes to the bill so that the largest possible number of its members are required to report their contributions to communities.

The project director AEMQ, Alain Poirier, told the MPs that disclosure of the agreements with the communities, mainly indigenous, not a problem, on the contrary.

The private and institutional investors need maximum transparency before deciding to participate financially in a project, he said.

“Investors sometimes have the perception of not having all the necessary information to make a good decision, to assess the project accurately, he has said. If there is a future 3% royalty paid for a mining project, as an investor I would like to know better, because I can assess whether the project is profitable or not. ”

“My response to that, and I say this respectfully, is: Welcome to democracy. Welcome to democracy is a good thing for people to know what other communities have successfully negotiated to use this information to have as good or even better deal. ”
Bernard Drainville
MP PQ
The negotiator Abel Bosum expressed concern that governments, including federal, benefit from this financial information to reduce all funding to the Crees.

A lawyer for the community, François Dandenault, explained that disclosure of such information could lead to a bidding war that would prevent entering into agreements.

The PQ member Bernard Drainville objected to this argument on the grounds that such transparency could instead benefit other indigenous communities who negotiate with mining companies.

“My response to that, and I say this respectfully, is: Welcome to democracy, he has said. Welcome to democracy is a good thing for people to know what other communities have successfully negotiated to use this information to have as good or even better deal. ”

Bosum countered that the Cree are not opposed to disclosure of the agreements they conclude, but only financial arrangements they prefer to keep confidential.

“We are also a public government, he said. We declare our income, our spending in reports of audits and public meetings, with complete transparency. ”

Bosum explained that those involved in mining development are informed financial provisions when it comes to whether or not a mining project in the territory of a community.

“The definition of” public “in the bill, it is for everyone, he has said. What will be the benefit of the Quebec government to have this information? There is a difference in definitions when we say “public”. ‘

Mr. Mark said that the subtext of the bill, which aims to fight against corruption, conflicts with the indigenous practices.

“The subtext of this bill, it seems to send the message to the industry that these measures are necessary because Aboriginal communities are corrupt,” he has said.

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