Cree chief in vote recount, Hydro deal with Quebec may have damaged re-election bid
KEVIN DOUGHERTY Montreal Gazette
Friday, August 30, 2002
Premier Bernard Landry and Grand Chief Ted Moses may have more in common than they would like to think.
Both are in trouble politically.
In his bid for re-election as grand chief on Wednesday, Moses took 2,139 votes to 2,111 for Mathew Mukash, the chief of Whapwagoostui on the Great Whale River, who was the leading opponent of the "paix des braves" agreement signed this year by Moses and Landry.
A recount is under way.
Both Landry and Moses are proud of the $3.5-billion agreement they signed this year, settling disputes between Quebec and the Northern Quebec Cree.
Now Landry's policy of settling claims with the aboriginal people of Quebec is being attacked by his predecessor, Jacques Parizeau, who has challenged a proposed agreement with the Innu of Lac Saint-Jean and the north shore of the St. Lawrence.
Parizeau's "friendly-fire" attack comes after polls showing Landry's Parti Québécois running third behind Mario Dumont's Action Démocratique du Québec and Jean Charest's Liberals.
Éric Gagnon, co-president of Rupert Reverence, an environmentalist group in northern Quebec opposed to damming the Rupert River, which is planned as part of the Quebec-Cree agreement, said yesterday the tight vote shows opposition to the agreement is strong among Crees.
"It is clear to us that the regime of Ted Moses is far from being popular," Gagnon said, noting a 43-per-cent voter turnout in the election Wednesday, higher than the 38 per cent who voted to accept the Quebec-Cree accord.
"If the peace was so good, Mr. Moses would not have difficulty," he added.
Gagnon's group, which he said has 400 members, includes both Cree dissidents and non-Indians living in northern Quebec and opposes the damming of the Rupert on environmental, spiritual and cultural grounds.
In the past, the Cree leadership has opposed hydro-electric projects, saying they threaten the Cree lifestyle of hunting, fishing and trapping.
The Cree leadership sold the agreement by arguing that the Crees need economic development to support their growing population.
But on the day the final agreement was signed by Moses and Landry, a Cree dissident was wrestled to the ground by police after he tried to disrupt the ceremony.
© Copyright 2002 Montreal Gazette
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