Cree nation urges government to fight logging project
Published Monday, February 22, 2016 8:20PM EST
Last Updated Tuesday, February 23, 2016 9:17AM EST
The Cree nation is urging the Quebec government to take a stand against the logging industry.
A project that involves building two access roads into a forest is causing concern among the Cree and several environmental groups.
The two access roads would be built into the Broadback Forest, about 800 kilometres north of Montreal.
The Cree claim the Broadback Forest is the last 10 per cent of intact boreal forest on their territory. They also say the area is vital for rare old growth trees and a last refuge for threatened species, including boreal woodland caribou.
Proposed logging and clearcutting is currently under government review and threatens about 113,000 hectares of land.
The Cree nation, along with representatives from Greenpeace and some political allies gathered Monday in Quebec City to speak about an intact forest as a tool to fight climate change. They say the area is vital for the Cree way of life as they continue to rely on healthy animals and plants.
They are urging Premier Philippe Couillard to stand with them and denounce any and all logging operations in this forest.
“I would like to see Premier Couillard heed my call without hesitation,” said Marcel Happyjack, chief of the Waswanipi Cree nation.
“The government has to be clear right now, be consistent in its climate change commitments in its own targeted protested areas in the Plan Nord. Our message is clear: No more development can be allowed in the Broadback River Valley for the sake of the entire province of Quebec and the survival of the caribous and the protection of our Cree way of life,” he added.
An environmental and social impact review is underway by Comex, an independent body reporting to the Sustainable Development Minister David Heurtel.
As of now there have been no clear recommendations.