Plan Nord is an example of the new wave of Canada’s 21th century resource extraction strategy. LegalEase focuses on Plan Nord this month, looking at environmental, Aboriginal, and women’s issues. Paul Holden and Stéphany Laperriere bring us pieces on the subject. In a final segment, J-P Mackay interviews Me. Poitras at the inaugural conference of L’association des juristes progressistes taking aim at the increasing criminalization of student protest in Montreal.
While spending some time at a secluded community in Quebec, I had a chance to learn about environmental policy issues that would likely go unnoticed in Ontario. Plan Nord is an extensive economic and industrial development plan that targets 1.2 million square kilometers of resource-rich land in Northern Quebec, announced in early 2011 by Premier Jean Charest, who refers to it as the pinnacle of his political career.
With an investment of $80 billion dollars over 25 years, Plan Nord intends to exploit the rich nickel, iron and copper reserves in the region, develop 3000MW of hydro-electricity, and harvest millions of tons of wood.
I did not know about Plan Nord until the end of last year and I absolutely do not support Plan Nord. Neither does most of the Inuit in Nunavik. Honestly, the probability of Inuit not supporting Plan Nord is very high. Considering the fact that I learned 70% of Inuit do not know about Plan Nord. We, Inuit, are very concerned about how little we know and have our eyes wide open because what you want to do, includes harming our land we’ve lived and relied on for thousands of years. Because we do not know well about Plan Nord, we are afraid.
Insulted by the offer as “ridiculous” the government, council head of the Innu of Pessamit, Raphael Picard, decided to launch an international campaign against the Northern Plan. It also leaves the threat of blocking Highway 138 and prevent the rehabilitation of the 389 between Baie-Comeau and Fermont. He claims $ 5 billion in 50 years for his community of 4000 inhabitants. Quebec offers him 14 times less, 350 million.
Mr. Picard has broken off negotiations with Quebec on Friday. The talks were launched on June 12, following a blockade of Highway 138, which connects the North Shore with the rest of the province. They were designed to address several complaints from the community of Pessamit to Quebec.
The Charest government has put on the table 350 million over 50 years, including $ 113 million in compensation for damage caused among others by hydroelectric development. The rest is for the creation of an economic development fund, at 4.5 million per year. The offer provides for other non-financial measures. In return, Pessamit was granted a release and abandon its legal remedies.
However, Chief Picard requires 5 billion in 50 years as compensation and funds for development. At a press conference yesterday, he described at length the “rape” of the traditional territory of the Innu of Pessamit occurred over the past 60 years, with the hydroelectric development, forestry and mining. The natural resources of this vast territory has paid off big, he argues. He estimated, for example Hydro-Quebec has reaped revenues of $ 45 billion through the sale of electricity.
The government’s offer, “it’s just, it’s frivolous, it’s disrespectful,” thundered Mr. Picard. “It’s a shame he comes back again with a colonial attitude [that] he had to show knives, axes, in exchange for bundles of fur. It’s the same thing they want us to pass. They believe us fools. They consider us insane. ”
The chief called Premier Jean Charest of “worst liar of Quebec.” He accuses her of making “false advertising of” affirming that indigenous support the Northern Plan. It will replicate by “a tour of several major U.S. and European cities.” It will argue that Quebec violates the rights of indigenous and Jean Charest, “as under Duplesssis, give the ore to big business.” He looked forward to financial support from environmental groups and indigenous defense.
Raphael Picard also promises “actions that will result in disruption of economic activities on the North Shore.” Groups could block the road 138, for example. Mr. Picard plans to file an injunction to prevent the rehabilitation of Highway 389.
A few hours after the release of the leader, the Minister of Native Affairs, Geoffrey Kelley, convened the press deploring the failure of negotiations. Requests the Chief Picard is “unrealistic,” he decided. The government’s offer is for its “reasonable” and comparable to similar arrangements entered into in Quebec and other provinces. It could be increased if the Pessamit community agrees to enter into Quebec with a comprehensive treaty on aboriginal rights, he said.
Jean Charest met with Chief Picard three times since June 12, while negotiating sessions were held every two weeks. “We acted in good faith,” said Kelley. Asked about threats to blockade roads, the Minister replied that the Innu should rather go to court if they are dissatisfied with the negotiations. Sunday, in a statement, he questioned “whether the decision of Chief Picard reflects the position of all members of its community.” The remark has boosted Mr. Picard, who accused the minister of “interfering in the governance” of the community.
Of the 33 indigenous communities living in the territory of the Northern Plan, 26 supporting the project, said Geoffrey Kelley. This is the case of the Cree communities, who signed a comprehensive treaty with Quebec. Five Innu communities oppose the Northern Plan, while two agree.
Google translate was used to translate this article from French into English. See the original text here.
MONTREAL, QC, Jun 29, 2012 (MARKETWIRE via COMTEX) — The Energy Council of Canada is proud to announce that Hydro Quebec’s CEO, Thierry Vandal, is being awarded the 2012 Canadian Energy Person of the Year award.
Established by the Energy Council of Canada and supported by Canadian sectoral energy associations, this award recognizes and pays tribute to leaders in Canada who have made significant impacts at both the national and international levels with respect to energy.
MANCHESTER — Beginning July 1, Public Service of New Hampshire customers will see a 4.4 percent cut in overall bills, with an 18 percent drop in the energy charge.
For a residential customer using 500 kilowatt hours (kWh) of electricity, that will mean a reduction from $89.06 a month to $86.36 a month, spokesman Mike Skelton said.
PSNH bills set to be reduced
Public Service of New Hampshire customers will see a reduction in their monthly bills in July after state regulators adjusted rates, the company said yesterday.
Customers using 500 kilowatt-hours per month of electricity will see their bills drop by $2.70 beginning in July, PSNH said in a press release. The overall service rate will decrease by 3 percent.
MANCHESTER — Most customers of Public Service of New Hampshire (PSNH) will see a net decrease in their electric bills beginning July 1st following a series of rate adjustments ordered this week by state regulators. As a result, PSNH Energy Service Residential customers using 500 kilowatt hours (kWh) of electricity per month will see a three percent decrease in their monthly bills beginning July 1st.
PSNH’s Energy Service rate will drop to 7.11 cents per kWh, from 8.75 cents per kWh, a decrease of more than 18 percent. State regulators adjust PSNH’s Energy Service rate at least annually, to reflect the company’s actual cost of producing or purchasing energy for its customers. The primary reason for the decrease in PSNH’s Energy Service rate is low energy market prices and a forecast reduction in ongoing operating costs at PSNH’s power generating facilities. Customers purchasing energy from a supplier other than PSNH will not be impacted by the Energy Service rate decrease and will continue to pay their supplier rate.
The proposed Northern Pass Electrical transmission project is the opening salvo in Hydro-Quebec’s campaign to turn New Hampshire into an industrial power corridor. Their plans for future projects would cover our state in multiple corridors of high tension power lines and huge steel lattice towers, severely diminishing the beauty of our landscape, economy, property values, and tax base.
Read the rest (PDF)
A spokeswoman for the Department of Energy says the names of people who commented – for and against the Northern Pass project – were inadvertently removed from the agency web site.
Originally most of the 1,700 people who commented had their names and towns included.