When Cree Grand Chief Matthew Coon Come visited law firm Lavery LLP’s offices recently for a packed encounter with local mining entrepreneurs, his talk began with the up-close and personal.
“I am a son of a hunter, a fisher and a trapper,” said Coon Come, 56, the head of the Grand Council of the Crees, the political body representing Quebec Cree.
“My dad lived on the land and so did my mother. I am a father to five children. I have three daughters and two sons. I am a husband to Mary Ann Coon Come. We have been married for 35 years and I am also a grandfather to two children.”
With that informality out of the way, which he later said is essential to relationship building with the Cree, Coon Come proceeded to enthrall those in attendance as he explained the aboriginal perspective on Quebec’s Plan Nord.
Most of the major law firms operating in Montreal and Quebec City have formed dedicated Plan Nord teams.
Lavery thought it useful to present the view of those who live on or near prospective development lands, explained senior Lavery lawyer Gérard Coulombe. It’s big business for all concerned, including the Cree, given that an estimated one-third of projects in the Plan Nord are planned for Cree territory. Overall, up to $6 billion in investments have already been announced as part of the total $80 billion development plan over the next 25 years.
“There is scarcely not a month that goes by without another project being announced,” said Coon Come, a veteran negotiator and politician trained in both law and philosophy.
He pointed out that in the last two years, about 300 junior mining companies have been active in the territory and major agreements have been signed with the Cree by companies like Goldcorp Inc. – for development of the Éléonore gold project near the community of Wemindji – and Stornoway Diamond Corp. – for its Renard diamond project near Mistassini.
Forthe rest of this article, please go to the Montreal Gazette website: http://www.montrealgazette.com/business/Strictly+Legal+Creating+Cree+Corp+makes+perfect+sense/6526670/story.html