What is La Grande Alliance?
La Grande Alliance is a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for collaboration and consolidation of socio-economic ties between the Cree Nation and Quebec government to connect, develop and protect the territory. It is a nation-to-nation understanding to plan and execute a 30-year infrastructure program aiming to extend the transportation network (rail, road, port and airport), improve living standards (housing, electricity and internet) and ensure the long-term protection of the territory (protected areas).
Who is behind La Grande Alliance?
La Grande Alliance is an MOU between the Cree Nation and Quebec government. It follows through on the first modern-day treaty, the James Bay and Northern Quebec Agreement of 1975 and the Paix des Braves Agreement of 2002 that call for partnership between our nations. The Cree Nation and Quebec government will work together to plan the development of the Eeyou Istchee region, with the aim of building a legacy for Québec-First Nations relationships.
Who will manage the program?
La Grande Alliance will create a project office, overseen by a counsel formed of delegates from the Cree Nation and Quebec governments.
Why are the Crees involved in such a program?
For too long, Crees have been witnesses of development happening on the land. La Grande Alliance aims at giving the people who live on the territory, Crees and Jamesians, a say on development that occurs near their home, to ensure they benefit from it.
When will Grande Alliance happen?
The feasibility study for Phase 1 should be finalized in 2022 and the first steps on community engagement have been underway since 2020. It is important to note that projects presented as part of La Grande Alliance will still require approval from community members and councils in the impacted communities as section 22 of the JBNQA remains the regime for social and environmental protection of the territory. La Grande Alliance is a facilitator of projects, not an approver.
What is the amount invested in La Grande Alliance?
The total amount invested in La Grande Alliance is around 5 billion dollars, broken down in 3 phases over the next 30 years. Investments would come from the three levels of government (Cree, Québec and Canada) as well as from the private sector. The feasibility studies will confirm the amounts that could be invested.
How many jobs will be created through La Grande Alliance’s network of projects?
The feasibility studies and analysis of proposed projects will confirm the number of possible jobs created from the construction and maintenance of infrastructure of the next 30 years and beyond. This will of course depend on what these potential projects would be, as identified by local engagement sessions. One thing is for sure: the aim is to involve workers from the territory’s communities and municipalities first and foremost.
What will Grande Alliance bring to Québec and Eeyou Istchee?
La Grande Alliance aims to develop infrastructure to facilitate the transport of people and goods, increase the value of natural resources by reducing travel costs and ensure protection of First Nations land by creating a network of protected areas for flora, fauna and the continued practice of traditional activities.
What territory will La Grande Alliance cover?
Eeyou Istchee, the Cree land that represents nearly 30% of Quebec (450,000 square kilometers). Activities will start in the South around Matagami and go North to Whapmagoostui and East to Schefferville to further connect the Cree territory with the rest of Québec.
How does La Grande Alliance differ from the Plan Nord?
La Grande Alliance is a Cree-Québec joint initiative to connect, develop and protect the territory of Eeyou Istchee. Thus, it complements the previous plan with its broader objective and specifically targeted territory.
How will La Grande Alliance achieve its Connect, Develop, Protect objectives?
The three objectives will support each other. Balance involves interdependence.
1. Connection is not just infrastructure and communications. It’s also connecting protected areas together to create wildlife corridors, and connecting communities and projects to the electric grid, in turn lowering their emissions.
2. Development is not just economic, it’s social as well, with jobs created for local communities.
3. Protection is not a random exercise: it will be done in conjunction with communities to strike a balance between preservation of cultural-, flora- and fauna-rich areas and development of projects, including those for critical minerals required for key emissions-reducing technologies like electric transportation or solar panels.
Why is this called “La Grande Alliance”?
The “Alliance” is the collaboration between the Cree Nation and Quebec government, as well as with the other neighboring First Nations, which will also benefit from the connection, development and protection of the territory.
It is “Grande” because it is of significant importance for governments involved, a heritage established by the 2002 Paix des Braves agreement.
“La Grande” is the river that rises in the rugged forest heartland and drains west into James Bay. It is the heart of Eeyou Istchee and has been home to the Cree for centuries.
All of that together makes La Grande Alliance, a commitment towards collaboration and consolidation of socio-economic ties between the Cree Nation and Quebec government to connect, develop and protect the territory for the benefit of all.