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Government of Canada and the Grand Council of the Crees Reach Agreement. Fasken Martineau's strategic partner, Raymond Chrétien, Chief Federal Negotiator, assists to end long-standing controversy

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July 16, 2007

Today Minister Lawrence Cannon (on behalf of Minister Jim Prentice) and the Cree Grand Chief Matthew Mukash announced the conclusion of negotiations of an Agreement between Canada and the Crees of Québec. Raymond Chrétien, ably assisted by Anne Drost, successfully negotiated this Agreement on behalf of Canada. The 50-year agreement resolves outstanding litigation that has plagued the parties for over 20 years and implements the James Bay and Northern Quebec Agreement. It also establishes a framework for a second phase of negotiations, including Québec, on Cree Nation Governance.

The settlement amount to the Crees is $1.4 billion, one of the largest settlements to a single aboriginal group in the history of Canada. Raymond Chrétien, acting as Chief Federal Negotiator, was mandated by Canada in May 2005 to negotiate the agreement with the Crees. This followed after an initial period beginning in June 2004 during which discussions took place to scope out the goals of an agreement and the negotiation process. The Agreement was reached in February of this year. Although one may think that the almost three and a half years to negotiate an agreement is a long period of time, given the context and experience in negotiations between First Nations and Canada, this negotiation by Raymond and Anne was carried out in record speed.

The Crees will be holding a referendum during the next few months to ratify the Agreement.

Please see attached a press release issued by Indian and Northern Affairs Canada: