From Nouveau-Québec to Nunavik and Eeyou Istchee: The Political Economy of Northern Québec
AbstractThe Inuit and the Crees of Québec have travelled an impressive path from a self-sustaining economy to a land claims economy based mainly on public transfers. But most importantly, they have created two new regions in Québec: Nunavik and Eeyou Istchee. This article analyzes the political and economic development of these two Québec regions. After a look at the legacy of the James Bay development and the James Bay and Northern Québec Agreement, the first modern Canadian treaty, this article endeavours to assess the new development plan announced by Québec: the Plan Nord. On the surface, the Plan Nord resembles a new incarnation of the James Bay project, but there are many differences: the development is not spearheaded by the Québec government and, more importantly, Aboriginal leaders are now involved, a good indication of the changes that have occurred in the last forty years. However, does this mean that the North will benefit from the new development? Since the 1940s, all development in Nunavik and Eeyou Istchee has come from the outside. Plan Nord is simply the latest in a long series of exogenous development projects, making it difficult for people in the North to shape their own fate.
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