Gowlings helps negotiate Canada-Cree agreement, a milestone in aboriginal law history

Montreal, July 16th, 2007—It is with great satisfaction that members of the Gowling Lafleur Henderson LLP law firm completed negotiations on behalf of the Cree Nation with a view to signing an agreement on a new relationship between the Government of Canada and the Eeyou Istchee Cree. “This historic agreement will have a significant impact on subsequent negotiations affecting aboriginal communities. It puts an end to thirty years of disputes and, among other things, will lead to the creation of a regional aboriginal government. My colleagues and I are delighted to have contributed to this agreement and represented the interests of the Cree” asserted Mr. Robert Mainville, an attorney specializing in aboriginal law.

A historic agreement

The agreement between the Canadian government and the Cree Nation marks aboriginal law history in many respects. It puts an end to thirty years of pending disputes and delegates certain legal, economic development, and community development obligations to the Cree Regional Authority for a twenty-year period.

It also helps clarify Canada’s role in settling pending matters under the New Relationship Agreement signed between the Crees and Quebec in2001 . An important aspect of this new agreement is that it provides a framework for negotiations that will lead to the creation of an aboriginal government.

A seasoned team of negotiators

The negotiations that culminated today attest to the key role Gowling Lafleur Henderson LLP has played in aboriginal law in Canada. Mr. Mainville has advocated for aboriginal groups for over 30 years and has more recently represented the interests of the Cree Nation, particularly in 2001 when the New Relationship Agreement was signed with the Quebec government.

Today he is part of the small group of negotiators representing the Cree Nation in close cooperation with Grand Chief Matthew Mukash and Deputy Grand Chief Ashley Iserhoff, as well as chief Cree negotiator Bill Namagoose.

Mr. Mainville was supported in his work by a number of Gowlings professionals from across Canada, including Mr. François L’Heureux for referendum processes, Mr. Daniel Lacelle for tax issues, and Mr. Pierre Pilote and Mr. Henry Brown for applicable government policies.

About Gowlings

Founded over 100 years ago, Gowlings is now the second largest law office in Canada with more than 700 professionals and patent/trademark agents in seven large Canadian metro areas—Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto, Hamilton, the Waterloo region, Calgary, and Vancouver. Through its Moscow office, Gowlings also serves the needs of its international clients in Russia and other countries of the former Soviet Union.

Marie-Josée Gagnon About the author
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