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Hydro Quebec and First Nations: “We have to admit our mistakes,” says Michael Sabia

Hydro Quebec and First Nations: “We have to admit our mistakes,” says Michael Sabia

The PDG of Hydro-Québec, Michael Sabia, his son mea culpa and reconnu les erreurs du passé de la société d'État lors d'une rencontre avec Ghislain Picard, the chef of the Assemblée of the Premier Nations of Québec-Labrador This Monday.

• Read also: Energy bill: “We need to find good ways to increase production,” says Michael Sabia, CEO of Hydro-Québec.

“The important thing is to learn about the past,” he admitted in an on-stage interview. “We must acknowledge the mistakes we made at Hydro-Quebec.”

The rapprochement between First Nations and Hydro-Québec, a sign of a new partnership between communities and the state company.

Jessalyn Pickard's initial reaction to an interview on the show The outcome Monday evening, the situation is generally positive. “It's a revolution in the way we maintain the relationship between all countries and communities and Hydro Quebec's waters,” he said.

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“Hydro-Québec is very focused on transparency but also on candor, and that is what we heard from Michael Sabia today,” he concluded.

What mistakes is he talking about?

According to the Chief of the Quebec Labrador Assembly of First Nations, this would mainly be the James Bay Agreement in 1975 followed by the Peace of the Braves in 2002.

“These are compelling examples,” explained Ghislain Picard. “There may be smaller projects where the original part has not been dealt with satisfactorily, since the 1960s.”

“The important thing is for Hydro-Quebec to realize that there is damage done and damage that has not been repaired,” he said.

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Will things change?

Mr. Picard hopes, but doubts. “Mr. Sabella himself admitted that there was a huge lack of trust. This is another reality that we face.”

“Listening to Hydro-Québec and its new way of doing things could also be an opportunity, and that's very important to us,” he added.

“Again, there has to be a political sequel. This is perhaps where there is a big gap that needs to be filled.

According to Mr. Picard, many important issues need to be addressed, such as the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples that has not yet been signed.

“The Quebec water district can cover part of the way, but the political part should not be neglected,” he concluded. The door is open, but discussions will take place.

Minister Pierre Fitzgibbon will present his energy bill this week.

**Watch the full interview in the video above**