It is an honour and privilege to address you all as President of Kuujjuaraapik-Whapmagoostui Renewable Energy Corporation (KWREC). The KWREC represents our Cree-Inuit partnership in the development, construction, ownership and maintenance of the Whapmagoostui-Kuujjuaraapik Hybrid Power Plant (WKHPPP), a renewable energy component to Hydro-Quebec Distribution (HQD)’s diesel power plant that currently serves our community.
Our community, Whapmagoostui-Kuujjuaraapik, is a unique community located on the east coast of Hudson Bay in northern Quebec in which the Inuit and the Crees have lived together since time immemorial. Like most isolated Indigenous communities in Canada, our community has long been faced with lack of sustainable economic and employment opportunities for our people. But our leadership has nevertheless continued to seek means to promote economic development despite the lack of active industrial or resource development activity in our traditional territories. Our community’s isolation makes it that much more difficult to attain local economic autonomy.
Since 2011, the WHKPPP was developed with the participation of the Inuit of Kuujjuaraapik through the Sakkuq Landholding Corporation. The project was pursued primarily to create economic and job opportunities for the members of our twin communities and, secondly, to help reduce the global emissions of CO2 greenhouse gases that adversely affect our respective land-based cultures.
We are currently developing a wind project, but other renewable energy sources will also be considered with a view to limit and eventually move away from our current dependency on fossil fuel. With the support of Hydro-Quebec Distribution, the Government of Quebec and the Government of Canada, the WKHPPP will put our community on Quebec’s political map as a leader in renewable energy development in the North, setting as example for other Indigenous communities across Canada to follow our footsteps on the trail to a better economic future.