Sat. Feb 24th, 2024

A bill to resolve a dispute between Rio Tinto and the MRC of Maria-Chapdelaine

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The Chute-des-Passes dam, located 10 kilometers upstream of the Chute-des-Passes power station. (Archive photo)

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Voice synthesis, based on artificial intelligence, makes it possible to generate a spoken text from written text.

The MP for Roberval, Nancy Guillemette, will table a private bill so that the MRC of Maria-Chapdelaine receives more substantial royalties, determined according to the Municipal Taxation Act, with regard to Rio Tinto hydroelectric power stations .

To understand this complex story revealed by Le Quotidien, you should know that the multinational Rio Tinto pays a sum of money each year to the MRC of Maria-Chapdelaine as royalties for the operation of its Chute-des-Passes and Chute-du-Diable hydroelectric power stations, which are found in the territory of this MRC.

The amounts that Rio Tinto remits to the MRC of Maria-Chapdelaine were determined in 1988 by an agreement concluded between both parties.

Rio Tinto, however, claims that the MRC is interpreting this agreement inaccurately, that is to say that it is demanding an amount too high linked to an incorrect calculation method.

Following a declined interview request, Rio Tinto opted to respond with a written statement.

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Rio Tinto has held discussions to try to reach an agreement with the MRC of Maria-Chapdelaine aimed at resolving the issue of voluntary contributions. These discussions, which aimed to resolve a dispute with the MRC regarding the calculation of the voluntary contribution paid by Rio Tinto for its energy production and transmission facilities on the territory of the MRC, proved unsuccessful, indicated the advisor. in corporate media relations, Malika Cherry, in an email message.

Since the discussions did not lead to any agreement, Rio Tinto asked the court to rule on the interpretation of the agreement, even if it wishes to clarify one point: it wishes to continue offering voluntary contributions to municipalities for its hydroelectric dams.

Rio Tinto had filed a request for a declaratory judgment so that the court establishes the calculation method in accordance with the law and thus resolve the impasse between Rio Tinto and the MRC on this issue, we can read in the same email.

To prevent such a legal procedure from being repeated, the MRC wishes to submit a private bill to the National Assembly in order to find itself under the aegis of the Municipal Taxation Act.

There is currently a challenge from Rio Tinto. It's judicialized. We want to avoid this situation recurring in the future, that future elected officials are again faced with the same situation, a contested contract, indicates Luc Simard, prefect of the MRC of Maria-Chapdelaine.

According to him, the MRC spent a lot of money on legal fees and should no longer have to do so.

We are over $200,000 in legal fees to defend ourselves in this case. We find that unacceptable, he said.

We are simply asking for fairness, to be considered like other municipalities within the law, to be recognized within the law as having the right to taxes for hydroelectric infrastructure. And we also want, always for the sake of fairness, to have amounts equivalent to those that our neighbors have for the same hydroelectric infrastructures, he continues.

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Luc Simard, prefect of the MRC of Maria-Chapdelaine

According to Luc Simard, the MRC du Fjord-du-Saguenay receives more interesting sums for the Chute-des-Passes hydroelectric power station, whose harnessed river also runs through the territory, because it is not part of the same agreement signed in 1988. In her case, the contributions she receives are determined by the Municipal Taxation Act.

The private bill will be tabled by the CAQ MP for Roberval, Nancy Guillemette.

We see that there is an inequity between two MRCs. For me, fairness is important. I agreed to submit this project to correct a historical error, indicated the main interested party during a telephone interview.

L The elected official must submit the said project by the end of January and hopes that it will be studied in a parliamentary committee towards the end of May.

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