03/03/2015 06:16 EST | Updated 05/03/2015 05:59 EDT

Philippe Couillard Defends Lucien Bouchard's $500,000 Contract


PARIS - Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard is defending his government's decision to award a $500,000 contract that will see former premier Lucien Bouchard act as mediator in a dispute between aboriginals and a forestry company.

The Cree and Inuit communities of Lac-St-Jean are in conflict with the province and the firm Resolute Forest Products over logging rights in the area.

Couillard said during a trip in France on Tuesday that thousands of jobs and hundreds of millions of dollars are at stake and that resolving the issues is absolutely fundamental.

He described Bouchard as an experienced mediator and the best person to defuse the tensions, adding the $500,000 contract is not solely for the former premier but also for his entourage.


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