Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Federal and Provincial governments to work with North Coast First Nations on energy engagement

As we outlined on the blog earlier today, representatives of the Federal, Provincial and First Nations governments all gathered in Prince Rupert on Tuesday afternoon.

Providing background on a pair of initiatives that will provide easier access  and engagement on energy infrastructure issues for First Nations of the North Coast.

Greg Rickford, the Federal Minister of Natural Resources outlined the nature of the twin approaches to community involvement.  With local participation in the Major Projects Management Office West, which serves to coordinate activities on energy infrastructure with BC First Nations.

As well, First Nations on the North Coast will become participants in a Tripartite Forum, sharing information with Federal and Provincial levels of government and identify common interests on issues that directly impact on Aboriginal participation in the development of energy and Natural resources on the North Coast.

Both Mayor Gary Reece of Lax Kw'alaams and Chief Harold Leighton of the Metlakatla First Nation heralded today's developments as a welcome addition to the dialogue between their communities and both Federal and provincial governments.

As part of the discussion on today's announcement, the success of the Rail-Utility corridor at Ridley Island was presented as a blue print of sorts.

Highlighting the cooperation and opportunities that First Nations on the North Coast are looking to continue on with, as they look for access to  energy infrastructure projects that are preparing to move forward in the region.

"Today's announcement by Minister Rickford is an important step forward in strengthening the relationship between the federal government and First Nations, including the Coast Tsimshian, on energy projects. Members of our community want to ensure projects are safe for the environment, our marine resources, and generate business opportunities and jobs for our members, as we have done successfully on initiatives like the Road-Rail Utility Corridor Project." -- Mayor Garry Reece Lax Kw'alaams First Nation . . . 

"We are pleased to see the federal government recognizes the importance of working with First Nations on issues related to energy infrastructure. The Coast Tsimshian are proud of its record as business partner on the Road-Rail Utility Corridor Project. Most of the workers on the construction site are from the region and about one half are from local First Nations communities. They are bringing the project in on schedule while gaining valuable work experience." -- Chief Harold Leighton Metlakatla First Nation.

Details of today's announcement can be found here.

You can review some background on the Major Management Office for the West from the Natural Resources Canada website.

Also available from that portal is a review of the Tripartite Forum process announced at today's media conference in Prince Rupert

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