This article was last updated on April 16, 2022
Prime Minister Stephen Harper has taken another step to minimize aboriginal resentment against resource projects, including the contentious Northern Gateway pipeline, by appointing a new special adviser to identify first nations’ concerns and propose methods to handle them.
While Natural Resources Minister, Joe Oliver, was visiting Terrace, B.C., he exclaimed that energy and mining projects currently taking place are bundled with enormous economic promise for native people all the way through with substantial employment and business contracts. It was further added that Ottawa is also wishful of ensuring that communities take full advantage of newly arisen opportunities, while also addressing their environmental concerns. To supplement those effort, he further proclaimed that an appointment of Doug Eyford, as a special representative, has been settled to consult with native communities and report directly to the Prime Minister. Mr. Eyford will conclusively draft the report of his findings in June, and present a finalized description by the end of November. The deadline coincides with the conclusion of a panel examining Enbridge Inc.’s proposed Northern Gateway pipeline, which would carry oil sands bitumen from Alberta to the B.C. coast.
Mr. Oliver further pointed out that the new adviser is guided “to think boldly and creatively about the types of economic benefit that can flow from resource projects to ensure that all communities share in the increased prosperity.” Mr. Eyford is a Vancouver lawyer with a long history of aboriginal practice and is currently a chief federal negotiator on native land claims in B.C.