Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s envoy to First Nations on western energy projects concluded there “has not been constructive dialogue” with aboriginal communities -- something the federal government must take drastic steps to change if it expects to win support for the projects.
That was the blunt assessment delivered Thursday by Douglas Eyford, appointed eight months ago by Harper to engage with First Nations, industry and governments to figure out a way forward on issues of aboriginal rights and title related to two key projects -- Enbridge’s $6.5-billion pipeline to Kitimat and Kinder Morgan’s $5.4-billion expansion of its existing pipeline to Burnaby.
Eyford described a lack of trust by First Nations, as well as the B.C. and Alberta government’s frustration with what they view as a federal system “comparatively leaden or indifferent” about collaborating with First Nations.
The emissary laid out several recommendations on how to change that ...