First Nations commend Canada and BC for rejecting the Kemess North mine



    COAST SALISH TRADITIONAL TERRITORY/VANCOUVER, BC, March 7 /CNW/ - First
Nations leaders expressed relief that Canada and British Columbia are formally
rejecting Northgate Minerals' Kemess North mine expansion project. The
department of Fisheries and Oceans cited the report of the joint environmental
review panel, which did not favour the controversial project because it was
found "not to be in the public interest".
    "It should have been an easy decision for both governments. No government
should as a matter of public policy authorize the destruction of lakes," Grand
Chief Edward John of the First Nation Summit said. "Nevertheless, the decision
was made for the right reason. In that respect, this decision can be a
catalyst for First Nations, governments, and the mining industry in B.C. to
establish working relationships so we can start down the path of true
sustainable development, where everyone's interests are met."
    "We trust that industry and the governments of BC and Canada have learned
an invaluable lesson from this long and frustrating experience. They must
change their attitudes, approaches and policies concerning the essential need
to recognize our Aboriginal Title and Rights," said Grand Chief Stewart
Phillip of the Union of B.C.Indian Chiefs. "I hope they have the vision and
intelligence to understand the need to commit to these changes."
    "Today's announcement should bring immense relief to the Tse Keh Nay and
Gitxsan peoples who were directly affected by this mine proposal," Regional
Chief Shawn Atleo of the B.C. Assembly of First Nations said. "Over the years,
their leadership, staff, and various supporters worked diligently to publicize
the message that destroying Amazay Lake was just too high of a price to pay,
no matter the short-term benefits promised. So now, finally, it can be said
with certainty that they will not have to pay that price. For this reason, and
remarkably enough that this matter didn't end up in court, we can all be
thankful."

    The First Nations Leadership Council is comprised of the political
executives of the BC Assembly of First Nations, First Nations Summit, and the
Union of BC Indian Chiefs.
    The Council works together to politically represent the interests of
First Nations in British Columbia and develop strategies and actions to bring
about significant and substantive changes to government policy that will
benefit all First Nations in British Columbia.





For further information:

For further information: Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, President, UBCIC:
(250) 490-5314; Ryneld Starr, BC Assembly of First Nations: (604) 922-7733;
Colin Braker, Communications Director, Office: (604) 926-9903; First Nations
Summit: Cell: (604) 328-4094

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BC Assembly of First Nations

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