VANCOUVER, Nov. 29, 2016 /CNW/ - Statement from the Aboriginal Equity Partner Stewards (Bruce Dumont, Past President, Métis Nation British Columbia; David MacPhee, President, Aseniwuche Winewak Nation; Chief Elmer Derrick, Gitxsan Nation Hereditary Chief; Elmer Ghostkeeper, Buffalo Lake Métis Settlement):
"We are profoundly shocked and disappointed by the news that the Federal Government has no intention of pursuing any further consultation and dialogue with our communities on the important issue of the Northern Gateway Project. We are also deeply disappointed that a Prime Minister who campaigned on a promise of reconciliation with Indigenous communities would now blatantly choose to deny our 31 First Nations and Métis communities of our constitutionally protected right to economic development. We see today's announcement as clear evidence of their unwillingness to follow through on his promise.
The Government of Canada could have demonstrated its commitment by working with us as environmental stewards of the land and water to enhance marine safety. All 31 AEP plus the other affected communities should have been consulted directly and individually in order to meet the Federal Government's duty to consult.
The North Coast tanker moratorium will eliminate significant financial and social benefits committed to our communities through our ownership and participation in the Project.
It is time for governments to stop politicizing projects which take place on our lands - especially projects that are owned by Indigenous peoples.
The Aboriginal Equity Partners is a unique and historic partnership that establishes a new model for conducting natural resource development on our lands and traditional territories. We are owners of Northern Gateway and are participating in the project as equals.
The economic benefits from Northern Gateway to Indigenous communities are unprecedented in Canadian history. As part of the opportunity to share up to 33% ownership and control in a major Canadian energy infrastructure project, the project's Aboriginal Equity Partners will also receive $2 billion in long-term economic, business, and education opportunities for their communities.
Our goal is for Northern Gateway to help our young people to have a future where they can stay in their communities with training and work opportunities. We remain committed to Northern Gateway and the opportunities and responsibilities that come with our ownership. We also remain committed to working with our partners to ensure our environment is protected for future generations.
AEP will now consult with our member communities to determine our next steps."
SOURCE Aboriginal Equity Partners
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