VANCOUVER – A report commissioned by the federal government in an attempt to resolve an impasse with British Columbia First Nations over energy projects says trust and reconciliation need to be established between aboriginals and governments.
The report by Doug Eyford says most First Nations communities in B.C. and Alberta see the value and economic opportunity in energy developments — but they want that development done in an environmentally sustainable way that acknowledges their rights.
The report says industries understand the necessity of working with aboriginal communities but it believes the federal government must address matters beyond specific projects.
Eyford makes several recommendations, including that Ottawa undertake a “principled” dialogue with First Nations about resource development.
The report also recommends that aboriginal leaders undertake strategic planning helping them take advantage of the employment and business opportunities projects represent.
There are several major energy projects proposed in B.C., including the Northern Gateway pipeline and a proposal by Kinder Morgan to almost triple the capacity of it existing Trans Mountain oil pipeline delivering Alberta oil to B.C. ports for export.