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KITIMAT — The Honourable Joe Oliver, Canada’s Minister of Natural Resources, today concluded a successful visit to Kitimat, British Columbia, hosted by the Haisla First Nation. Minister Oliver discussed opportunities to increase First Nations' participation in resource development and received a tour of the Douglas Channel hosted by Chief Councilor Ellis Ross.
“I am privileged to have been invited by the Haisla Nation to gain their perspective, listen to their concerns and discuss our plans for Responsible Resource Development and our initiatives to strengthen environmental protection,” said Minister Oliver. “Resource development presents a tremendous opportunity for First Nations groups like the Haisla. Our government has also been clear that development will only proceed if it is safe for the environment.”
Our natural resource sector employs 31,000 Aboriginal peoples across Canada and will result in opportunities for thousands more. Resource development accounts for almost 100,000 jobs and 13 percent of British Columbia’s economy and generates billions of dollars that fund critical social programs like health care, housing and education.
Among the measures introduced by the Harper Government to improve the safe transportation of natural resources is the creation of a Tanker Safety Expert Panel to review Canada's current tanker safety system and propose further measures to strengthen it. This builds on existing requirements including double hulls, guidance through challenging areas by tugs and experienced captains and pilots who are familiar with the area.
Minister Oliver also highlighted his March 19 announcement in Terrace, B.C. to appoint a Special Representative for West Coast Energy Infrastructure, Mr. Doug Eyford who reports directly to the Prime Minister, to work with Aboriginal groups. Mr. Douglas Eyford is engaging Aboriginal communities to ensure they have an opportunity to actively participate in developing Canada’s energy resources and protecting our environment.
“Responsible resource development has the potential to create significant new opportunities for Aboriginal peoples across Canada,” said Minister Oliver. “The Government will make every effort to ensure that Aboriginal peoples in Canada have the opportunity to share the benefits of energy resource development in the years ahead, while ensuring that projects are developed in a manner that has the highest regard for safety and the environment.”
“The safe and responsible diversification of our energy markets is a priority for the Government of Canada,” said Minister Oliver. “Our energy industry must remain competitive to ensure communities across Canada continue to benefit from our natural resource wealth.”
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