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Sep. 25 2013
Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver, whose government is pushing hard this fall to get support from First Nations, said he is worried opportunities for “billions of dollars” of development could be lost if agreements cannot be struck in a timely way with aboriginal leaders.
“There is a tremendous amount of competition – and these opportunities do not stay forever,” Mr. Oliver cautioned in an interview as five deputy ministers from Ottawa met with native leaders in Vancouver in an effort to forge a new relationship with First Nations.
The push is coming because two major oil pipelines worth a combined $12-billion and six liquefied natural gas projects with a total value of $35-billion are proposed in British Columbia. But there is also considerable resistance to some of those projects, most notably the proposed Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline, which First Nations say cannot proceed. All of the projects are in native territories and few bands in B.C. have signed treaties with the government, which leaves them in a powerful bargaining position.