Conservative leader promises consultations with First Nations over sharing money from resource projects

Pierre Poilievre, the leader of the federal Conservative Party and official opposition, says he’s kicking off a series of consultations with First Nations into how to improve revenue-sharing the money pulled from resource projects on territories across the country.

“First Nations should have the right to bring home more of the benefits of their resources to their people,” said the federal Conservative leader in Vancouver. “Today I am kicking off consultations with First Nations and industry on an optional new model for First Nations that they can opt into giving them more direct fiscal revenues from resource projects on their lands.”

Poilievre was speaking at the annual Association for Mineral Exploration Round Up conference in Vancouver. More than a dozen chiefs from First Nations in British Columbia came to hear what he had to say.

According to Michael Labourdais, chief of Whispering Pines Clinton Indian Band and chair of the Western Indigenous Pipeline Group, he helped develop what is called the “resource revenue charge” in 2013 that would give First Nations a revenue stream from resource projects.

He said he’s glad the Conservatives are looking into options.

“They were asking questions about how do we see this working,” he said. “This is our idea of a solution to an Ottawa problem right and so what the feds are going to do is they are going to seat some of their space, their tax room and then the First Nations will occupy that space as the way it should’ve been 150 years ago.

Judy Desjarlais is chief of Blueberry first Nation in norther British Columbia near the Alberta border. Her community just signed a deal with the province worth nearly $300 million that will go towards healing the land from industrial disturbances and a revenue-sharing agreement for oil and gas projects.

She said there’s no reason First Nations should be living in “third-world” conditions in one of the wealthiest countries in the world.

“We are still facing water problems within our community but we have billions being extracted out of our territory,” she said. “We should be driving on paved roads and we are not – we should have homes that are not filled with mold or water damage.

“I hope to bring better quality of life in terms of new infrastructure and expanding in that infrastructure so that our community members can live comfortably.”

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