(Photo of a recent anti-pipeline protest in New Brunswick. APTN/file photo)
APTN National News
OTTAWA—New Brunswick Premier Brian Gallant says the duty to consult with First Nations on natural resource and energy projects does not give a veto to those Indigenous communities.
Gallant, whose province will be the end-point for TransCanada’s proposed Energy East pipeline, said the duty to consult must be met whenever projects infringe on the rights and territories of First Nation communities, but that does not include the power to veto.
“I think it’s important for us to recognize that there’s not a veto that comes with a duty to consult,” said Gallant. “There’s a duty to consult, a duty to accommodate if ever their rights would be infringed by development of natural resources or energy projects….That’s something that has been upheld and made very clear by the Supreme Court of Canada. And, of course, it’s the right thing to do as well.”
Gallant partly won the last provincial election because he promised a moratorium on hydraulic fracturing following intense 2013 demonstrations and confrontations between an exploration company, the RCMP and resident of the Mi’kmaq community of Elsipogtog and supporters from other First Nations along with area Acadian and Anglophone residents.
Gallant said consultation with First Nations is key to ensuring the success of new energy and natural resource projects.
“We’re also going to have to continually show them that we’re doing it in a sustainable and responsible way,” said Gallant, who was speaking to reporters before Monday’s Ottawa meeting between premiers and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau ahead of the upcoming climate change conference in Paris.