IN THE HOUSE ~ Question ~ Public and First Nations' consultations is the government's responsibility

    M. Peter Julian (Burnaby—New Westminster, NPD): Monsieur le Président, les conservateurs ont toujours été en faveur du Northern Gateway et depuis qu'ils ont annoncé qu'ils vont permettre à Enbridge de détruire l'écosystème fragile de la côte nord de la Colombie-Britannique, ils font tout pour se distancer de ce projet d'oléoduc qu'ils viennent d'approuver. Un porte-parole du ministre a même dit que le gouvernement n'avait pas dit « oui Â», mais plutôt « peut-être Â».

    Les conservateurs vont-ils respecter les citoyens de la Colombie-Britannique qui disent non à Enbridge? Les députés du Parti conservateur vont-ils enfin représenter leurs concitoyens, oui, non ou peut-être?

    Mrs. Kelly Block (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Natural Resources, CPC): Mr. Speaker, we have been clear that projects will only move forward if they are safe for Canadians and safe for the environment.

    Our decision is based on the conclusions of an independent science-based review panel. We have imposed 209 stringent conditions to ensure this project meets the highest safety standards. The panel heard from nearly 1,500 participants in 21 communities and reviewed over 175,000 pages of evidence.

    The proponent clearly has more work to do with communities along the route.

    Mr. Peter Julian (Burnaby—New Westminster, NDP): Mr. Speaker, there is only one thorough thing about this whole process and that is the Conservatives have thoroughly bungled this process.

    From environmental protection to first nations consultation to community involvement, in every sector the government has failed and each time it turns around, like now, and blames the company. The minister said “The proponent clearly has more work to do in order to fulfill the public commitment it has made to engage with aboriginal groups and local communitiesâ€�. Who is responsible for this? The government is responsible.

    Does the government really not understand that public and first nations' consultation is its responsibility?

    Mrs. Kelly Block (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Natural Resources, CPC): Mr. Speaker, aboriginal consultation is part of the review process. There were 72 days of hearings for aboriginal groups to share their knowledge, including traditional knowledge, and their views on this issue. In fact, 41 first nations were financed to enhance their participation in the review. There was a range of views among those groups.

    Mr. Peter Julian (Burnaby—New Westminster, NDP): Continual disrespect for B.C. Mr. Speaker.

    Le premier ministrecontinue à dire qu'Enbridge va faire des consultations rigoureuses auprès des Premières Nations. Mais cela n'est pas le travail d'Enbridge, c'est le travail de la Couronne, donc le travail de ce gouvernement. Les conservateurs vont se mettre à dos les Autochtones de partout au pays et vont empêcher d'autres projets énergétiques qui dépendent des bonnes relations avec les Premières Nations de voir le jour.

    Alors pourquoi ce gouvernement n'écoute-t-il pas les Premières Nations de la Colombie-Britannique? Pourquoi?

    Mrs. Kelly Block (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Natural Resources, CPC): Mr. Speaker, our government is working to build a stronger relationship with Canada's first nations. Our response to the Eyford report is a first step to building a stronger relationship with first nations.

    The natural resources sector is the largest private employer of first nations people in Canada. First nations have and will continue to benefit and contribute as full partners in the development of our natural resources.