First Nations have no relationship with N.B. government, 2 chiefs say
Chiefs want Premier Brian Gallant to sit down with them and 'have a conversation' about fracking, pipeline
The New Brunswick Commission on Hydraulic Fracturing report'srecommendation that the province rebuild its relationship with aboriginal people has at least two chiefs asking, what relationship?
Candace Paul, chief of St. Mary's First Nation, said there is nothing to rebuild, as there is no relationship at the moment.
"I don't believe, as long as I've been in politics, that there was a relationship so I'm not sure about rebuilding. I think we need to establish or begin [a relationship]," she said on Information Morning Fredericton.
"If you want to start a relationship, the first thing you do is you start to have a conversation and dialogue," Tremblay said.
The fracking report points out Aboriginal communities have a deep distrust of government, something the chiefs said could only be resolved through face-to-face meetings with the premier of New Brunswick.
We want it safe and pure for our children.- Ron Tremblay, chief of Wolastoq Grand Council
Paul said it's time for Brian Gallant to sit down at the table with the First Nations of New Brunswick, that "it has to be the premier."
It's not a matter of being anti-development, she said, whether it's fracking, the Energy East pipeline, or the Sisson Brook tungsten mine.
"We`re saying it`s based on facts. Based on our, you know, concern for our environment and concerns for our water ... we have scientists, we have proof," said Paul.
Possible court challenge
When asked how far she would be prepared to go to challenge the government, said "I guess the only other thing would be ... court action," something she's not ruling out at this point.
"It's 2016, you know, this is very disturbing. But to me, this is a pattern of the way our people have been treated for generations and ... it needs to stop," said Paul.
Tremblay said First Nations need more time to inform their members about the science behind fracking, the pipeline and the mine, and feels they are being rushed on what he said are decisions that will affect the future for many generations.
"We're the original stewards of this land and we want it safe and pure for our children," said Tremblay.
If the government wants to build a relationship, said Paul, they have to make the first move.
"Come to the table," she said.
Ed Doherty, minister responsible for the province's aboriginal affairs secretariat, said in part in a statement the government welcomes meetings with chiefs and elected representatives and communities.
"I have had the privilege of meeting with Chiefs and councils on many occasions to discuss issues of mutual concern and interest. We value our relationship with First Nations and are interested in hearing from First Nations on issues of importance to them," said Doherty.
Paul agreed that she has had a "great relationship" with Doherty, "but he can only do so much. It has to be the premier."
CBC News contacted the office of Premier Brian Gallant, who is in Vancouver for meetings, but has not yet received a reply.