Alberta deputy premier ready to work with First Nations on pipeline concerns
Alberta government, industry welcome talks with Indigenous alliance trying to stop oil pipelines
Alberta's deputy premier says she is disappointed, but not shocked, by 50 First Nations across the country signing a treaty opposing further oilsands development and any new pipelines.
Deputy Premier Sarah Hoffman told CBC Calgary News at 6 that her NDP government will work with First Nations on their concerns and continue to push for new pipelines to boost Alberta oil exports.
"Certainly we're committed to getting a pipeline to tidewater," she said.
"We're going to continue to work with First Nations, other orders of government and make sure that we work with the federal government to ensure that everyone has the information they need to feel confident that these pipelines are indeed the safest mode of transportation and that there's benefit for them and for all Canadians."
Hoffman says past Alberta and federal governments weren't as interested in a dialogue with First Nations leaders' so it's not surprising there's a growing pushback on the energy industry in indigenous communities.
First Nations communities from Canada and the northern United States signed a treaty on Thursday to jointly fight proposals to build more pipelines to carry crude from Alberta's oilsands, saying further development would damage the environment.
The treaty, signed in Montreal and Vancouver, came as the politics around pipelines have become increasingly sensitive in North America, with the U.S. Justice Department intervening last week to delay construction of a contentious pipeline in North Dakota.
Willing to work together: CAPP
The energy industry is one of the biggest employers of First Nations people, said Tim McMillan, head of the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers.
The industry is more than willing to work with the nations that signed the treaty to find common goals, he said.
"In their comments, I know they said that they're looking to have a dialogue and they want to work towards how they can reach the objective they're looking for. The energy industry is certainly up for and will take them up on that offer."
McMillan says not all Canadians support the energy industry but many do, and those supporters include First Nations.
"I think it is a request to have new relationships and to have dialogue about issues around energy, around infrastructure and how it will affect us. I hope it will initiate it, and that was one of the asks that was put forward in the press release and we're going pick up on it."