NEWS RELEASE · 19th March 2013
MP Nathan Cullen - Ottawa
Nathan Cullen voiced concerns on Monday about the federal government’s appointment of a new Special Federal Representative on West Coast Energy Infrastructure, Doug Eyford, a Vancouver lawyer. Eyford’s role will be to engage with First Nations in British Columbia and Alberta on resource development.
The primary concern with the appointment, Cullen said, is that Mr. Eyford will report to the Prime Minister, not to Parliament or the public. “So, if Mr. Eyford’s report is in any way unfavourable to the Conservative pipeline agenda, what assurances do we have that his report will make its way into the public eye?”
It is also unclear how the appointment would affect Eyford’s work as the chief government negotiator for the federal government’s comprehensive land claims process, and what kind of effect his absence will have on that process.
While the Cullen and NDP welcome the government’s attention to First Nations concerns in resource development, there are causes for alarm, he said it also speaks to the government’s level of commitment to First Nations engagement that they waited this long to take consultation seriously.
“The Harper government has made a legacy of ignoring the concerns of First Nations. The opposition to Northern Gateway has been mounting for years, and this appointment speaks to the Conservatives’ apparent preference for damage control rather than proactive consultation.”