- Category: news
- Created: Wednesday, 28 August 2013 13:18
- Published: Wednesday, 28 August 2013 13:18
- Written by Administrator 3
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Letter to the editor
Medicine Hat News
This letter is in response to items that appeared in the Medicine Hat News last week concerning the First Nations Consultation Policy and Bill 22 The Aboriginal Consultation Levy Act. Both items included inaccurate and misleading information that must be clarified.
The editorial “Consultation guidelines demand a hard look,” (Aug. 21), it states, “The provincial government’s recent policy which makes it mandatory to consult with aboriginal groups before new energy or resource development projects are carried out on treaty lands is admirable, at least in the sense the government is now taking steps to do what it should have been doing all along.”
Since 2005, the Government of Alberta has had a First Nations Consultation Policy in place. The new policy was developed after years of feedback from First Nations and industry who have said changes are needed. A formal policy review process has been underway for several years, which included input from First Nations, industry and municipal stakeholders. Alberta has a legal duty to consult with First Nations when Crown land decisions may adversely impact constitutionally-protected treaty rights.
In the same piece, it also is stated that “Alberta’s Energy Regulator, the provincial agency which ultimately decides what projects are approved or not, has no role in the process at all.”
There will be processes built between the Alberta Energy Regulator and the Consultation Office regarding First Nations consultation.
There is no media ban on negotiations and to say that First Nations are not allowed to voice their opinions publicly is totally inaccurate. Nothing stops the parties involved from expressing public viewpoints regarding projects or potential impacts or providing information on their own.
In response to the article headlined “Bill to increase levy on treaty land activities going through despite opposition from both sides,” (Aug. 22) concerning Bill 22 The Aboriginal Consultation Levy Act, there are also many inaccurate statements.
Bill 22 was passed this spring. We are working with First Nations and stakeholders on developing the details of how the Act will be implemented.
This is something I committed to early in the process.
As far as I know, industry has never come out and said they were against Bill 22. In fact, the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers’ Vice-President of Operations told a media outlet last week that their organization’s members are willing to pay the levy, as similar fees are already collected in British Columbia.
(The writer is minister of aboriginal relations for the Province of Alberta.)