Elizabeth May: Mr. Speaker, I did reference Mr. Eyford’s report. However, it is clear from the events in Elsipogtog that it has certainly come too late for that relationship. There has been no consultation advanced.
While it is true that fracking is a provincial responsibility, the federal environment commissioner, in his fall 2012 report, found that for the parts that are federal, such as tracking toxic chemicals used in fracking, Environment Canada did not even have a full list of those chemicals used, and it always remains a federal fiduciary responsibility to ensure that first nations’ rights are not being infringed upon through resource development.
As for the question of going forward in British Columbia and my opposition to resource development, I do not oppose resource development. I oppose the reckless, untrammelled rapid development of oil sands for the sole purpose of shipping out raw product. If the bitumen were being processed in Alberta, I think our discussions would be very different. However, all pipeline proposals are for raw bitumen mixed with a diluent that has to be purchased from Saudi Arabia.
Colin Carrie: Mr. Speaker, as our government has stated repeatedly, we will ensure that aboriginal consultations fully meet our duty to consult and are open and meaningful. We will continue meeting with first nations groups to strengthen the ongoing dialogue between the federal government and first nations.
Resource projects give aboriginal communities the potential to turn the high cost of isolation into a huge advantage of proximity. In fact, most mines and exploration properties in Canada are located within 200 kilometres of an aboriginal community. There are 400,000 aboriginal youth under the age of 15, representing a major wave of potential new entrants into the labour market, and over the next 10 years it is expected that Canada’s resource sectors will need to hire thousands of workers.
The scale of economic activity is enormous and it is estimated that there is a potential of $650 billion worth of major resource projects in Canada in the next decade. Such development would create thousands of new jobs. Right now, the resource industries make up about one-fifth of our national economy, creating and supporting more than 1.8 million jobs across our great country. In addition to the good jobs they provide, the resource industries generate over $30 billion in royalties and tax revenues, funds that support schools, hospitals, and other vital services for all Canadians, including aboriginal communities.