Oral Questions – Natural Resources

Elizabeth May: Mr. Speaker, reference was made earlier today to a report tabled from the special envoy for west coast energy projects. In the very beginning, he cites:

Aboriginal communities hold constitutionally protected rights. The law requires potential impacts on those rights to be taken into account in project development.

In the context of the increasing tensions in New Brunswick in the fracking protests there, does the Prime Minister recognize that he is legally bound by our Constitution to ensure that the Mi’kmaq of Elsipogtog are fully consulted in advance of any fracking on their unceded territory?

Stephen Harper: Mr. Speaker, of course we recognize our constitutional obligations. That is why aboriginal consultations are obviously part of our responsible resource development initiatives.

Specifically, the report tabled today was a report that I commissioned to ensure not just that we do fully and properly consult with aboriginal peoples but also ensure that aboriginal peoples have the opportunity to fully participate in and benefit from any resource development that is near their communities or in their communities.

This is an unprecedented opportunity for all Canadians, including aboriginal peoples.