AFN Welcomes Federal Decision: Encourages Sustainable Economic and Resource Development with First Nations
OTTAWA, Nov. 2
OTTAWA, Nov. 2 /CNW/ - Assembly of First Nations (AFN) National Chief Shawn A-in-chut Atleo and
AFN British Columbia Regional Chief Jody Wilson-Raybould welcome the
federal decision to not proceed with the Prosperity Mining Project at
Tetzan Biny (Fish Lake) in BC.
"I congratulate the federal government for doing the right thing
here. With this decision, I encourage all parties to engage in
respectful, constructive dialogue that will respect rights and maximize
sustainable economic and resource development," said AFN National Chief
Shawn Atleo. "We have many examples of successful partnerships between
industry and First Nations that are creating jobs through sustainable
projects and generating opportunity for all involved. I applaud the
incredible efforts of the entire Tsilhqot'in National Government. The
leadership has worked tirelessly to protect their lake, their
territories and the future of their people. I was honoured to meet with
them just two weeks ago in their beautiful territory and look forward
to continuing to support their efforts in economic development for
their communities and the region. "
National Chief Atleo's comments come after this afternoon's announcement
by federal Environment Minister Jim Prentice.
"I am very pleased that Canada has respected the views of the federal
Environmental Review Panel and the rights and way of life of the
Tsilhqot'in people by declining to approve the Taseko Mines Ltd.
application to build the Prosperity Mine. We continue to stand proudly
behind the Tsilhqot'in National Government and congratulate them on
their leadership," said BC Regional Chief Jody Wilson-Raybould. "Today,
we must remember that First Nations are not opposed to mining or
economic development and see the benefits in terms of growth and job
creation in communities when it is done in a balanced way, however in
this particular case the negative impacts of the mine far outweighed
the potential gain. First Nations are keen to be full partners in
discussions and dialogue on proposals and decisions that involve our
territories. We want to ensure our rights, citizens and future
generations are protected."
During a national press conference in OttawaSeptember 2, the AFN and
First Nation leadership from across BC stood with Chief Marilyn
Baptiste and other Tsilhqot'in leaders as they urged the federal
government to heed the cautions of an independent panel of the Canadian
Environmental Assessment Agency. The panel reported the mine would
negatively impact fish habitat, local wildlife, navigation and
traditional land use, devastating the surrounding environment at Fish
Lake and permanently threatening the rich heritage of the territories
of the Tsilhqot'in Nation.
The Assembly of First Nations is the national organization representing
First Nations citizens in Canada.