In­side Trans Moun­tain con­sul­ta­tion redo

Min­is­ter al­ready met with lead­ers of 22 bands, sig­nalling talks are off to a good start

StarMetro Calgary - - CANADA & WORLD -

OT­TAWA—Nat­u­ral Re­sources Min­is­ter Amar­jeet Sohi has per­son­ally met with lead­ers of nearly two dozen In­dige­nous com­mu­ni­ties since the Fed­eral Court of Ap­peal struck down fed­eral ap­proval of the Trans Moun­tain pipe­line ex­pan­sion in Au­gust.

The gov­ern­ment is do­ing ad­di­tional con­sul­ta­tions with In­dige­nous com­mu­ni­ties af­fected by the pipe­line ex­pan­sion af­ter the court said the orig­i­nal con­sul­ta­tion was in­suf­fi­cient.

One of the court’s chief ob­jec­tions was that the bu­reau­crats who en­gaged with In­dige­nous com­mu­ni­ties lis­tened and doc­u­mented the con­cerns they raised, but had no au­thor­ity to do any­thing about those con­cerns or even an­swer some of the In­dige­nous groups’ ques­tions.

Sohi says this time that has changed and he has a man­date to ad­dress the con­cerns raised where pos­si­ble, and ex­plain why not when it

isn’t.

He says he has al­ready met with 22 In­dige­nous com­mu­ni­ties, in­clud­ing lead­ers from most of those that sued Ot­tawa over the pipe­line.

Sohi main­tains the Lib­eral gov­ern­ment is not as­sum­ing the out­come of the con­sul­ta­tions — even though Prime Min­is­ter Justin Trudeau says the pipe­line is go­ing to be built and Ot­tawa laid down $4.5 bil­lion to buy the project over the sum­mer.

Pro­test­ers demon­strate against the ex­pan­sion of the Trans Moun­tain pipe­line.

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