Indian and Northern Affairs Canada

Indian and Northern Affairs Canada

June 23, 2009 13:51 ET

Government of Canada Supports Yukon First Nations Engagement in Oil and Gas Industry

WATSON LAKE, YUKON--(Marketwire - June 23, 2009) - The Honourable Chuck Strahl, Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development and Federal Interlocutor for Metis and Non-Status Indians, today announced funding for the Guidelines Project an initiative to facilitate First Nations participation in the oil and gas industry.

This announcement was made in partnership with the Alaska Highway Aboriginal Pipeline Coalition (AHAPC).

"The development of an Alaska Highway pipeline presents significant opportunities for Canada. By working with First Nations we ensure they can prepare for, participate in and benefit from the pipeline project," said Minister Strahl. "We remain committed to ensuring that Aboriginal and northern communities, as well as other Canadians, receive long-term benefits from environmentally sound northern gas and pipeline development."

Indian and Northern Affairs Canada contributed $249,500 to AHAPC in 2008/09 and 2009/10 through the Strategic Investments in Northern Economic Development (SINED) program. The Guidelines Project aims to help First Nation governments work with industry and governments involved in the Alaska Highway Pipeline project. It will provide clear information on the pipeline and related processes.

"It is very important to move ahead with this Guidelines Project. We want to actively be part of shaping our own future rather than be sitting on the sidelines watching this happen to our communities without being properly prepared to deal with the positive opportunities and negative impacts that may arise with a potential pipeline" said Chief Ruth Massie, Chairperson of the AHAPC Board.

"Clear guidelines for engagement with Yukon First Nations on the Alaska Highway Pipeline route will encourage a good working relationship with all parties involved in the project, should it go ahead," added Senator Daniel Lang. "As part of our Northern Strategy, we want to ensure northern regulatory regimes are strong, effective, efficient and predictable."

SINED is a program offered by Indian and Northern Affairs Canada in the Yukon, Northwest Territories and Nunavut. The goal of the program is to promote the economic development of the North - strengthening territories' economies and generating important economic opportunities for Northerners.

This announcement reinforces the Government's work to advance an integrated Northern Strategy that will strengthen Canada's Arctic sovereignty, protect the North's environmental heritage, promote social and economic development, and improve and devolve northern governance.

This release is also available on the Internet at www.inac.gc.ca


BACKGROUNDER

About the Alaska Highway Aboriginal Pipeline Coalition

The Alaska Highway Aboriginal Pipeline Coalition (AHAPC) was formed specifically to assess and communicate the environment and socio-economic implications of the proposed Alaska Highway gas pipeline for Yukon First Nations along the proposed route. The AHAPC was registered on October 22, 2004 as a non-profit society and is recognized as a resource centre and the first point of contact for pipeline-related issues. As a neutral information conduit, it is non-political and does not speak on behalf of the First Nations groups. The Board of Directors of the AHAPC is committed to ensuring that Yukon First Nation governments along the pipeline corridor make informed decisions about the pipeline project.

AHAPC is a collaboration between Kwanlin Dun First Nation, Carcross/Tagish First Nation, Champagne and Aishihik First Nations, Ta'an Kwach'an Council, Liard First Nation, Kaska Dena Council, and Kluane First Nation. Please visit www.ahapc.ca for more information.

About the project

The Guidelines Project will include the development of three manuals to serve as working and reference tools that lay out a roadmap on processes and issues associated with First Nations participation in the pipeline project. They will identify roles and responsibilities necessary to establish respectful relationships and participation agreements and will provide guidance for the inclusion of Yukon First Nations in the environmental assessment process. These manuals will assist both Yukon First Nations and industry in developing strong partnerships and mutual benefits.

Strategic Investments in Northern Economic Development (SINED)

Please visit the INAC website for more information on Strategic Investments in Northern Economic Development (SINED) (www.ainc-inac.gc.ca/nth/ecd/index-eng.asp)

Contact Information

  • Indian and Northern Affairs Canada - Yukon Region
    Line Gagnon
    Manager, Communications
    867-667-3315
    or
    Alaska Highway Aboriginal Pipeline Coalition
    Whitehorse, Yukon
    Pearl Callaghan, Operations Leader
    867-456-7314 / cell: 867-333-4685
    867-456-4328 (FAX)