B. Simpson: Will the Minister of Aboriginal Relations please tell this House what the government is going to do to address the issue that the Tsilhqot'in National Government have flatly rejected Prosperity mine in any form?

Hon. R. Coleman: I have been in extensive conversations with the Tsilhqot'in over the last number of months. Over that period of time we've been dealing with their issues and looking at their long-term economic opportunities. Many of them affect not just mineral exploration in their particular area of British Columbia but also opportunities in power and in mills and opportunities with them being involved in IPP and those types of opportunities.
As we've come through those discussions, we've helped them sort of focus on what their long-term economic goals are. That work is ongoing. I've met with them after an extensive report was done with them to look at all the opportunities in the Chilcotin. We're going to continue to do that.

At the same time, we are working with the mining company and with the First Nation to try and solve this issue one way or the other as we go forward. But at the same time, we should recognize that the Tsilhqot'in are interested in economic activity in their area in a respectful way that would have dealings with companies and people that would come in and work with them. We're going to try and continue to build that relationship with regards to Prosperity.

Mr. Speaker: Member has a supplemental.

B. Simpson: The province approved the draining of Fish Lake and continues to permit the draining of Fish Lake despite the fact that the Harper government rejected that proposal. The province has no process to deal with the new Prosperity proposal in a public manner, yet the federal government is undertaking another annual public review of this process. The province continues to act as if this mine is going to go ahead, to the point that the Tsilhqot'in Government has now taken this province, despite the minister's efforts, to court to get them to stop acting as if this is a done deal.

So my question to whatever minister has got responsibility for this is: will the provincial government commit today to a joint panel review this time, with the federal government, and use this year to consult with the public properly, and will they convene a government-to-government table explicitly on the Prosperity project with the Tsilhqot'in National Government?


Hon. R. Coleman: I recognize that the member for Cariboo North is not interested in any economic activity that might improve the economy of Cariboo North or Cariboo South.

Over the last six months I have personally begun to build a relationship with the Tsilhqot'in and a one-on-one relationship with the chiefs and the elders in that particular region of the province. I've met with them on weekends by flying into remote areas of their communities to sit down and go over what they think is the need for the future of their people.

I actually have faith in the Tsilhqot'in people that they will work with us to look for the long-term benefits for their people. It may or may not include a specific mine, but I can tell you what it will include: a respectful relationship between myself and the rest of this government with the Tsilhqot'in Nation as we build for the future of that community.
Adam Schaan
Constituency Assistant
Bob Simpson MLA Cariboo North
#401-410 Kinchant St.
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