Harper names envoy to deal with First Nations concerns on Gateway

Associated Press

OTTAWA - Prime Minister Stephen Harper has named an envoy to deal with aboriginal opposition to resource development in Alberta and British Columbia.

That's where First Nations opposition to the Northern Gateway pipeline has thrown the future of the project into question.

Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver is in Terrence, British Columbia, today to announce that Doug Eyford will be working with aboriginal communities to address concerns about environmental impact, job creation and the sharing of economic benefits.

Eyford is a Vancouver lawyer with a long history of working for the federal government as a negotiator on First Nations issues.

He will report directly to Harper, producing a preliminary report by the end of June and a final report by the end of November.

It's the first concrete step to come from a crisis meeting between Harper and leading chiefs in the midst of widespread protests in January.

The prime minister promised to empower top officials to deal with First Nations complaints about rights, treaties and the sharing of Canada's natural resource wealth.

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