Canadian Manufacturing

Northern Gateway: Prentice hired to mediate First Nations deals

Former Conservative cabinet minister will work to broker deals between Enbridge, First Nations groups



VANCOUVER—Former Conservative Indian Affairs minister Jim Prentice has been tapped to try and broker deals between Northern Gateway Pipelines and First Nations opposed to the multi-billion dollar pipeline through British Columbia and Alberta.

Prentice says he believes the project can bring jobs, as well as economic and educational opportunities to First Nations communities, while protecting the environment.

He says Calgary-based Enbridge Inc. already has 26 equity agreements in place with aboriginal communities along the 1,200-kilometre pipeline route.

Prentice was the federal minister who negotiated the residential schools settlement in 2006.

A joint federal review panel recommended approval of the proposed pipeline in December and a final decision by the federal government is pending.

The project to bring Alberta oil to the West Coast for export has faced opposition in B.C. from environmental groups and from many First Nations who have turned to the Federal Court in an attempt to stop it from going ahead.

Prentice is the senior executive vice-president and vice-chairman of financial firm CIBC.

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