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Federal Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver.
Federal Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver.
(Dave Chan For The Globe and Mail)

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Gateway will stall until Ottawa addresses treaty rights

Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver told a reporter on Friday that he believed the Northern Gateway pipeline, pending regulatory approval, could still be built “if the conclusion is this project can be safe for Canadians, safe for the environment.”

Now, after 25 days into a hunger strike by Chief Theresa Spence of Attawapiskat, Prime Minister Stephen Harper finally agreed to schedule a meeting with first nations leaders to discuss treaty rights. Mr. Oliver should be part of that discussion; though first nations treaty rights and Northern Gateway may appear to be separate issues, the Harper government’s insistence on treating them as unrelated seems increasingly tone deaf.