Nathan Cullen releases Renewal Northwest 2013 report

OTTAWA – Today, Nathan Cullen released a report entitled Renewal Northwest 2013: Balancing the Economy with Our Local Values, which pulls together the results of Cullen’s Renewal Northwest 2013 tour. From February to May, Cullen toured northern British Columbia from Prince Rupert all the way to Prince George, and spoke with civic and business leaders, students, retirees, First Nations and all walks of citizens to discuss building a sustainable economy in the Northwest.

As resource development picks up in the region, Renewal Northwest conversations focused on considering the positives and negatives that these industries can bring to the region. Participants asked: what kinds of conditions should a company have to meet to earn their right to operate? How can they be made more sustainable, and how can the benefits of these industries be shared more mutually with the people of the region?

“The people of the Northwest are open to resource development, and more and more, companies are recognizing the importance of establishing themselves as responsible operations with sustainable projects,” said Cullen. “In terms of resource development, I think more than anything, these discussions have shown that this is key towards earning the social license to operate.”

The report highlights the desires of different communities around northern and northwestern British Columbia to see development that respects the environment and First Nations, while also providing long-term benefits to the communities where development takes place. The region has seen its fair share of booms and busts, and a great emphasis in the discussions was placed on developing projects so they have a lasting and positive legacy for communities – whether that involves environmentally sustainable practices, or investments in community infrastructure and skills training.

“The contrasts between what we determined through these discussions about sustainable, responsible companies and projects, and the Northern Gateway project, for example, are astonishing,” said Cullen. “Enbridge has set a global example in its dealings with the citizens of British Columbia of what not to do. When we look at the most basic criteria for respecting the environment, local communities and First Nations, and the regional economy, Enbridge draws a failing grade in each column.”

Cullen is scheduled to present final oral arguments to the Joint Review Panel in Terrace sometime late next week.

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Contact:  Hugh Pouliot (613) 889-4055 nathan.cullen.a1@parl.gc.ca