Valcourt responds to Nunatsiaq News editorial
"Our government will continue working with its partners to ensure Canada's North remains an attractive place to live, work and invest."
Thank you for the opportunity to clarify recent misinformation printed in your paper concerning seismic testing in the East Baffin Region.
Our Government is committed to encouraging economic development in a manner that balances Northern, and National interests. This means protecting the environment to provide greater prosperity for all Canadians for generations to come. Canada’s Northern Strategy represents the Government’s commitment to this priority.
Due to the recent misinformation printed in your paper, I believe it is important to remind Northerners of the facts in order to ensure they have the correct information.
The process for any organization to receive approval to conduct seismic testing in Canada’s North is rigorous and lengthy.
As a first step, Multi-Klient Invest (MKI) was required to demonstrate that Canadians would be provided with a full and fair opportunity to participate economically from their offshore activities by submitting a Benefits Plan to the Department of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development (AANDC.) The submission and approval of their Benefits Plan is necessary in order for any organization to proceed to the next step.
On June 10, 2014, AANDC approved the Benefits Plan, allowing MKI to proceed to the next step.
The next steps involve submitting an application to the National Energy Board (NEB), an independent federal agency entrusted with regulating energy exploration and development. The NEB is subject to the Canadian Oil and Gas Operations Act which makes it illegal to conduct any such exploration without consideration for the safety and protection of persons, the environment, and navigable waters.
Further, the National Energy Board carried out a scientific and technical review of the application, which included consideration of community and public concerns. On the basis of this review process, the project was approved by the NEB subject to 15 conditions.
Finally, the NEB decision is related to seismic testing only, it does not allow for offshore drilling or any other type of resource extraction.
Our Government will continue working with its partners to ensure Canada’s North remains an attractive place to live, work and invest.
Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada
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