Canada seeks to improve ties with aboriginals on resource deals

OTTAWA Tue May 27, 2014 4:05pm EDT

OTTAWA May 27 (Reuters) - Stung by criticism that aboriginal groups have not been consulted enough on projects like the Northern Gateway pipeline, the Canadian government announced two initiatives on Tuesday to improve coordination with natives.

Natural Resources Minister Greg Rickford announced the creation of Major Projects Management Office West to serve as a single point for the federal government to coordinate activities on energy infrastructure with British Columbia First Nations and with industry in British Columbia and Alberta.

He also announced a tripartite forum to provide an opportunity for the federal government, the British Columbia provincial government and B.C. aboriginal leaders to share information and align efforts on development of energy infrastructure and natural resources on the Pacific Coast.

Enbridge Inc wants to build the 525,000-barrel-per-day Northern Gateway pipeline from Alberta to the B.C. coast at a cost of C$7.9 billion ($7.2 billion). The government has said it was looking to decide by mid-June on whether to approve the pipeline.

($1=$1.09 Canadian) (Reporting by Randall Palmer; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)

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