November 28, 2002
(Labrador and Aboriginal Affairs)

The following statement was issued today by Ernest McLean, Minister of Labrador and Aboriginal Affairs . It was also read in the House of Assembly:

I am pleased to rise today to inform this honourable House that the Premier’s Roundtable discussion on the proposed Gull Island Project in Happy Valley-Goose Bay on Wednesday was a resounding success.

More than 30 business, Aboriginal and community leaders from all over Labrador came together to discuss this very important proposed development, and we all walked away with a sense of accomplishment. My colleagues, MHAs Yvonne Jones and Wally Andersen, along with the member from Labrador West, Randy Collins, also participated in this discussion, as did the MP for Labrador, Lawrence O’Brien.

In all my years in public life, I can honestly say that this was one of the most productive meetings I have had the pleasure to attend.

What we have managed to accomplish was a consensus to move forward with discussions to develop the Gull Island Project. People made it very clear that specific benefits must be provided for Labrador. These include:

  • a plan to address the high-cost of electricity on the Labrador coast;
  • the ability to recall electricity from Gull Island for industrial development in Labrador; and
  • a Labrador economic development fund, to be administered by and for the people of Labrador and for the communities in which they live.

More than anyone else in the province, the people of Labrador, both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal, have felt the injustices of the past when it comes to resource development. This injustice has been compounded by false starts, heightened expectations and lack of consultation by past governments.

I have been involved in public life for nearly 30 years and yesterday was a turning point – a point in our history where the people of Labrador said the decision to develop in Labrador must begin in Labrador.

In conclusion, I want to once again thank the Premier for his continued commitment to listening to the concerns of the people of Labrador.

2002 11 28                                        2:10 p.m. 

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