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Protesting First Nations, Enbridge, may have a deal

Protesting First Nations, Enbridge, may have a deal
Friday » October 3 » 2008
The Star Phoenix

SASKATOON - An official for Enbridge Pipelines Inc. is confident that First Nations protests against the company will end later today after the sides reached a tentative agreement.

Talks between the two groups began Thursday morning at a Saskatoon hotel and went late into the night. The First Nations of Treaty 4 and 6 territories chiefs who attended the meeting are now taking the tentative agreement back to their elders for final approval, said Enbridge spokesperson Glenn Herchak.

"We've made good progress and are pleased with the dialogue," Herchak said.

The protests and blockades began several days ago. First Nations contended Enbridge was providing their band members with only a few token jobs and contracts, contrary to what the parties had earlier agreed to.

Enbridge had maintained it had employed dozens of aboriginal people and had consulted extensively wiith aboriginal groups.

After the protests began, Enbridge agreed to meet in Saskatoon Thursday. The new offer will see Enbridge fund an unspecified number of training spaces in the skilled trades, and a guaranteed number of skilled jobs for First Nations, Herchak said. It's unclear if the deal includes any revenue sharing, Herchak said. In any event, these deals are often confidential, so exact details may not be released, he said.

Enbridge is constucting several massive pipelines to ship hundreds of thousands of barrels of oil a day from Western Canada to major centres such as Chicago.

© The StarPhoenix 2008

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