VANCOUVER - With the clock ticking down for his government's decision on Northern Gateway, Natural Resources Minister Greg Rickford says there have been significant strides forward around pipeline and marine traffic safety in talks between Ottawa and First Nations.
But Rickford says all agree there remain issues "around a specific project" or "specific aspects of energy transportation."
With a Feb. 17 deadline for a final decision on the pipeline, Rickford gave no hint of when or what that decision will be.
He's been in B.C. repeatedly in recent weeks and returned today to deliver a speech to a marine traffic and tanker safety summit organized by the Musqueam band in Vancouver.
Leaders of the three most powerful aboriginal organizations in B.C. met with the minister but say the answer remains "no" to Northern Gateway as far as First Nations are concerned.
The chiefs of the Assembly of First Nations in B.C., the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs and the First Nations Summit said if Ottawa tries to proceed with the northern pipeline over aboriginal objections, they will end up in court and jeopardize future developments.