Thank you, Madam Chair. I have to say that from the past few sessions we've held on Bill C-48, one of the biggest concerns that has been brought to my attention is the impact on economic development for individual areas. I'm going to try to concentrate on those areas.
As evidence was presented to the committee, witnesses from Aboriginal Equity Partners and the Eagle Spirit Energy Chiefs Council expressed great concern about the high rates of poverty in many first nations communities. In their view, the proposed moratorium would deprive their communities of the economic benefit offered by the oil transportation projects, and undermine their efforts to become more prosperous and less dependent on federal government, or any level of government support for that matter.
My question to the folks here today presenting is, one, what are the main barriers to economic development in your community? What are you facing presently? Two, what role, if any, do you consider economic diversification to play in securing the future economic well-being of British Columbia's first nations communities?