Companies proposing major natural resource or energy projects now know when and how to consult with Mi’kmaq after a one-day seminar in Halifax today, Nov. 22. The seminar, hosted by the Office of Aboriginal Affairs, will help proponents of wind, solar, highway, mining, and oil and gas projects in the province. “It’s a simple matter of recognition and respect for our neighbours,” said Premier Darrell Dexter, who is also the Minister of Aboriginal Affairs. “We want to help ensure that companies undertaking significant projects in Nova Scotia take the right steps to consult with the Mi’kmaq on issues that may affect their rights. “The province has an excellent relationship with the aboriginal community and working with them to ensure their rights are respected is an important part of that.” Nova Scotia is recognized for its leadership in Aboriginal consultation because of the process developed with the Mi’kmaq and the federal government. The revised Proponents’ Guide released today adds greater clarity to the consultation process and provides a foundation for those who want to invest in Nova Scotia. The main presenters were Sandra Gogal, a partner at Miller Thompson in Toronto, and Ming Song, principal at Songbird Law Corporation in Vancouver. Ms. Gogal has extensive experience in dealing with aboriginal and environmental issues in the natural resource and energy sectors. Over the past 10 years, she has worked with many aboriginal communities, including First Nations, Inuit and Métis in Ontario, Quebec and Atlantic Canada. Ms. Gogal has done aboriginal consultation for a number of large industry clients in the mining, hydro, forestry and oil and gas sectors. Ms. Song has represented First Nations on various aspects of self-government, reserve land, corporate and commercial transactions, aboriginal rights, and title and treaty rights Since 1992. Other speakers were Dan Christmas, senior advisor and councillor for Membertou First Nation; Alvaro Loyola, director of consultation for Nova Scotia Office of Aboriginal Affairs; and Abla Hannah with Natural Resources Canada. The speakers discussed the role of proponents and governments, key court decisions and their affect on current situations, trends in consultation, and working with Canada’s First Nations.