[HALIFAX, NS] – Newfoundland and Labrador Premier Kathy Dunderdale is ruling out a new agreement with the southern Inuit of Labrador on the Muskrat Falls mega-project.
Speaking at the start of a three-day Council of the Federation meeting Wednesday, Dunderdale told reporters that while talks will continue with the NunatuKavut, the land claim agreements for the massive hydroelectric project have already been signed.
"We've established what the land claim is, what their rights are under that land claim agreement, we have three agreements under the land claim settlement with the Innu," Dunderdale says. "We're not getting into (monetary) discussions at this point in time, but we'll continue to consult as we did at the past."
Energy and natural resources will be one of the main focuses of the Council of the Federation meetings, hosted by Premier Darrell Dexter. Muskrat Falls, the $6.2 billion hydroelectric project announced in 2010, is on the agenda.
In an address to the 13 premiers earlier in the day, Betty Ann Lavallée, the National Chief of the Congress of Aboriginal Peoples, called on Dunderdale to include the NunatuKavut, a self-identified group in Labrador, in negotiations.
"They're not even entertaining discussions period. And that's not inclusion," Lavallée told Metro Halifax. "I'm sure that Premier Dexter would say, as the chair, to Premier Dunderdale that you need to sit down, you need to be inclusive."
In fact, Dexter refused to wade into those waters.
"That's a matter for Newfoundland, for them to deal with," Dexter told reporters.
NunatuKavut's president, Todd Russell, told CBC News in April his group will do "everything in (their) power" to protect their interests. Russell could not be reached for comment on Wednesday.