Jon Baird, Past President of the Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada (PDAC), gave this speech to the Economic Club of Canada on June 23, 2009
Check against delivery
Thank you for your generous introduction, Bill. In a 2007 speech here at the Economic Club, National Chief Phil Fontaine of the Assembly of First Nations didn’t pull any punches.
He opened his talk by describing the poverty, suffering and frustration that too many of his people live with.
He called for businesses to join the AFN’s Corporate Challenge and work together with First Nations to help address long standing problems and alleviate poverty. The National Chief described the resource industry as a natural partner for First Nations and called on both groups to work together for their mutual benefit.
So it’s fitting that the PDAC is here today to publicly introduce our new corporate social responsibility initiative, e3 Plus: A Framework for Responsible Exploration.
Aboriginal people and Europeans have been working together on the hunt for minerals in Canada since Jacques Cartier arrived here 500 years ago looking for, he said, “gold, rubies and other gems.”
The PDAC marks the industry’s long connection with Aboriginal people with the Skookum Jim Award, which is presented at our convention in Toronto every March. It recognizes Aboriginal achievement in the industry. Skookum Jim was a Tagish man who led the group that discovered gold in the Klondike in 1896 and touched off the Yukon gold rush.
Those of you outside the mining community may not be aware of how closely geoscientists in this country work with First Nations people.