OTTAWA, Nov. 3, 2016 /CNW/ - The Government of Canada has made it a priority to engage with Canadians, including Indigenous peoples, and hear their views on proposed major projects. This engagement is vital in order to restore the public's trust in Government decision-making processes. Canada's Minister of Natural Resources, the Honourable Jim Carr, today released the report from the Ministerial Panel on the proposed Trans Mountain Expansion (TMX) Project and the accompanying report summarizing more than 35,000 responses to the TMX online questionnaire. This fulfils a promise made in January that the views of the public and affected communities would be sought and considered, under the five interim principles introduced for projects undergoing review while longer-term regulatory reforms are underway. The Ministerial Panel, composed of Ms. Kim Baird, Mr. Tony Penikett and Dr. Annette Trimbee, was tasked with engaging local communities and Indigenous peoples to identify whether there were any additional views not heard during the National Energy Board's (NEB) review process that could be relevant to the Government of Canada's final decision on the project. The panel held 44 public meetings in 11 Alberta and British Columbia communities along the proposed pipeline and marine shipping route. More than 650 Canadians spoke or made presentations to the panel at these public meetings, which were attended by 2,400 people. In addition, the panel received more than 20,000 email submissions and 35,200 responses to an online questionnaire. The Government will make its final decision on the TMX project by December 19, 2016. In making this decision, the Government will consider the panel's report, responses to the online questionnaire, the NEB's recommendation report, Environment and Climate Change Canada's assessment of upstream greenhouse gas emissions and extensive Crown consultations that were undertaken with Indigenous peoples. Quotes "I would like to thank the panel members for their tireless work on this project, both in conducting the meetings and in compiling the report. I also thank the thousands of Canadians who made their opinions known during this process. This information will be an important element for the Government in making our decision, taking into consideration the balance between growing the middle class and our economy, while protecting the environment."