‘Pro-Oil ‘First Nations’ On The Offensive’

“‘First Nations’ that rely on oil and gas extraction for the economic well-being of their communities say it is time that their voices were heard as loud and as often as those that stand in opposition to resource development.

“One aboriginal energy advocacy group is organizing a conference, to take place in the fall, that would bring together ‘indigenous’ leaders, industry executives and government representatives to discuss ways to collaborate on future projects, especially pipelines. 

“After the ‘Assembly of ‘First Nations’ of Quebec and Labrador’ announced its opposition last week to ‘TransCanada’s proposed ‘Energy East’ pipeline –
saying there is a

“very real risk of a toxic tar sands spill that could not be cleaned up”

– the organizers of the conference are speaking out about what they call pipeline gridlock.

“The ‘First Nations’ communities that depend on the energy sector for employment and wealth have been hit hard by the economic downturn, the drop in oil prices, and wildfires that have swept across the northern Prairies, said Stephen Buffalo, president of the ‘Indian Resource Council’, the group that is organizing the October meeting.

“So when I hear environmentalists saying ‘no’ to pipelines, the other side of me is saying communities here are suffering,” Mr. Buffalo said.

Indian Resource Council

“Funds from oil and gas extraction provide direct jobs to ‘First Nations’ — many of which have started their own energy companies — and indirect jobs for ‘indigenous’ people in field services, he said.

“Pipelines are a safe way to move the product,” Mr. Buffalo said.

“My call-out to the chiefs who say no is, ‘Tell us the reason why not’, because I don’t understand. And you can tell my friend Chief Wallace Fox of the Onion Lake ‘First Nation why we can’t have a pipeline going out east, because it’s product that we need to move. He is building his community with that source of revenue.”

“Ken Coates, director of the ‘International Centre for Northern Governance and Development’ {working as part of the Aboriginal Industry} at the University of Saskatchewan, has written a major research paper, to be released this week, about the importance of the energy sector to ‘First Nations’.
{Warning: This is an advocacy blueprint for the race based division of revenues from Canada’s resources, with an unearned mandatory ‘piece of the action’ for only one race: http://www.irccanada.ca/sites/default/files/First%20Nations%20Engagement%20in%20the%20Energy%20Sector%20in%20Western%20Canada.pdf }

“The ‘First Nations’ reaction to pipelines and resource development is much the same as that of non-aboriginal people, in that some are in favour and some are opposed, he said.

“But there is actually a really good and strong and consistent group out there of ‘First Nations’ that have participated in the resource economy in really interesting and creative ways, and are producing very successful companies and are making real contributions,” he said.

“…There are 250 aboriginal development corporations across the country, many of which have hundreds of millions of dollars in investable assets and employ hundreds of people.”

“…There is absolutely nothing wrong with ‘indigenous’ people opposing pipelines because that is their ‘right’ {?}, Dr. Coates said. But there is another side to the story, and it is “fascinating”, he said, referring to the number of ‘First Nations’ that have become energy entrepreneurs and are now hurting – along with the rest of Canada’s energy industry.

“Blaine Favel, an adviser to the resource industry who will chair this fall’s ‘Indian Resource Council’ conference, said ‘indigenous’ energy companies and the thousands of people they employ are struggling.

“The environmental movement {including many chiefs and aboriginal activists} seems to have carried the day and they don’t want people to have a good, hard look at the fact that, today, as we speak, ‘First Nation’s people own pipelines, they own all aspects of the value chain of energy development,” he said.

“To counter that, the federal and Alberta governments need to play a role in supporting ‘indigenous’ involvement in the energy sector, Mr. Favel said. They could provide loan guarantees for ‘aboriginal interests’ in pipeline development, or they could create something like the ‘Inter-American Development Bank’ – which provides economic development funds for Latin America and the Caribbean – to use some of the profits from the pipeline companies to stimulate ‘First Nations’ economic development.

“The conference will provide an opportunity to toss around those types of ideas.

“There is another voice here,” Mr. Favel said, “and that is the voice of working ‘First Nations’ who want to go to work and provide for their children and make their communities healthy and stronger.”

–‘Pro-oil ‘First Nations’ go on the offensive, organize conference’,
GLORIA GALLOWAY, Toronto Globe and Mail, June 19, 2016



COMMENT: “Good. It is time for all Canadians who support responsible, sustainable resource development to speak up. The other side has had the floor for too long.”
“What say you, Assembly of ‘First Nations’ leaders? Do you represent all aboriginal people or just a select few?”
“Would be nice if media, like the red CBC, went to oil patches and interviewed the thousand of natives who depend on oil. Yes, the biggest employer of natives is oil.
Good paying jobs that allow a person to support their family with dignity and pride.”
“A refreshing change of news on the native front. Hopefully they can convince some of the hypocrites to think sensibly.”
“Some of this is just being honest… its cold, we use energy. In the far north at 40 below, electric vehicles are a sad joke in terms of range. ‘FN’ communities in places like the Pas and NWT deal with brutal winters, about which Leonardo DiCaprio is clueless.”
“Great story, I would like to see more on this theme in the media. Hard working ‘First Nation’ people deserve to have their voices heard and their stories told.”
“I suggest we cut off all gas shipments as well as electricity generated by non-renewable energy sources to reserves that oppose pipelines. They can revert to their environmentally friendly traditional lifestyles. Also, their share of funds from the federal government should be reduced by the % of government revenue that comes non-renewable energy resources.

“This will give them the chance to contemplate how much they benefit from non-renewable energy and whether they really want to be separated from that part of the economy.”
“If Vancouver hates oil and gas so much why do they buy so much of it?”
“And we, as Canada, are supposed to work on a “nation to nation agenda”? Which nation would Canada be dealing with, do tell?”
Main IMAGE: Indian Oil and Gas Canada
See also:
‘Aboriginal Support For Gas Pipelines’ (B.C./WP) {April 16, 2016}:

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