This is a blog dedicated to a personal interpretation of political news of the day. I attempt to be as knowledgeable as possible before commenting and committing my thoughts to a day's communication.

Friday, May 12, 2017

Sharing the Harvest

"When it comes to pipelines and oil sands development, it's clear from our perspective that we need to do more. We're pro-oil sands. If it weren't for the oil my people would be in poverty right now. [Beware] the environmentalist argument."
"They're the ones who, at the end of the day, were successful in creating poverty in northern Canada, right across the board."

"We want you to understand that it is not a clear-cut issue."
"Our people will be affected if the economy goes down in Alberta, especially the oilsands economy. Our people will be put out of work — we will [be] back on that social list."

Chief Jim Boucher, Fort McKay, Alberta

"Equity [in the proposed Northern Gateway project] was offered to aboriginal communities, and with the change in government [from Conservatives to Liberals] that was all taken away...."
"We are very disappointed."
Elmer Ghostkeeper, Buffalo Lake Metis Settlement

Assembly of First Nations Chief Perry Bellegarde poses for a portrait in Ottawa.  Bellegarde told CBC News chiefs who support pipeline development have been stigmatised by some protesters.
Assembly of First Nations Chief Perry Bellegarde poses for a portrait in Ottawa. Bellegarde told CBC News chiefs who support pipeline development have been stigmatised by some protesters. (Adrian Wyld/Canadian Press)

"There's a stigma now attached to supporting economic development. There's a stigma that somehow you're not a First Nations person, if you support a pipeline." 
"I think we have to slow down and stop and say 'We balance things between the environment and the economy.'"
"The point is that some of those chiefs are quiet and yet I know they support [extraction/pipelines]. It's about who's the loudest sometimes."
"We're divided just like Canadians are divided, and we're divided just like the Liberal MPs are divided, because it's a very divisive debate."
AFN Chief Perry Bellegarde
Trans Mountain

When Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced months ago that Canada would proceed with pipelines to move Canadian oil to market to ensure the Canadian economy makes the most of its natural resources extraction, at a pace that is reasonable, while imposing a new carbon tax to appear as though a balance is being retained reflecting Canada's commitment to Climate Change in reducing greenhouse gas emissions, he also announced the cancellation of the Northern Gateway project, even while promoting the expansion of the Trans Mountain pipeline.

There were many First Nations groups unhappy with the Gateway cancellation because of the impact it had on their communities. Over 25 percent of Canadian First Nations produce oil and gas currently or have plans to do so in the future. That is representative of 174 First Nations in the country. A majority support from all First Nations involved in the Pacific Trail, Coastal GasLink, Prince Rupert Gas and West Coast Connector projects in British Columbia exists, contrary to what environmental groups like Greenpeace contend.

The oil industry has done its part to bring First Nations on board, with close to two thousand consultations over the last few years taking place with First Nations communities and resource industries. The pipelines, after all, go through First Nations territory. And, as First Nations, they have a stake in natural resource extraction. Canada's natural resource industries in fact represent the largest private sector employer of First Nations and aboriginal people in Canada, with about 32,000 indigenous people working in those industries. First Nations have, in short, a clear vested interest in the promotion of, and reliance on the success of oil extraction.

The Canadian Council of Aboriginal Business chose to recognize several major oil sands companies alongside indigenous communities, for excellence in partnerships. The oil industry supply chain includes hundreds of First Nations-owned companies alongside thousands of non-Indigenous companies from across Canada. Over fifty First Nations support the construction of the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion. National Chief Perry Bellegarde (Assembly of First Nations) states that 500 of the 630 First Nations view pipelines positively, along with petroleum development.

First Nations-owned companies have conducted over $10-billion-worth of business with oil sands businesses. Support jobs relating to over 3,400 companies across the country contribute to First Nations' employment opportunities. Not quite the dismal picture of overall Indigenous rejection of oilsands development, after all....

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