First Nations actually want resource development — if paid activists would just get out of their way – by Cody Battershill (Financial Post – May 11, 017)

It’s always unsettling to see paid activist groups like Greenpeace pretending to speak for Canada’s indigenous peoples. Recent Canadian history has shown that non-indigenous activist groups should think twice before claiming to speak for indigenous populations. After all, indigenous people in this country are more than able to speak for themselves. And there’s no doubt their views are on the record.

Many First Nations have gone public recently in order to ensure their positions are known, especially as those positions relate to oil and gas development and the construction of pipelines. Here’s some of what the recent record reflects:

-Fully 174 First Nations in Canada — more than 25 per cent of all Canadian First Nations — produce oil and gas now or want to in the future.

-In British Columbia there is overwhelming majority support from all First Nations eligible for the Pacific Trail, Coastal GasLink, Prince Rupert Gas and West Coast Connector projects. In some cases, there is 100-per-cent support.

-Over the last four years, nearly 2,000 consultative meetings have occurred among resource industries in Alberta, First Nations partners and communities.

-Approximately 32,000 indigenous people work in our natural resource industries, making it the largest private sector employer of First Nations and aboriginal people in the country.

Without speaking for any indigenous groups, I can also say that in Alberta, many relationships between companies and indigenous communities stand as models of best practices. In fact, the awards program run by the Canadian Council of Aboriginal Business has recognized several major oil sands companies and indigenous communities for partnership excellence.

For the rest of this article, click here: