First Nations LNG Alliance Newsletter 13 – Our Mission to Victoria

Wednesday May 9 is a big day for our First Nations LNG Alliance, and a big opportunity to get across our message on LNG, its benefits, and Indigenous support for it.

Our CEO, Karen Ogen-Toews, will lead a mission to Victoria, with our chair, Chief Dan George, Ts’il Kaz Koh First Nation (Burns Lake Band); Chief Crystal Smith, Haisla Nation; and Chief Robert J. Dennis Sr., Huu-ay-aht Nations.

First, in Victoria, the team will meet with members of the NDP government caucus at 9 a.m., in the Legislature’s Hemlock Room.

We know at least a dozen NDP MLAs will be there, including the caucus chair (Leonard Krog, Nanaimo) and five Parliamentary Secretaries (who are, in effect, like assistant ministers.) These include Jennifer Rice (MLA for North Coast), who is familiar with First Nations issues. No ministers have signed up yet, but that doesn’t mean none will attend.

We’ll then host a news conference at 10:30 a.m. at Victoria’s Grand Pacific Hotel, to underline our position on LNG and to question why Green Party leader Andrew Weaver refuses to meet with us.

He’s happy to talk about First Nations and LNG. But meet with First Nations who are supporters of responsible development? Not even an answer to our invitation. . . .

As Chief Dan puts it: “The NDP knows we support LNG for a number of reasons, including for our self-determination and for the opportunity to move beyond merely managing poverty. We simply want the chance to explain this to Dr. Weaver as well.”

Adds Karen: “If we were saying no to LNG, Andrew Weaver and the Greens would listen. All we want is to sit down and have a discussion with Mr. Weaver about what LNG could mean to First Nations communities, many of which have fewer options than people living in urban centres like Victoria. Through jobs, training, revenue, and improved standard of living, we see LNG as a transformative opportunity.”

The team will also remind media (and thus the Greens) that 29 of 32 First Nations along proposed natural-gas pipelines to supply LNG facilities have signed agreements with the BC government in support of LNG.

If you’re in Victoria on May 9, you’re welcome to attend our media event at the Grand Pacific (Saltspring Room, 10:30 a.m.)

Also coming up

  • Wednesday night in Kitimat, #TheNorthMatters presents an LNG discussion: myths, facts, and benefits. Speakers include Haisla Chief Crystal Smith. It’s at the Mount Elizabeth Theatre, starting at 7 p.m.
  • On May 15, we’re at the Canada Gas and LNG Exhibition and Conference, at the downtown Vancouver Convention Centre, East. Chief Robert J. Dennis Sr. speaks at 9:10 a.m. He and Karen Ogen-Toews speak at 3:30 p.m., and Karen leads a wrap-up discussion at 5:00 p.m. Info and agenda
  • A video interview with Ellis Ross, MLA and former Haisla chief councillor, will soon be released. In this short clip on Facebook, he talks about what First Nations want in discussions on LNG and resources. We’ll post the full video on social media when it’s available.

Also in the news

  • LNG Canada confirms the award of a conditional Engineering, Procurement and Construction (EPC) contract for its Kitimat project.
  • David Keane, CEO of the BC LNG Alliance, talks about the state and fate of BC LNG in this new video interview. Among other things, he notes: ‘We have a tremendous amount of support’ from First Nations, and it’s local chiefs who say, ‘There’s environmental benefits, there’s economic opportunities, that First Nations wouldn’t have received had it not been for this industry.’
  • David Keane: the opportunities BC LNG can offer steelworkers and the Canadian steel industry.
  • Ex-premier Christy Clark: ‘LNG is a chance for British Columbia to address some of the chronic problems that First Nations communities live with as a consequence of colonial policies.’
  • First Nations Limited Partnership: Why partnerships with First Nations are integral to grow the Canadian LNG industry
  • CoastalGasLink pipeline has its shovels ready for the Final Investment Decision on # LNG Canada

And on our website