LNG and the Haisla: Much more than jobs
The coronavirus pandemic has thrown more than a few crimps into work and hiring along the Coastal GasLink pipeline route, and at the LNG Canada site at Kitimat.
But CGL expects soon to have some 3,000 people on the job — and employment is still the Number One benefit that the Haisla Nation has received from the LNG projects.
“The biggest thing is jobs,” says Crystal Smith, elected chief councillor.
But the Haisla have also launched and maintained a variety of thriving education and social programs: language, mental health services, housing, and more.
UNDRIP law speeds up in Ottawa
Cree Chief Wilton Littlechild was one of the Indigenous leaders who pressed the federal government to push Bill C-15, Canada’s UNDRIP law, through Parliament quickly.
He expressed cautious optimism on C-15, but “I have to withhold my emotion and my horse races inside me until I hear the words ‘royal assent.’”
Another leader was Perry Bellegarde, national chief of the Assembly of First Nations, who told MPs: “It is important for First Nations, and I believe it is important for all Canadians, to seize this opportunity now. We need to hear the words ‘royal assent’ before the end of June.”
The outcome: The government put a time-limit on debate in the House so that the bill could move speedily to a committee for further scrutiny.
First Nations need access to capital
Mark Podlasly of the First Nations Major Projects Coalition has been making the news as a champion for the rightful role of First Nations in the “mainstream economy.”
To begin with, he says, they need access to capital to invest in projects in their territories, and to build true equity.
“Ottawa needs right now to move on access to capital for major projects. There needs to be some mechanisms that allow Indigenous people access to capital at a reasonable rate, to make investments in the economy. . . .
“First Nations can’t participate in the mainstream economy without the ability and the tools that private enterprise and private citizens have. Those investments are important because they will generate own-source revenue for communities, for nations, to make their own self-determination decisions.”