Thanks to all, visitors and panellists, who took part in our second online Outreach session on June 17.
Our next Diversity and Inclusion session will be on Wednesday July 21. It will be open to all and free.
We’ll soon post more information, including how to register. And we’ll post reminders on our social-media streams as the July 21 date approaches.
Do join us that day from noon to 1:15 p.m. PDT, for an online discussion and exploration of what’s working for First Nations in BC around LNG and associated pipeline development. And what could be improved. . . .
Topics could include jobs and training affecting your community: What are the biggest obstacles and challenges?
What about Indigenous women in trades? And resource development and the environment? First Nations procurement, and Indigenous companies getting and doing business? What are your experiences with industry proponents?
Any questions? Do email outreach@FNLNGAlliance.com
Have you filled in our survey on the impact of LNG and pipeline development on First Nations along the Coastal GasLink/LNG Canada route? Please do, at http://ow.ly/5D2350EQOLZ
The deadline for taking the survey is June 30 — and you could win a $100 gift card for filling it in.
Our first outreach session on May 17 heard that while LNG development in BC has brought benefits to First Nations and Indigenous people, there have been challenges, too.
Some condensed remarks from that discussion:
- Clifford White, hereditary chief of the Gitxaala Nation, and a director of the Alliance:
“Unfortunately, there’s still a lot of fly-in (employment for non-Indigenous people). There are a lot of our people who are still left on the periphery. I think we’ve got a long way to go yet on the contractors. This was supposed to be First Nations first; that was the agreement that we had with BC: First Nations first at the employment table and the training.
“The realities are that you see a lot of people who are imported into the process. The planes in Terrace certainly haven’t slowed down. There’s a lot of imported workers coming in, doing the jobs that our people could be doing. There are some major challenges here.”
- Jasmine Thomas, elected councillor, Saik’uz Nation:
“In terms of procurement there are areas that could be improved upon. There’s not really enough pressure for primes (prime contractors) to hire contractors who have partnerships with First Nations communities. And even with partners that are working on the project, they’re having a lot of trouble getting paid in a timely fashion. When you start looking at some of those smaller contractors, who are trying to build really good relations with First Nations communities, they are at risk of potential bankruptcy due to holdbacks or delays.
“And individuals that have the training, they’re not getting hired because they don’t have the required hours (of experience) that are requested, so they’re not getting the work. So heavy equipment operators are being put on as general labourers. That’s posing a deterrent to utilizing our workers in a meaningful way.”
- Karen Ogen-Toews, our Alliance CEO, but speaking as an elected councillor of the Wet’suwet’en Nation:
“Like Jasmine and Clifford, we’ve been really scouring the ground for procurement opportunities. Right now, forestry isn’t going as well as we’d want it to, and the same with mining. So right now, what’s on the front burner is LNG.
“I’ve heard the same concern, Jasmine, right from the get-go, that a lot of these companies weren’t getting paid right away, which can lead to bankruptcy or having to owe money, or get lines of credit. I think the company (Coastal GasLink) is aware of them.
“And there’s been an influx of Alberta contractors coming in. They’re much more familiar with pipelines than we are in BC, so it seems that their contractors are getting some of the bids along our pipeline route.
“The task forces that (Coastal GasLink) has set up along the pipeline route were able to meet with the primes and their subcontractors and deal with the issues and concerns directly, and they’re more than helpful. It’s about working with the primes and the subcontractors and getting your foot in the door.”
Meet the facilitators for the outreach sessions:
- Judy Desjarlais is a Beaver/Cree (Dunne’za/Cree) descendant from northeastern BC, and owns a First Nation firm, Top Notch Oilfield Contracting. She is a director of the Fort St. John Chamber of Commerce, and a member of the advisory committee for the Indigenous Resource Network.
- Lynn Parker is Gitxsan/Tsimshian and is a former elected councillor of the Kitselas First Nation. She is a health and wellness sub-committee member of the Northern First Nations Alliance.
(Updated here 18 June 2021)