On Wednesday Nov. 3, our next Outreach session will discuss Women in the Trades. Are women getting the opportunity to enter and build careers in LNG, natural gas, pipelines and other areas? And the help they need? What’s the picture? What’s working? What changes are needed?
From noon to 1:15pm PDT, join us and our panelists: Hope Regimbald, LNG Canada; Paula Smith, Your Place training for women; Bonnie George, Coastal GasLink; and Mona Anatole of the Prince George Nechako Aboriginal Employment and Training Association (PGNAETA).
Any questions? Do email outreach@FNLNGAlliance.com
On Sept. 22, our fourth Outreach session introduced, and discussed, our Guide to Benefit Agreements. It’s a tool designed to help First Nations sort through the ins and outs and 16 critical issues around Benefit Agreements, and build understanding of them.
Speakers were Dr. Priya Bala-Miller of Palmyra Partners Consulting Inc., Dr. Kevin Hanna of the Centre for Environmental Assessment Research at UBC, and Rick Krehbiel, policy and special assignments expert for the Alliance.
Kevin Hanna opened by noting that research on benefit agreements until now has largely been focused on mining and/or in the North.
“It’s fair to say this is kind of a new area, it’s a little bit untilled for us in this country. So we’re beginning to see how they work, how they perform, how they can best be structured so that they support and provide benefits for Indigenous communities and Indigenous peoples when they engage and work with resource development projects; or any kind of project, for that matter, that can occur on their territories in their unceded land.”
Priya Bala-Miller: “Benefit agreements are really about relationships. They’re tools to help us navigate all these different relationships. And It’s my sincere hope that the tool we have co-created with the Alliance, and collaborated on with members of the Alliance, (will) forge relationships and more sustainable relationships in the energy sector as we go forward.
“We also worked very closely with the Alliance to try to think about some way-finding principles that would offer us a lens through which to look at this body of information. And that was very, very important because that also allowed us to really lead with a First Nations frame of reference. . . .
“When we looked at the body of research we were able to identify 16 critical issues that we think are areas (for) First Nations who are involved in these processes already, or are looking to enter into them. . . . I don’t want to call them stumbling blocks, but they can be. Or they can be really areas that can be leveraged to generate very, very positive impacts.”
Rick Krehbiel (who is also a lawyer): ‘Most people will understand that the law of consultation has evolved since the 1990s — the requirement of governments to involve First Nations, and consult First Nations, in decisions that they make that might affect rights and title, Aboriginal rights, treaty rights etc. . . .
“The two more recent things that have come out of that (include) the Ermineskin court decision out of Alberta, where governments are required to consult on the economic impacts of First Nations that are entrenched in impact agreements like this. . . . What Ermineskin tells us is that First Nations with economic interests in development projects need to be consulted about governments’ decisions that interfere with those economic opportunities. So that is huge to my mind.”
Alliance CEO Karen Ogen-Toews wrapped up the session with the point that the need for reconciliation and economic reconciliation is so real today.
“We can’t afford to wait five to 10 years. . . . We want to see action today. Reconciliation, economic reconciliation, equity ownership, that’s the language we want to be hearing, because we’re dealing with communities that live in poverty or have capacity issues; you name it.
“It’s up to us, each one of us, to find ways to address these issues within our communities and find a way forward for Indigenous people.
“And by doing this kind of research, it’s also helping us.”
Earlier: What can local governments do to help progress on the path to economic reconciliation? What are they doing? What more could they do? What could (and should) senior governments do to accelerate progress?
These things were discussed in our July 28 online outreach session with Dale Bumstead, mayor of Dawson Creek BC, and Charlie Rensby, councillor for Burns Lake BC.
- Read our full report on this session: Reconciliation is in the air.
Thanks to all, visitors and panelists, who took part in our second online Outreach session on June 17:
(Updated here 28 Oct. 2021)