Newsletter: Crystal Smith re-elected Alliance chair


Crystal Smith re-elected Alliance Chair

Crystal Smith, elected chief councillor of the Haisla Nation, was returned by acclamation as chair of the Alliance at its January board meeting.

She first became chair of the Alliance in November 2019.

Among other things, she is a key leader of her nation’s plans for its majority-owned LNG plant and export terminal, Cedar LNG, on Haisla territory near Kitimat BC.

Also installed as Alliance officers:

  • Clifford White (Nees Ma’Outa) vice-chaer of the Alliance (a new position). He is a hereditary leader and a former elected chief councillor of the Gitxaala Nation.
  • Eva Clayton (Noxs Wil Luu-g̱aamiks Hloks) as secretary of the Alliance. Elected president of the Nisga’a Nation since 2016, she is leading her nation’s major Ksi Lisims LNG project,
  • John Jack as Alliance treasurer. He’s an elected councillor of the Huu-ay-aht First Nations on Vancouver Island, and has been chair of the Alberni-Clayoquot Regional District since 2016.

The board had an introductory chat with Deborah Bowman, assistant deputy minister in charge of the BC government’s LNG Canada Implementation Secretariat. (A civil servant for almost 20 years, she succeeds Michelle Carr, now commissioner and CEO of the BC Oil and Gas Commission.)

Bowman was asked about the future of LNG in BC under climate concerns.

“The benefits of finding a greener transition energy such as LNG, natural gas into LNG, is really that piece of the puzzle here, getting countries and companies, and the world, off of the more traditional fossil fuels.

“So there is still very much a commitment to this (LNG Canada) project. . . . I don’t see that changing. . . . It’s more around how the companies are going to get to net-zero by 2050. They’ll have an obligation under Clean BC . . . to make sure that they’re producing the cleanest output possible, and that they’re operating with those values. And so they need to meet those targets. . . .

“In order to have public acceptance, and government acceptance, they have to live up to what the people are saying, and the majority of British Columbians are in support of the project as long as it meets their climate goals. And so they (the companies) are working hard to do that. . . .

“Their goal is to do this in the cleanest way possible, and the technology that they’re putting in is already some of the cleanest in the world.”

Outreach session: Entrepreneurial Support

How do you get started as an Indigenous entrepreneur? How do you fund and start your own business? Our online Outreach session on 26 January looked into this, with some First Nations experts:

  • Mark Dokisof the National Aboriginal Capital Corporations Association
  • Sammy Zoerb, business development manager, Indigenous Young Entrepreneurs at Futurpreneur Canada
  • Jennifer Brennanof the All Nations Trust Company

Among points covered:

  • What’s your business plan? (You do have one, right?)
  • How’s your credit rating? (It does not have to be perfect!)
  • What about “the twinkle in your eye” that signals commitment and determination?
  • Should you put some of your own money into your business?

And among the tips:

“One of the first steps is, obviously, to approach . . . one of these business-development sources that exist all over the country. They have the knowledge to help you achieve your entrepreneurial dream.”

Read more (and watch the video of the session):

Coming up February 23

Our next Outreach session is set for Wednesday 23 February, from 11:45 am – 1pm PST. We’ll look at how First Nations keep eyes on environmental impacts of LNG and pipeline development.

We’ll post more info on our social-media channels when we have confirmed our lineup of speakers. You can register here:

Our Diversity and Inclusion Outreach team is conducting a survey among members of the 20 First Nations along the Coastal GasLink pipeline route.

If you’re a member of one of those nations, you could win an iPad by filling in our questionnaire here: The deadline is March 10.

The Alliance is also beginning work on a series of videos about the benefits of LNG projects and associated pipeline development. Have you got a story to tell about how these have benefited you, or your community, or your company? Can we share it in a little video? Please let us know, by email to


  • TC Energy gives executive vice-president Bevin Wirzba an additional role as new president of Coastal GasLink:
  • Tracy Robinson leaving Coastal GasLink and TC Energy to be president and CEO of CN Railway:
  • Federal funding available for those wishing to participate in the environmental assessment of the Haisla Nation’s Cedar LNG project. Apply by Feb. 25:
  • The latest update from Cedar LNG:
  • Resource industries should be ready to work with Indigenous nations as regulators in their own territories.—Jody Wilson-Raybould:
  • BC promises movement on reconciliation, including principles of Indigenous sovereignty over natural-resource development:


  • Registration is open for the two-day hybrid (in-person and online) conference of the First Nations Major Projects Coalition, April 25-26. You can register here (free for Indigenous communities):
  • The Indigenous Partnerships Success Showcase hosted by the Resource Works Society is set for May 26-27, in-person and online. Learn more:

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First Nations LNG Alliance Newsletter