Evaluation: Incomes First Nations’ belief on useful resource initiatives

Analysis: Earning First Nations' trust on resource projects

It is a dialog sequence by Donna Kennedy-Glans, a author and former Alberta cupboard minister, that includes newsmakers and intriguing personalities. This week: oilpatch sage John Younger.

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The Ring of Hearth area in northern Ontario is one lynchpin in America’s inexperienced power moonshot. Unearthing mineral deposits greater than 500 kilometres north of Thunder Bay is crucial to Ontario’s future as an electrical car manufacturing hub. However what occurs if some native First Nations need nothing to do with mining crucial minerals?

In western Canada, we’ve struggled at instances to develop sources, construct power infrastructure, and export oil and liquified pure gasoline (LNG) — with the assist of Indigenous communities. There’s no straight-forward path. When a profitable undertaking emerges, it’s worthwhile taking a more in-depth look.

In Kitimat, B.C., the proposed Cedar LNG export terminal — touted as the most important First Nations-owned infrastructure undertaking within the nation — suits inside B.C.’s local weather targets and guarantees good jobs. The floating LNG facility is to be positioned on Haisla-owned land, with Pembina Pipeline Company as their associate.

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To search out out extra about how this got here to go, I attain out to somebody whose fingerprints are throughout this undertaking, John Younger. We agree to fulfill, at OEB, a breakfast spot in Calgary’s burgeoning College District. I arrive early, to safe a quiet sales space in a bustling restaurant; John’s already there. After pleasantries, we order meals and get right down to the work of mapping out the territory of the Cedar LNG deal.

Whereas not First Nations himself, John grew up on reserves throughout Alberta — locations like Eden Valley, Morley, Tsuu T’ina, and Rocky Mountain Home. When John was 8 or 9 years previous, his father left farming, exterior Bowden, Alta., to change into a tradesman, a painter. “They’d Indian brokers administering the reserves, within the 60s. My dad would take these contracts (to color bridges, colleges, buildings) and we’d transfer out onto a reserve. The entire household.”

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Wherever he lived, John attended the college on reserve, and was immersed in native language and tradition. “My training and introduction to Aboriginal peoples was actually constructive,” John explains. Later, as a cop — first with the Calgary police, then the RCMP — John was arguably a pure to handle Aboriginal policing.

Twenty-plus years in the past, John and I have been deployed as advisers by Petro-Canada (after which Suncor) to take care of points like corruption, human rights and the right way to interact with locals. Having acquired intensive property abroad, the corporate needed to make sure it wasn’t making use of twin requirements in its operations. I’m curious to understand how Pembina reached an settlement with the Haisla Nation.

John chuckles; a lot of individuals are asking that query.

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The Ivey Faculty of Enterprise on the College of Western Ontario is growing a case examine to unpack “how Pembina went from saying we’re not within the TransMountain pipeline and a yr later, the (Pembina) CEO is saying, we’re going to associate with the Western Indigenous Pipeline Group.” That’s a giant query and it nonetheless stays to be seen if the pipeline buy-back from the federal authorities will happen. Prices to construct the TransMountain pipeline growth have exploded for the reason that federal authorities took over the undertaking; a real accounting is required, John warns.

At this time, I’m within the pathway to the Cedar LNG undertaking. It’s been an extended journey, crammed with particulars that appear irrelevant however finally matter. The one interruption in John’s storytelling is the OEB wait workers, delivering our hard-cooked eggs, as ordered, and quietly refilling our espresso cups. It’s a narrative of West Coast geography and relationships; locations and other people.

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There’s Kitimat, the place Encana (now Ovintiv) proposes a diluent import terminal. That notion will get moth-balled and the undertaking web site is bought by a Shell-led consortium fascinated by constructing an LNG export terminal. John is retained, sequentially, by Encana then Shell, to assist construct constructive relations with the native Haisla Nation. And there’s Prince Rupert, the place Pembina builds a propane terminal and John is employed to coach and make use of locals.

The concept of partnering with the Haisla Nation, to construct the Cedar LNG export facility on Haisla-owned land close to Kitimat, appears like a logical subsequent step.

The Cedar LNG offshore floating platform is proposed to be positioned on the Douglas Channel, eight kilometres southwest of Kitimat city centre and never removed from the positioning of LNG Canada’s onshore LNG export facility, now beneath development. And, very importantly, the Haisla Nation have had the chance to watch first-hand Pembina’s strategy to investing in initiatives in partnership with First Nations on the West Coast.

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John’s not in Pembina’s make use of. Now, he’s connecting gamers to advance a photo voltaic panel farm on Haisla land; the electrical energy generated can be utilized to energy the Cedar LNG web site and houses within the Haisla communities.

Love him or detest him, U.S. President Joe Biden appears set on rebuilding America’s crucial infrastructure, all within the guise of a clear power moonshot. Canada will get to play within the sandbox, together with assembling electrical autos in southern Ontario, due to our friend-shoring association. However inexperienced power requires a special sort of harvesting of the land — together with the mining of crucial minerals — that some First Nations in northern Ontario don’t embrace.

Advancing any power undertaking, inexperienced or in any other case, is never straight-forward. There’s one thing to be gleaned from initiatives that work.

Donna Kennedy-Glans is lively within the power enterprise and a multi-generational household farm. Her newest e-book is Instructing the Dinosaur to Dance: Transferring Past Enterprise as Traditional (2022).

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