Karen Ogen-Toews is CEO of the First Nations LNG Alliance, a collective of First Nations participating in, and supportive of, responsible LNG development in BC. She is also an elected councillor (and former chief) of the Wet’suwet’en Nation. (File photo)

LNG, Reconciliation, invitation

Did you know that, from 1927 to 1951, First Nations people in Canada were not allowed to hire lawyers? And that other people could actually be jailed for helping them raise legal funds?

We may think we have come some way since the creation of such offensive provisions in the federal Indian Act, but many remain unchanged. We have a way to go yet.

In BC, it used to be that companies could simply walk onto Indigenous territories. They drilled, they built pipelines and plants, and First Nations had no say.

Now First Nations across Canada have a ‘winning streak’ of 286 successful court cases on resources, land-title, and rights. We are moving to a place where you really can’t do business on Indigenous lands without consent.

Courts have held that “consultation and accommodation” are vital elements to be met before government will approve a resource project.

And protection of the environment is a vital “accommodation.” We First Nations people have been stewards of the environment for more than 10,000 years. It is part of our DNA.

First Nations now have begun to move beyond merely “having a say” and having simple Impact Benefit Agreements. We now are becoming regulators, investors and partners in natural-gas and LNG developments.

Take the Squamish Nation: It has a working partnership with Woodfibre LNG. The Squamish developed a unique environmental assessment agreement, and issued its own environmental certificate for the project.

Take the Haisla Nation: It has working partner shops with a long list of non-Indigenous companies. Those include big LNG developers: LNG Canada, Coastal GasLink, Kitimat LNG, and Pacific Trails Pipeline.

The Haisla also propose their own LNG project, Cedar LNG, which today is working through the government approval process.

One group of nations in BC is actively pursuing a share in the Coastal GasLink pipeline that will feed the LNG Canada plant at Kitimat. And three groups of First Nations are seeking to buy an interest of 51% (or more) in the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project.

All of these things contribute to “Economic Reconciliation” which, to me, goes and must go hand in hand with “Reconciliation” — moving Canada forward together in a mutually respectful relationship between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples.

Many of these LNG-related processes are supported and assisted by the First Nations LNG Alliance. Our goal is to assist First Nations working with the LNG industry and to amplify their stories to others.

That’s one reason why we are hosting, with The North Matters organization, a pro-LNG rally in Smithers at noon on Saturday Oct. 12.

You’re invited. Please come and learn why LNG means opportunity, employment, and revenue for First Nations people — and economic benefit for all in BC. And learn why it all contributes to Economic Reconciliation.

See you there!

Karen Ogen-Toews is CEO of the First Nations LNG Alliance, a collective of First Nations participating in, and supportive of, responsible LNG development in BC. She is also an elected councillor (and former chief) of the Wet’suwet’en Nation.

Just Posted

Former Burns Lake mayor gets two years for sexual assaults against minors

Banned from taking work involving young people for five years

Premier honours Smithers hydrologist with Legacy Award

David Wilford has been with the forestry ministry for 45 years

Vaping a real drag on student health, parents hear at Nov. 26 presentation

The event was billed as a chance to inform parents about the risks associated with teen vape use

Resident urges Town to create citizens’ climate council

In a letter to council Tina Portman says other jurisdictions have built similar “citizen assemblies”

Atrill says Town’s offer to help those living in tents at Hwy 16 and King find housing still stands

The Town removed the tents at Nov. 15 after previously removing a number of other tents in October

VIDEO: Rockslide closes Highway 93 in Fairmont Hot Springs

Geotechnical team called in to do an assessment after rocks fell from hoodoos

Illict drug deaths down, but B.C. coroner says thousands still overdose

Chief coroner Life Lapointe says province’s drug supply remains unpredictable

Trustees ask for more help after tearful meeting on B.C. school’s ‘toxic’ stench

Enforcement has ‘no teeth,’ school trustee says, while kids become sick

One of B.C’s last surviving strip clubs baring all again for Christmas charity

25th annual event is Sunday and raises money for the Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows Christmas Hamper Society.

University of Victoria researchers develop industry-changing ‘hyper-glue’

‘Cross-linking’ technology already playing a role in performance body armour

Threats to the Fraser River at ‘new zenith,’ says river conservationist

The ‘Heart of the Fraser’ should be deemed ecologically significant according to ORC statement

Grandparents raising children: Shuswap grandma sees need for support

Peer group formed for those who have unexpectedly taken on the role of parenting

Final appeal rejected for man convicted in deaths of missing Alberta seniors

Lyle and Marie McCann were in their 70s when they left their home in St. Albert in 2010 and vanished

Thieving gun-toting Santa breaks into Princeton restaurant, makes icing sugar sandwich

The suspect allegedly made a sandwich of icing sugar and ham

Most Read