First Nations a hurdle to $650B in oil and gas development for Western Canada, report says

Canadian Press, The Canadian Press
3 Comments| November 28, 2013


(The Canadian Press) VANCOUVER – There are more than 600 major resource projects worth $650 billion planned in Western Canada over the next decade but relations with First Nations may be a major hurdle for those developments, says a new report by the Fraser Institute.

Every one of those projects will affect at least one First Nations Community, said the report released Thursday by the right-leaning think tank based in Vancouver.

``There is not a single oil or gas project under proposal in Western Canada that does not affect at least one First Nations community, and the willingness of these communities to participate in energy development can be the factor that determines the success of a project,'' said the report.

In British Columbia, there are currently seven major oil and gas projects proposed, affecting an estimated 56 of the 198 First Nations in the province, it said.

In Alberta, five proposed oil projects touch 44% of aboriginal communities and though only two projects are in the works in Saskatchewan, those two projects impact 23% of all First Nations in the province, the report said.

The aboriginal community is among the fastest growing in the country, expanding 45% from 1996 to 2006. The non-native population during that same time frame grew by 8.0%.

But these communities, largely located in remote and rural areas, have a staggering unemployment rate of approximately 23%, compared to 7.1% for the nation as a whole, said the report written by the institute's Ravina Bains and Kenneth P. Green.

``If you look at the actual geographic location of where these communities are located, in many cases there aren't any other economic development opportunities around them,'' Bains said.

It's a potential labour force with an investment in the project's success, she said – if they are willing partners, that is.

``Yes there are obstacles in place, but we're at a unique point right now in terms of the demographics of these communities, in terms of the young population, that we can really tap into and make sure that we cultivate,'' Bains said.

Those obstacles include education. Fewer than half of First Nations' youth successfully complete high school, compared to approximately 80% of non-native youth.

Willingness is another.

``Despite the potential for economic prosperity, there are many First Nations' communities that are opposed to resource development,'' the report said.

Among the seven projects proposed in B.C. are Enbridge Inc.'s (TSX: T.ENB, Stock Forum) Northern Gateway and Kinder Morgan's Trans Mountain oil pipelines – two projects facing potential failure because of First Nations opposition.

Bains said there is hope for reconciling First Nations and the resource industry.

She cites the Haisla Nation's participation in the Douglas Channel Energy Partnership and the Kitimat liquefied natural gas project with Chevron and Apache. The band is also involved in the BC LNG proposal and the Shell Kitimat LNG Terminal, but opposed to the Northern Gateway pipeline.

The report makes five recommendations for fixing the relationship between business and First Nations, including better communication and transparency from the outset, and developing an understanding of the communities involved.

Bains said government also has a role to play in clarifying the duty to consult, and addressing the education gap.


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4SeasVentures
HBK, Highbank Resources, has agreements signed with the FN groups in the prince rupert area. The project, awaiting work permits anytime now, is a 1.5 billion dollar aggregate asset north of Rupert. First contract to supply already signed with west fraser cement. FN will be trained at an onsite school for heavy machinery and employeed at the pit. FN also doing the barging from site to Rupert. FN received millions of warrants as part of the deal. Its a win/win for all. Its an example of how FN ...
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November 28, 2013
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armchairanalyst
They are under the influence.... of Lawyers who love the Billable Hours generated and allowed by the Bureaucrats and Politicians we Canadians do not hold to task with accountability metrics. Klein turned Alberta. Martin turned Canada to Surplus. Let us see if our Economist trained leader <read Harper> will put a stop to the rampant viral infection effected/affecting Canadians by Lawyers, using Natives as one type of tool/s. I agree, and it is a theory longstanding of mine, humans are i...
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Duffman
True, unemployment is rampant on First Nation reserves but the real problem is that First Nations are so accustomed to having everything given to them very few are willing to work for anything. Its easy to say we want to protect Mother Earth and our way of life while stonewalling any resource development (which would result in high paying jobs)when in reality that way of life has become living off government handouts.
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November 28, 2013
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