Environmental movement opponents of proposed pipelines have conveniently cast Canada’s 634 First Nations as a homogeneous block of like-minded partners. What’s not said enough is that many in fact support Canada’s oil and gas sector, are producers themselves or are benefiting from it through business partnerships and revenue sharing, and want to see pipelines move forward.
At a groundbreaking conference in Calgary Monday — entitled the Pipeline Gridlock Conference, a Nation-to-Nation Gathering on Strategy and Solutions — members of Canada’s aboriginal business elite met for the first time to improve dialogue on pipelines and look for ways to support approvals.
Stephen Buffalo, president and CEO of the Indian Resource Council, the conference’s organizer, said the meeting is expected to be the first of many and aims to come up with recommendations for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
“I have heard everything from a First Nations tax, to a tariff, to equity partnership,” Buffalo said on the sidelines of the conference.
“I think industry is now willing to be a partner (with First Nations). They want to come with the First Nations together. We are depending on these pipelines for the success of the Canadian economy.”
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