Thought Piece

It is hard to retain a modicum of respect for any American environmental group who tries to influence the environmental debate of other countries, especially Canada. Vancouver researcher and writer Vivian Krause has prepared a report, published January, 2018, that traces large amounts of NGO money flowing into the “demarketing” campaign against fossil fuels, pipelines, Tar Sands, and LNG.

Arguably, the environmental activists are perpetrating the same anti-intellectual  narrative, as they invoke their specious sense of moral rectitude and intellectual superiority. 30 Tribes of the First Nations stand against the recent arguments being used in Alberta.

New B.C. report discredits green groups’ narrative that First Nations are opposed to fossil fuel projects

Indigenous communities are upset that many LNG projects haven’t been built, according to a joint report co-authored the B.C. government and the First Nations LNG Alliance

A new report has found that First Nations in British Columbia support the establishment of a liquefied natural gas sector, further discrediting the green movement’s narrative that Canada’s Indigenous communities are opposed to fossil fuel projects.

According to a joint report co-authored the B.C. government and the First Nations LNG Alliance, the nascent sector enjoys such high Indigenous support many are in fact upset many projects haven’t been built.

“There have been many positive impacts to First Nations communities related to LNG development, prior to any construction,” according to the report, made public Monday. “Much capacity has been created due to these projects. However, expectations have also been raised. Now, First Nations leaders are trying to deal with their constituents’ frustration because of the delays or cancellation of these projects.”

The findings are based on a series of engagement sessions held last fall with Indigenous communities in the province to gather their perspectives and suggestions.

If LNG projects are done in ways that respect First Nations’ interests, they believe “they will be the most safe, environmentally rigorous, and human-rights compliant projects in the world,” according to the 16-page report.

The B.C. government should partner with First Nations and Indigenous organizations to improve communication, information sharing, and ongoing engagement on the LNG industry, the report suggests.

It also proposes that the B.C. government do more to improve investor confidence in the province. B.C. was recently ranked as the worst province in Canada for oil and gas investment, according to the Fraser Institute’s 2017 Global Petroleum Survey.

Karen Ogen-Toews, president of the First Nations LNG Alliance, which has representatives of six First Nations on its board, said many Indigenous communities view LNG as an opportunity to improve poor socio-economic conditions because it offers jobs and training. During the sessions, Indigenous participants raised concerns about poverty and the need for employment.

Last week the province’s minority NDP government introduced new conditions and tax incentives for LNG projects to attract investment, moderating its previous dislike of the industry and despite needing the support of the anti-LNG Green Party to stay in power.

The new conditions will first benefit the $40-billion LNG Canada project, the first in line to make a final investment decision after many were put on hold due to low energy prices, weak demand in Asia, regulatory delays and activism. Few LNG projects are now still actively pursuing development, the report says.

“What we really need is for communication and dialogue to continue and to be strengthened,” Ogen-Toews said. “Too many people have been told that First Nations oppose LNG development. That’s not true. Others believe that LNG development is automatically a negative. That’s not true either.”

That narrative has been fueled by environmental organizations that regard LNG as an impediment to Canada’s greenhouse gas reduction goals and as propagators of fossil fuel dependency.

The Pembina Institute and the David Suzuki Foundation, for example, panned the province’s new LNG framework last week for encouraging fracking and carbon pollution, and “tying the province’s future to the shrinking global market for fossil fuels.”

First Nations are increasingly distancing themselves from the green lobby. While it celebrates and raises funds off the failure of projects in Canada, they are left behind with few prospects to build their economies and meanwhile competing jurisdictions supply rising global LNG demand.