US Ally’s Climate Fetish Could Decimate Key Industry For Natives In That Country

Obsessed with the faux climate crisis, the Canadian government in Ottawa seemingly discounts altogether the social and economic benefits of natural gas to First Nations communities of the country’s western region.

Approximately 5% of the world’s gas comes from Canada, mainly from the vast Western Canadian Sedimentary Basin underlying several provinces, including British Columbia, Alberta and Saskatchewan. In 2023, the country ranked fifth in global production behind the U.S., Russia, Iran and China.

Some First Nations communities — a designation that takes in indigenous people living south of the Arctic Circlehave — historically faced challenges in terms of economic development and social well-being. Limited access to education, healthcare and infrastructure has resulted in lower living standards compared to the national averagea — fact that I observed firsthand as a researcher in British Columbia. Unemployment rates are often higher in First Nations communities, and poverty remains a persistent issue.

However, oil and gas development has provided a pathway to prosperity for many of these communities. Liquified natural gas (LNG) projects, for example, require a significant workforce in both construction and operational phases. This translates into direct employment opportunities and much needed income for First Nations people otherwise lacking financial security.

The development of natural gas resources also necessitates infrastructure upgrades in nearby communities. These can include the construction or enhancements of roads, bridges and communication networks. Such improvements benefit the entire community by providing access to markets, educational opportunities and other essential services.

“For far too long, First Nations could only watch as others built generational wealth from the resources of our traditional lands” says Eva Clayton, president of the Nisga’a Lisims government. “But times are changing.”

First Nations participation in natural gas development goes beyond economic benefits. It represents an opportunity for communities to assert their self-determination and participate in shaping their own future. Communities can participate in natural gas projects through equity ownership and various arrangements, including Impact Benefit Agreements. According to the Canada Energy Centre, more than 75 First Nations and Métis communities in Alberta and British Columbia have agreed to ownership stakes in energy projects, including the Coastal GasLink pipeline and major transportation networks for oil sands production.

One such example is the recent Musqueam Partnership agreement by FortisBC, which will share the benefits of the Tilbury LNG facility’s expansion phase to begin in 2025. First Nations beneficiaries will include communities of the Snuneymuxw, T’Sou-ke, Esquimalt, Scia’new, Pacheedaht, Pauquachin, Huu-ay-aht, Kyuquot/Checleseht, Toquaht, Uchucklesaht and Ucluelet. Similarly, the Woodfibre LNG project to begin production in 2027 will directly benefit the Squamish community.

DemandObsessed with the faux climate crisis, the Canadian government in Ottawa seemingly discounts altogether the social and economic benefits of natural gas to First Nations communities for natural gas in North America and across the world should ensure increasing prosperity into the future, unless the federal government’s climate fetish undermines the industry.

Just such a possibility has prompted an alarm to be sounded by the First Nations LNG Alliance—a collective of communities supportive of LNG development in British Columbia.

“First Nations have made their choice about the LNG opportunity, informed by research and consultation,” says Karen Ogen, CEO of the LNG Alliance.

“However, when 88 environmental groups and other organizations recently demanded an end to LNG, no one bothered to talk to us,” she said. “I view that as a ‘re-colonization’ of energy by environmentalists. It’s a type of eco-colonialism that First Nations people like me are all-too familiar with, particularly as we seek to diversify our economies and provide opportunities for young people and future generations.”

Ms. Ogen’s complaint of “eco-colonialism” is not unlike the charge of “climate imperialism” that has been leveled against Western elites by leaders of the Global South who bristle at being pressured to adopt “green” agendas at the expense of actual economic development supported gas and other fossil fuels.

Indeed, the sentiments of Ms. Ogen almost certainly resonate with those who favor common sense over ideology. “Canadian LNG is Indigenous LNG, and that is good for the world and good for all of us here,” she says.

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