Connect with us

Energy

Proposed ban on oil and gas promotion revives paternalistic treatment of Indigenous peoples

Published

6 minute read

From the Macdonald Laurier Institute

By Karen Ogen-Toews

MP Charlie Angus needs to withdraw his offensive attempt to silence discussion and apologize.

First Nations are used to oppression. We lived for over a century with the heavy hand of the Department of Indian Affairs. We coped with bossy and even mean Indian agents. The government of Canada told us where to live, how to learn, tried to destroy our language and culture, and undermined our traditional economies.

We are sick and tired of being told what to do and think. We can do these things for ourselves. But First Nations know that paternalism is far from dead in Canada.

With his private member’s bill banning promotion of the oil and gas industry, Charlie Angus wants to bring back the oppressive hand of the state in a manner consistent with dictatorships and authoritarian states. The NDP MP for Timmins-James Bay and his party want to shut down fossil fuel production, a move that would devastate the Canadian economy and undermine the greatest — and often the only — opportunity that many First Nations have for economic renewal.

Even that is not enough. He wants to shut us up, telling us what to think and threatening us with jail and fines for not adhering to his strange, unrealistic and dangerous views of energy and environmental protection.

I am a proud spokesperson for First Nations engagement with the LNG sector. My First Nation, the Wet’suwet’en, has been on the front lines of the national debate about LNG and pipeline construction.

We have lived for years with the national media misrepresenting and distorting our community’s views on the Coast Gas Link Pipeline, a major resource project that now has significant First Nations ownership. This project has overwhelming support in my First Nation, not an impression one would get from the media coverage of the environmentalists’ interventions in community affairs.

Coastal Gas Link has already brought well-paid jobs, business opportunities and new financial resources to our people and it will do so for decades to come.

We have monitored the project closely and continue to work with the pipeline company to ensure the environment is protected and our interests respected.

At the First Nations LNG Alliance, we spent years exploring the global environmental impact of liquified natural gas. We know that Canadian LNG, produced to the highest international environmental standards, will allow Asian countries to cut back sharply on coal usage, a process with as much ecological benefit as many of the symbolic steps being taken in Canada and other nations.

It is so tragic that the Canadian discussion about energy and climate change has been reduced to trite phrases, simple concepts and now the unleashing of the authoritarian impulses that remain in the country.

I am confident that many First Nations have spent much more time exploring and debating energy production and use than most Canadian communities. Finding the balance between economic development, local environmental and cultural protection and ecological sustainability is hard work. Our communities discuss energy and infrastructure issues all the time, and we are comfortable with the decisions we have made.

A long-serving member of Parliament, Angus now wants to shut me up. He wants to fine me or put me in jail for doing my job and for presenting First Nations perspectives on fossil fuels. He wants to ban public discussion of oil and gas and has clearly bought into the idea that fossil fuels should be eliminated.

We have no idea about the future that Angus and others have in mind. Perhaps he envisages a country with homes heated by good will, transportation restricted to foot and bicycle, food transported by pack dogs, car-free roads paved only with good intentions and government budgets funded by best wishes.

Many odd and unexpected things come out of the House of Commons, but nothing in recent years is as upsetting and disgraceful as Angus’s private member’s bill, C-372.

So, I say this: Mr. Angus, you have gone much too far. Your private member’s bill is the most ridiculous, paternalistic and reprehensible example of oppression directed at First Nations people in decades. I hope you are embarrassed by your ideological over-reach, and I hope you have the decency to withdraw your bill and apologize.

You insulted Canadians and offended the hundreds of Indigenous communities and thousands of First Nations people actively engaged in the oil and gas sector.

We will not be quiet as we chart the future we want, on our terms and in our territories. Far from silencing us, you have made it abundantly clear that Indigenous peoples must speak for ourselves. Most importantly, we will fight to protect ourselves from the old-style paternalism that lurks way too close to the surface in Canadian public affairs.

Karen Ogen-Toews is the CEO of the First Nations LNG Alliance

Todayville is a digital media and technology company. We profile unique stories and events in our community. Register and promote your community event for free.

Follow Author

Energy

New Report Reveals Just How Energy Rich America Really Is

Published on

From the Daily Caller News Foundation

By DAVID BLACKMON

 

A new report by the Institute for Energy Research (IER), a nonprofit dedicated to the study of the impact of government regulation on global energy resources, finds that U.S. inventories of oil and natural gas have experienced stunning growth since 2011.

The same report, the North American Energy Inventory 2024, finds the United States also leading the world in coal resources, with total proven resources that are more than 53% bigger than China’s.

Despite years of record production levels and almost a decade of curtailed investment in the finding and development of new reserves forced by government regulation and discrimination by ESG-focused investment houses, America’s technically recoverable resource in oil grew by 15% from 2011 to 2024. Now standing at 1.66 trillion barrels, the U.S. resource is 5.6 times the proved reserves held by Saudi Arabia.

The story for natural gas is even more amazing: IER finds the technically recoverable resource for gas expanded by 47% in just 13 years, to a total of 4.03 quadrillion cubic feet. At current US consumption rates, that’s enough gas to supply the country’s needs for 130 years.

“The 2024 North American Energy Inventory makes it clear that we have ample reserves of oil, natural gas, and coal that will sustain us for generations,” Tom Pyle, President at IER, said in a release. “Technological advancements in the production process, along with our unique system of private ownership, have propelled the U.S. to global leadership in oil and natural gas production, fostering economic benefits like lower energy prices, job growth, enhanced national security, and an improved environment.”

It is key to understand here that the “technically recoverable” resource measure used in financial reporting is designed solely to create a point-in-time estimate of the amount of oil and gas in place underground that can be produced with current technology. Because technology advances in the oil and gas business every day, just as it does in society at large, this measure almost always is a vast understatement of the amount of resource that will ultimately be produced.

The Permian Basin has provided a great example of this phenomenon. Just over the past decade, the deployment of steadily advancing drilling and hydraulic fracturing technologies has enabled producers in that vast resource play to more than double expected recoveries from each new well drilled. Similar advances have been experienced in the other major shale plays throughout North America. As a result, the U.S. industry has been able to consistently raise record overall production levels of both oil and gas despite an active rig count that has fallen by over 30% since January 2023.

In its report, IER notes this aspect of the industry by pointing out that, while the technically recoverable resource for U.S. natural gas sits at an impressive 4.03 quads, the total gas resource in place underground is currently estimated at an overwhelming 65 quads. If just half of that resource in place eventually becomes recoverable thanks to advancing technology over the coming decades, that would mean the United States will enjoy more than 1,000 years of gas supply at current consumption levels. That is not a typo.

Where coal is concerned, IER finds the US is home to a world-leading 470 billion short tons of the most energy-dense fossil fuel in place. That equates to 912 years of supply at current consumption rates.

No other country on Earth can come close to rivaling the U.S. for this level of wealth in energy mineral resources, and few countries’ governments would dream of squandering them in pursuit of a political agenda driven by climate fearmongering. “And yet, many politicians, government agents, and activists seek to constrain North America’s energy potential,” Pyle says, adding, “We must resist these efforts and commit ourselves to unlocking these resources so that American families can continue to enjoy the real and meaningful benefits our energy production offers.”

With President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump staking out polar opposite positions on this crucial question, America’s energy future is truly on the ballot this November.

David Blackmon is an energy writer and consultant based in Texas. He spent 40 years in the oil and gas business, where he specialized in public policy and communications.

Continue Reading

Energy

LNG leader: Haisla Nation Chief Councillor Crystal Smith on the world’s first Indigenous project

Published on

Haisla Nation Chief Councillor Crystal Smith during a press conference announcing that the Cedar LNG project has been given environmental approval in Vancouver, Tuesday March 14, 2023. CP Images photo

From the Canadian Energy Centre

By Will Gibson

‘Now we are working together to make our own opportunities as owners and developers of the resource’

Growing up in the 1980s, Crystal Smith felt supported and nourished by her community, the Haisla Nation along the shores of Kitimat, British Columbia. But at the same time, she also sensed the outside world had placed some limitations on her future. 

“I enjoyed a wonderful childhood with a solid foundation and lots of love, especially from my grandma Cecilia Smith. She raised me because I lost my mother and stepdad at a young age. But it wasn’t popular to be Indigenous when I grew up,” says Smith.  

“A lot of people would talk about how Indigenous people were not expected to be successful. That kind of talk really affected my confidence about what I could be.” 

Smith, now the Haisla Nation’s elected chief councillor, never wants children in her community to feel those constraints.  

Her community has seized on a major opportunity to build prosperity and resiliency for future generations. The Haisla Nation is a partner in the proposed $3.4 billion Cedar LNG project, the world’s first to have Indigenous ownership. A final go-ahead decision for the project to proceed is expected by the middle of this year 

Smith, who has served as board chair of the First Nations LNG Alliance since 2019, has already seen tangible changes in her community since the project was announced. 

“It’s hard to put into words about the impact on the ground in terms of how this opportunity has affected our members in their lives,” she says.  

“We were just interviewing candidates to serve as board directors on our economic development corporation and one candidate, who is from our community, just amazed me with how far he has come in terms of pursuing his education and how much his career has progressed.” 

The town of Kitimat on British Columbia’s west coast. LNG Canada site in background. Photo courtesy District of Kitimat

Of her own career, Smith says she knew since college that her future was in serving the community. She started working in the Haisla band administration in 2009 and was first elected chief councillor in 2017.  

“I was lucky because my family really pushed me to seek an education after high school, so I took the business program at Coast Mountain College. I also helped that I had mentors in my community, including my father Albert Robinson, who served as an elected Haisla councillor, and Ellis Ross (now an elected MLA in B.C), who was very inspiring in terms of his vision as chief councillor and encouraged me to take the step into elected office,” Smith says.  

“When I came back to the community from school, I knew I would end up working in our band office. I wanted to see more opportunities for people in my community and LNG provides that.” 

She already sees the benefits of the development, as well as the Haisla Nation’s participation in the LNG Canada project, within her own family including for her grandsons.  

“Xavier is six and he goes to the same school I attended as a child. He gets to learn parts of our culture, our teachings, as well as the value and importance of family and community. There’s more of an emphasis on our language and culture in the curriculum, which really makes me happy. Luka, who just turned two, will also attend that school when he’s old enough,” Smith says.  

“I want programs and services to meet our needs, not the level of government’s needs. And we need to make sure that it is sustainable not just for my grandsons or their peers but for seven generations beyond this one.” 

Cedar LNG is coming closer and closer to fruition, with all permits in place and early construction underway 

An eight-kilometre pipeline will be built connecting the recently completed Coastal GasLink pipeline to deliver natural gas to the floating Cedar LNG terminal located along the Douglas Channel near Kitimat.  

The facility will be capable of producing up to three million tonnes of liquefied natural gas every year, which will be transported by carriers through the Douglas Channel to Hecate Straight, using the existing deepwater shipping lane, to reach customers in the Asia-Pacific region.  

Powered entirely by renewable energy from BC Hydro, Cedar LNG will be one of the lowest carbon intensity LNG facilities in the world. Its so-called emissions intensity will be 0.08 per cent CO2 per tonne, compared to the global average of 0.35 per cent per tonne. 

Rendering courtesy Cedar LNG

 Up to 500 people will work on the project during the peak of construction. Approximately 100 people will be working at the facility full-time during operation, which is expected to start in the second half of 2028.  

Smith says the benefits of the project will extend beyond the 2,000 members of the Haisla Nation. 

“This work has really helped us reconnect with other Indigenous communities along pipelines and shipping routes,” she says.  

“When I was growing up, our communities never had the opportunity to come together because we were separated by the territorial boundaries imposed by the Indian Act. And we were fighting each other for financial scraps from Indian Affairs.  

“Now we are working together to make our own opportunities as owners and developers of the resource. That’s very empowering and the most important part. Participating in developing these resources provides independence. It’s the only solution for my nation and other Indigenous communities.” 

Continue Reading

Trending

X