Premier John Horgan and the NDP are slowly but surely literally being left in the dust as more and more First Nations are seeing resource development … including oil pipelines … as the key to leaving poverty behind.
The banging of drums by even a relatively few anti-pipeline protestors always draws a lot of attention from the media … especially cameras … a true reflection of the old adage that the squeaking wheel gets the grease … and the coverage.
But the truth is more and more First Nations bands, members and community supporters have come to realize the potential financial benefits and royalties they can cash in on from not only the Trans Mountain pipeline project … but others as well.
And we’re talking pipelines that move BOTH oil and natural gas.
“The Indian Resource Council, representing more than 130 First Nations with oil and gas resources on their territories, has already consulted with the federal government and led preliminary meetings with First Nations about making a bid for the pipeline,” The Vancouver Sun reported a few weeks ago.
But that’s not all.
Trans Mountain has already signed Benefit Agreements with 43 First Nations … 33 of them in BC … to share the wealth, literally, their pipeline will reap.
And then there’s the Eagle Sprit $8 Billion pipeline project now in the works: 35 aboriginal communities want to build a full “energy corridor” … two natural gas pipelines and two oil pipelines to ship resources to Asia through a northern BC port.
And, they vow, if BC and Canada stymie their plans, they’ll look to an Alaskan port to export through.
Times … and reality … have clearly changed.
The goal of many more First Nations leaders now is generate enough long term revenues from royalties and/or transit fees to finally bring their people off perpetual welfare and handouts.
Not to mention the potential jobs their people could also share in during the construction, monitoring, maintenance and repair phases of the thousands of kilometres of all these pipelines.
Maybe easy for Horgan/NDP and the radical environmentalist extremists, sitting in their urban living rooms to dismiss … but many First Nations leaders have noticed the GOOD JOBS and MONEY that oil and natural gas have generated for other Canadians in BC, Alberta, Alaska, Hibernia, even the Russian offshore, the Mid East and other overseas locations … and they want IN!
The government … and the media … should take a hard look at First Nations still fighting to stop the Trans Mountain pipeline construction or expansion: how FEW they now are after years more of consultations, changes and so many successful Benefit negotiations.
Why so militant?
Because, I submit, some of them are just being selfish: very rich …. owning lots of land close to urban areas, well developed with housing projects, hotels, shopping malls and other very lucrative money-generating uses.
Several Coastal First Nations also have alternative sources of revenues: fishing, logging, mining in their territories.
But for many, many First Nations in northern BC and Alberta … sharing in the benefits derived from resources … yes, including oil exports … hold the ONLY key readily and realistically available to lifting themselves out of poverty.
They know Microsoft, Google, Amazon, Ikea or Disneyland are not about to establish manufacturing, distribution, entertainment centers in their areas.
They NEED revenues and their people need jobs
Except those who prefer to sit on their traditions … and depend on government and the rest of us for welfare.
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