Environment: Background Content

Indigenous Opposition to Bill C-69

April 2, 2019


Alberta Assembly of Treaty Chiefs

Feathers of Hope – The Alberta Assembly of Treaty Chiefs – has rescinded a resolution passed late last year that had supported the federal government’s controversial Bill C-69, which would dramatically alter the way source projects are assessed and approved. Alberta Nations are pushing back over expected negative impacts of Bill C-69 on their economic development and self-determination, particularly as a result of weakened investment in the energy sector, according to a statement Monday. “We want a strong resource industry so that our Nations can continue to expand our investments in, and benefits from, development – as employees, as partners and as owners.

The prosperity of our nations is closely tied to the prosperity of the energy industry, especially in Alberta,” said Stephen Buffalo, President of the Indian Resource Council.

October 3, 2018

Indian Resource Council

The Indian Resource Council (IRC), an Indigenous advocacy organization which represents the oil and gas and associated economic interests of over 130 Indigenous communities in Canada, is urging Senators to oppose Bill C-69. Bill C-69, which would drastically alter the review process for projects in the energy sector, would harm one of Canada’s greatest economic success stories; namely, the emergence of Indigenous communities and companies as major and successful participants in the energy sector. “Indian Resource Council is urging all Senators to take a stand and oppose Bill C-69,” said IRC President and CEO, and member of the Samson Cree Nation, Stephen Buffalo. “Bill C-69 would wreak havoc on Indigenous economic development in many parts of Canada.”

March 1, 2019

Macdonald-Laurier Institute’s Aboriginal Canada and the Natural Resources Economy Project

First Nations and Métis communities — especially the communities located in proximity to the oilsands region in Alberta — have much invested in oil and gas. They contract with the oil companies to provide services, they enjoy procurement arrangements with them, and they provide young Indigenous workers to energy projects.

The Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP) has assembled some recent data (as recently as 2017) on Indigenous involvement in the oil and gas sector. CAPP said that almost 12,000 workers in the oil and gas sector in Canada identified as Indigenous. They also found that $55 million in payments was made by various partners to Indigenous governments from conventional oil and natural gas activity. In procurement alone, oilsands companies spent $3.3 billion on procurement deals from Indigenous-owned companies. In terms of clear social impact, oilsands producers put $48.6 million into Indigenous community investments. These funds allow First Nations and Métis communities to set their own priorities and control their own destiny. Finally, CAPP estimates that six per cent of apprentices working in Canada are Indigenous people working in industry-related trades.

For Indigenous communities and businesses, Bill C-69 is not just an interesting academic or policy question, it would impact their immediate livelihoods.

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