Northern BC, Indigenous communities excited about LNG
“Communities in the north realize LNG’s value to British Columbia, Canada, and as a new pathway to prosperity for First Nations,” says Solomon Reece, CEO of Four Eagles Sustainable Development. “Every community is different, but many First Nations support LNG. Saying that we are all opposed is frankly not true.”
“What we all want is opportunity,” says Premier Clark, “the opportunity to get a job, earn a living, and take care of the people we love.”
Reece, a member of the Saulteaux and Tsimshian Nations, sees LNG as more than a job creator, but a transformative opportunity for Indigenous communities.
“It’s more than a new source of revenue – it’s a means to determine our own futures, on our own terms,” says Reece. “Look at the positive progress companies like Pacific NorthWest LNG have made with First Nations – we have to develop these resources in a responsible, deep and meaningful way that honors and respects our ancestral territory and traditions.
“Creating opportunities for shared economic growth and alleviating poverty is an achievable goal in reconciliation and I think LNG will be a part of that.”
While global conditions have slowed down initial plans, Both Clark and Reece point to the progress the industry has made in the province.
“LNG proponents have already invested $20 billion. One plant is up and running, another proceeding to construction, and 63 pipeline benefit agreements with First Nations,” says Premier Clark.
“Eastern marketers may think there’s no momentum, but they either don’t know what’s happening on the ground, or have other vested interests,” says Reece.
On Monday, the BC Liberals released their full platform, with a plan to get three LNG plants to construction by 2020, and natural gas back into fueling stations for heavy trucks and fleets.
“We have a plan to get to yes on LNG to create great jobs for our kids, and their kids,” said Premier Clark. “The other guys would scrap it.”
Reece says that would be a lost opportunity – not just for B.C., but the world:
“In my opinion, LNG provides a chance to cut global greenhouse gas emissions,” says Reece. “It’s positive for the north, for our peoples, and the world.”
The provincial election will be held on May 9th, with advance polls open on April 29 and 30, and May 3, 4, 5, and 6.