Premier Jason Kenney. (The Canadian Press file photos)

Kenney warns cancelled energy projects stand in the way of Indigenous prosperity

Woodland Cree First Nation in northwest Alberta will receive a $187,688 grant

A $1-billion fund established last year to support Indigenous participation in major projects won’t have any projects to back if the circumstances that led to the cancelling of the Frontier oilsands mining project this week continue, Alberta Premier Jason Kenney warned on Wednesday.

In a speech at the Indigenous Participation in Major Projects conference in Calgary that heavily criticized “green left urban militants,” Kenney insisted his government is the one that has the best interests of First Nations at heart because it supports building major energy projects.

He blamed uncertainty created by environmental activists for the decision by Teck Resources Ltd. last Sunday to withdraw its application for the $20-billion oilsands mine, just days before the federal government was expected to announce a ruling on whether or not it could proceed.

“We can create greater access to capital but if the folks that succeeded in shutting down Teck continue, there won’t be deals to be made,” Kenney said. “There won’t be opportunities or jobs to be created.”

He announced that the Woodland Cree First Nation in northwest Alberta will receive a $187,688 grant — the first approved under the $10-million Indigenous Litigation Fund announced last year — to intervene in support of Alberta’s constitutional challenge of the federal government’s Bill C-69, the Impact Assessment Act.

“I think here in Alberta we can point the way forward because we understand in Alberta that poverty is not the path to reconciliation,” he said.

Blood Tribe Chief Roy Fox, chairman of the Indian Resource Council that sponsored the conference, praised the province for its programs to help Indigenous projects get off the ground and criticized federal bureaucrats who have stood in the way of economic development opportunities in the past.

“Now is the time to assert our political and business leadership capabilities and reduce the poverty that plagues many of those that rely on us,” he said.

Chief Ouray Clark Crowfoot of the Siksika Nation said most Indigenous investment in the oil and gas sector has been in the upstream production sector and said the next logical step is to look at midstream and downstream assets like pipelines and refineries.

In the provincial throne speech on Tuesday, Kenney’s government said it is prepared to invest directly in the resource industry if that’s what it takes to boost Alberta’s wellspring industry.

But he didn’t mention the pledge in his speech at the conference and left without speaking to reporters.

Dan Healing, The Canadian Press

energy sector

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Comments are closed

Just Posted

46 new COVID-19 cases reported Wednesday in Alberta

Province has completed more than 500,000 COVID-19 tests

2020 Maskwacis Pride celebration

Kanawemahwasowin Kamik hosted a pride celebration at the Neyaskweyahk Okimaw Kamik in… Continue reading

47 new COVID-19 cases Tuesday in Alberta, still 620 active cases

3 active COVID-19 cases remain in Red Deer

Groups combine to fix feral dogs, control population

Spay/neuter program designed as preventative measure

Ponoka foursome wins qualifier

A local team has advanced to the next stage in a national… Continue reading

Biden-Sanders task forces unveil joint goals for party unity

Biden-Sanders task forces unveil joint goals for party unity

Oxfam: Pandemic pushing millions to brink of starvation

Oxfam: Pandemic pushing millions to brink of starvation

Houston scraps Texas GOP’s in-person convention due to virus

Houston scraps Texas GOP’s in-person convention due to virus

UN Council rejects Russia bid to limit Syrian aid deliveries

UN Council rejects Russia bid to limit Syrian aid deliveries

Health official: Trump rally ‘likely’ source of virus surge

Health official: Trump rally ‘likely’ source of virus surge

Officer to Floyd: ‘It takes … a lot of oxygen to talk’

Officer to Floyd: ‘It takes … a lot of oxygen to talk’

Bolsonaro becomes ‘poster boy’ for unproven virus treatment

Bolsonaro becomes ‘poster boy’ for unproven virus treatment

Via to temporarily layoff about 1,000 workers as pandemic impacts its business

Via to temporarily layoff about 1,000 workers as pandemic impacts its business

Most Read