First Nation, Metis pro oil rally in Alberta stresses energy industry is vital for them - APTN NewsAPTN News

First Nation, Metis pro oil rally in Alberta stresses energy industry is vital for them

Chris Stewart
APTN News

150 people rallied in Lac La Biche, Alta., Sunday in support of the oil and gas industry.

The rally was organized by the Region One Aboriginal Business Association (ROABA).

Shawn McDonald, president of the ROABA, said he wants Canada to know that Indigenous people in Alberta support the oil and gas industry and the pipelines that carry it.

“As you can see in Lac la Biche here… we are built on oil and gas,” he said. “We have farming, but oil and gas is our main source of revenue for Alberta. And whether the rest of Canadians like it or not, we are the income generator for Canada.”

What the industry does for Canada was a popular theme Sunday.

“It doesn’t matter if you’re a business owner or a worker or an aboriginal community. We’re all in this together,” Lee Thom, a councillor from Kikino Metis Settlement, told a crowd gathered in a recreation centre in Lac La Biche, Alta.

Rene Houle from Whitefish Lake First Nation said the energy industry generates spinoff businesses that employ hundreds of people in his community _ with the money that’s earned spent at car dealerships, movie theatres and other businesses in neighbouring towns.

The bottom line, he said, is the oil and gas sector helps keep people from becoming burdens on the social-welfare and justice systems.

“We would not have a proper living. We would not have a meaningful way of life, a healthy way of life,” Houle said. “Alone, our First Nation would not be able to generate that.”

Sunday’s rally was organized by the Region One Aboriginal Business Association, which represents northern Alberta Indigenous businesses, and was supported by Rally 4 Resources and Canada Action, which have organized other recent pro-oil rallies and convoys in Western Canada.

Organizers stressed the event was non-partisan and not affiliated with “yellow vest” events, where participants wear yellow, high-visibility vests similar to recent protests in France, but which often have an anti-United Nations message.

Attendees were instead asked to wear blue fire-retardant coveralls and hard hats.

The event began with performances by Indigenous drummers, singers and dancers, as well as Metis jiggers from Amisk Community School on Beaver Lake Cree Nation.

Bill C-69, the federal legislation which critics argue will make it more difficult for new pipelines and energy projects to get approval, was mentioned during the rally.

While organizers and speakers said they weren’t completely opposed to the bill, they argued it needs to be amended to better balance economic development and the need to protect the environment, traditional Indigenous lands and harvesting rights.

“The way it is right now, in its current state, is devastating for oil and gas,” Shawn McDonald, president of the Region One Aboriginal Business Association, told the rally.

Lac La Biche Mayor Omer Moghrabi, meanwhile, said Canadians need to resist critics from south of the border who believe the country isn’t doing enough to protect the environment while developing its oil and gas sector.

“We have 150 bodies of water in our town,” Moghrabi told participants. “We are environmental stewards and so are our producers.”

cstewart@aptn.ca

@aptnchris

-with files from the Canadian Press

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10 Responses to “First Nation, Metis pro oil rally in Alberta stresses energy industry is vital for them”

  1. p**********@gmail.com'
    Peter Coutu February 19, 2019 at 9:11 pm #

    I personally believe that who ever is sending supportfrom south of the border could very easily be bought and paid for people to block the pipelines being built for ecological reasons ? Like most are saying they need jobs not welfare our government In Ottawa is doing a poor job of solving that problem ! But remember another time when socialized medicine for Canada was also thwarted from South of the border with millions of dollars being sent into Canada what a bad thi g it was but did we listen then, no? We do not need thwarters to g us what to do. Ps Tommy Douglas was prevented from going to the states after that so it is probably all about socialism again ?

  2. h**********@gmail.com'
    Danny Hangartner February 19, 2019 at 9:11 pm #

    Persons go on about jobs over environment. Alberta oilfield companies are proud of all the hard work that they do to save the environment. They go on about get out of the UN because they don’t like the way Alberta oilfield companies treat the environment. Alberta oilfield companies didn’t expect their Canadian representative to lead the charge against them. They’d rather have someone there to talk about the extremely high standards that are followed, and how Alberta oilfield companies are so far ahead of any other country’s environmental policies, it’d make their heads spin.

  3. Peterwcoutu@gmail.com'
    Peter Coutu February 18, 2019 at 9:22 pm #

    I personally believe that who ever is sending supportfrom south of the border could very easily be bought and paid for people to block the pipelines being built for ecological reasons ? Like most are saying they need jobs not welfare our government In Ottawa is doing a poor job of solving that problem ! But remember another time when socialized medicine for Canada was also thwarted from South of the border with millions of dollars being sent into Canada what a bad thi g it was but did we listen then, no? We do not need thwarters to g us what to do. Ps Tommy Douglas was prevented from going to the states after that so it is probably all about socialism again ?

  4. hangartnerd@gmail.com'
    Danny Hangartner February 18, 2019 at 12:33 am #

    Persons go on about jobs over environment. Alberta oilfield companies are proud of all the hard work that they do to save the environment. They go on about get out of the UN because they don’t like the way Alberta oilfield companies treat the environment. Alberta oilfield companies didn’t expect their Canadian representative to lead the charge against them. They’d rather have someone there to talk about the extremely high standards that are followed, and how Alberta oilfield companies are so far ahead of any other country’s environmental policies, it’d make their heads spin.

  5. Davidericmurray@gmail.com'
    David Murray February 12, 2019 at 6:57 am #

    Maybe the Senators will visit the region for Bill C-69?

  6. d**************@gmail.com'
    David Murray February 19, 2019 at 9:04 pm #

    Maybe the Senators will visit the region for Bill C-69?

  7. lawsonrobyn@hotmail.com'
    Robyn Lawson February 12, 2019 at 1:53 am #

    The people who depend on the oil and gas industry need to be moving on… Alberta needs to catch up to the rest of the world in recognizing climate change is a real issue and that industry is a dud, a sunset. Time to invest in alternatives, or go the same route as the dinosaurs.

    Also, how weird to be using dancers from Beaver Cree, when they’re in a 10 year battle with the tar sands

  8. lawsonrobyn@hotmail.com'
    Robyn Lawson February 12, 2019 at 1:41 am #

    Seriously, 2 guys, one a ‘self-identified Metis’, does not an Indigenous led rally make. The ridiculous lengths the oil and gas corps go, from grossly misrepresenting the support from the Indigenous to the acts of violence committed on Indigenous territories regardless of the oft-touted ‘rule of law’ is beyond reprehensible. These efforts reek of desperation and avarice for an industry that didn’t give a damn about First Nations for decades and doesn’t give a damn about terrorizing the other nations that refuse them consent and stand up to them.

    Desperate, last minute public relations bids to cover over the inroads the land and water protectors are making in the case for alternatives now and in the real stories of incursion being understood more and more by the public.

  9. l**********@hotmail.com'
    Robyn Lawson February 19, 2019 at 9:04 pm #

    The people who depend on the oil and gas industry need to be moving on… Alberta needs to catch up to the rest of the world in recognizing climate change is a real issue and that industry is a dud, a sunset. Time to invest in alternatives, or go the same route as the dinosaurs.

    Also, how weird to be using dancers from Beaver Cree, when they’re in a 10 year battle with the tar sands

  10. l**********@hotmail.com'
    Robyn Lawson February 19, 2019 at 9:04 pm #

    Seriously, 2 guys, one a ‘self-identified Metis’, does not an Indigenous led rally make. The ridiculous lengths the oil and gas corps go, from grossly misrepresenting the support from the Indigenous to the acts of violence committed on Indigenous territories regardless of the oft-touted ‘rule of law’ is beyond reprehensible. These efforts reek of desperation and avarice for an industry that didn’t give a damn about First Nations for decades and doesn’t give a damn about terrorizing the other nations that refuse them consent and stand up to them.

    Desperate, last minute public relations bids to cover over the inroads the land and water protectors are making in the case for alternatives now and in the real stories of incursion being understood more and more by the public.