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

Just Posted

Sylvan Lake baseball season postponed until the end of April

Sylvan Lake Minor Ball made the announcement as a result of Baseball Alberta’s decision

Alberta’s new sport fishing regulations include more harvesting opportunities

The 2020 regulations feature more opportunities for recreational fishing and online licences

Sylvan Lake photographer captures family life from the front steps

Deb McNeil is taking porch portraits to share the uniqueness of families during COVID-19

A message from the publisher

Consider a voluntary subscription to Sylvan Lake News

Unemployed during COVID-19? Here’s how to navigate federal programs

Here’s who qualifies for federal assistance

With US border work on track, rural towns fear an outbreak

Keystone XL oil pipeline raises COVID-19 concerns

World COVID-19 update: Six million U.S. jobless claims; Russia sends medical aid to U.S.

Comprehensive update with COVID-19 news from around the world

Police in Saskatchewan charge man with killing his parents and son

Police in Saskatchewan charge man with killing his parents and son

PM, Scheer among MPs to donate pay hike to charities during COVID-19 crisis

PM, Scheer among MPs to donate pay hike to charities during COVID-19 crisis

Feds likely didn’t have enough protective gear in emergency stockpile: Hajdu

Feds likely didn’t have enough protective gear in emergency stockpile: Hajdu

Most Read