OTTAWA, ON (October 30, 2020): Over the past 20 years, Indigenous communities have significantly expanded their role in Canada’s oil and gas sector. It is one of the most remarkable transitions in recent Canadian history.
In the latest edition of MLI’s Straight Talk, JP Gladu, one of Canada’s leading Indigenous entrepreneurs, discusses the future of Indigenous business development. This publication is based on a transcript of a recent episode of Pod Bless Canada between MLI Munk Senior Fellow Ken Coates and Gladu. You can listen to the full episode here.
In the Q and A, Coates and Gladu discuss what Canadians need to understand about the economic empowerment of Indigenous peoples, and their engagement with the energy industry.
As Gladu notes, “we have strong communities in Alberta, Saskatchewan, BC, and the Territories, and they have significant reliance on natural resource development, whether mining, oil and gas, or forestry.”
“Natural resource companies understand that if they’re going to get their projects built, that they’ve got to build these meaningful relationships with communities.”
Gladu and Coates go on to discuss how current narratives in the media and Canadian society regarding Indigenous opposition to oil and gas development do not accurately reflect real opinion among Indigenous communities. As Gladu notes, Indigenous people are “not going to just throw all caution into the wind and not do responsible development.”
Throughout the conversation, Gladu discusses a wide range of topics including:
- Infrastructure projects like the A2A, the Alberta to Alaska railway and the corridor project
- Gladu’s latest leadership role
- The role of nation-building in Indigenous entrepreneurship
- Addressing current Canadian attitudes towards Indigenous peoples, and more.
Gladu explains that “Canada’s just really waking up to this Indigenous reality – this idea that there are Indigenous people still thriving in this country, that we have rights and are still here. We haven’t gone away.” However, this doesn’t mean that Canadians should be afraid to embrace this reality.
“We need to be empowering the Indigenous population so that we are at par and better with regards to employment and education. That only serves to add to our country.”
To read the full Straight Talk Q&A, click here.
Jean Paul (JP) Gladu is currently the President of A2A Rail and previously served as the President and CEO of the Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business (CCAB) from September 2012 until April 2020. Anishinaabe from Thunder Bay, JP is a member of Bingwi Neyaashi Anishinaabek located on the eastern shores of Lake Nipigon, Ontario.
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