Sacrificing Indigenous communities’ prosperity so that global emissions can be counted in Russian, Saudi or Chinese columns instead of Canada’s, even though it has no impact on climate change, is deeply unfair, writes Chris Sankey in the National Post. Below is an excerpt from the article, which can be read in full here.
By Chris Sankey, October 25, 2021
Everyone’s attention is turning to the energy crisis in Europe and Asia and the increasing cost of petroleum products, with record-high natural gas prices and oil at $80 a barrel and rising. As a Tsimshian from northwest British Columbia, when I look at what’s happening in the markets, I wonder how much better off our communities would be if all the cancelled pipeline projects had gone ahead and B.C. was exporting LNG at these record prices.
Over the past decade, whenever a pipeline or LNG project has been proposed for our territories, our communities were told that oil was dead. Many of those who participated in protests and offered misleading narratives about the energy sector are now in government.
Their message was that there was no demand for oil, so we would be buying stranded assets, and that LNG was too dirty to develop, or that it would not be profitable at all. As a result, what our communities got was zero — zero dollars, zero jobs and zero businesses — from projects that could have lifted many of them out of poverty.There were also northern Alberta communities that missed out when Teck’s Frontier project was cancelled, and southern Alberta and Saskatchewan First Nations that lost opportunities when Keystone XL was rejected.
Now, instead of enriching our communities and supplying Canadian energy to the world, Europe is increasing its reliance on Russian gas and the United States is calling on OPEC to produce more oil. Dictators are making tens of billions of dollars from the additional oil and gas production western countries are now crying for, while our communities continue to struggle. Is that the “just transition” activists were talking about?