News

Indigenous pro-oil rally in Alberta stresses energy industry is vital for them

Indigenous pro-oil rally in Alberta stresses energy industry is vital for them
Top Stories
LAC LA BICHE, Alta. -- Indigenous supporters of Canada s oil and gas industry turned out here in force Sunday to make the point that the sector plays a vital role in their lives.

"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.
Read more on CTVnews
News Topics :
RELATED STORIES :
Canada
“We need things to change and we want to see our economy come back. In this area, we are so dependent on oil and gas. It’s a big part of...
Top Stories
The growing wildfires consuming Fort McMurray have forced officials to vastly widen a mandatory evacuation order to neighbouring communities and move the citys emergency operations centre for the second time...
Politics
CALGARY If low oil prices stick around much longer, the operations manager at Lac La Biche Transport Ltd. says he may have to lay off workers. Kevin Warawa says...
Top Stories
CALGARY If low oil prices stick around much longer, the operations manager at Lac La Biche Transport Ltd. says he may have to lay off workers. Kevin Warawa says...
Business
As opposing protests began outside of the Calgary headquarters of TransCanada Corp. over the contentious Coastal GasLink pipeline, Stephen Buffalo found himself on the front lines of two powerful forces....