Pipeline Gridlock Conference

The Indian Resource Council (IRC) held a successful Pipeline Gridlock conference on October 3 & 4, 2016 in Calgary, Alberta. IRC President/CEO Stephen Bualo noted “[This conference] is the IRC’s effort to bring indigenous people into the dialogue surrounding pipelines and other infrastructure development….Our objective was to test the Prime Minister’s promise to engage our people in these discussions and ensure their voices [are] heard”. The conference was attended by over 350 participants including Indigenous leaders, Elders, Federal, Provincial and Municipal governments, First Nation businesses, Federal and Provincial Regulators and Industry executives. The IRC report titled “First Nations Engagement in the Energy Sector in Western Canada” prepared by Dr. Ken Coates, Canada Research Chair in Regional Innovation, was presented at the conference.

Three common themes emerged from the well-attended conference:

1) There must be balance between environmental concerns and economic development.

2) Indigenous people must be engaged fully and consulted meaningfully and respectfully in decisions that impact them particularly in resource development; there must also be a seat for Indigenous people at the decision making table.

3) There must be significant equity and/or financial incentives in projects.

IRC designed the conference to establish a dialogue around energy infrastructure projects from an Indigenous perspective as opposed to meetings organized by governments for consultation or conference organizers seeking profit.

From the common themes of the Pipeline Gridlock conference, the IRC will continue its advocacy work to ensure the meaningful inclusion of its members in projects currently underway and to prepare members for participation in upcoming projects. Indigenous communities are no longer willing to be passive when it comes to developments in and around their communities.

The IRC is launching its course titled Pipeline 101 in January 2017 in partnership with Enform (The safety association for the upstream oil and gas industry). Pipeline 101 will have guest presenters from provincial and federal regulators and industry to provide information on their roles in the lifecycle of energy infrastructure projects.

Please visit the IRC website at www.irccanada.ca for a summary (including formal presentations) of the Pipeline Gridlock conference and to find out more information about courses and events being offered in your area.

IRC would like to wish you a successful 2017!