NDP MP Matthew Green (Hamilton Centre) had another bozo eruption after claiming conventional oil and gas supporters espouse "white supremacy."
"That is anti-indigenous, that targets indigenous communities, that targets environmental justice activists," said Green in a video on social media. "And it's real for me."
However, exclusive interviews with Indigenous leaders revealed they do not broadly oppose oil and gas projects. Many realize the benefits of working with industry and fostering claims on constructing critical energy infrastructure.
Dale Swampy ran the National Coalition of Chiefs and told the Canadian Energy Centre (CEC) that any belief of broad Indigenous opposition to energy projects is not a reality.
"To say that we are all against development is ludicrous. We're in favour of prosperity," said Swampy.
"People think we're all on welfare and against every piece of development that comes our way. It's frustrating," he said. "We know that the majority of chiefs are in favour of participating in major projects."
According to CEC research, the vast majority of 250 First Nations tribes in B.C. and Alberta either supported or offered no objection to energy projects, compared to opposition from a mere handful.
It also said that industry had positively impacted their employment rates, income, and reliance on government transfers.
Still, Green contends that the oil and gas industry encourages "white supremacist violence" through conspiracy theories and the Wexit movement.
"They want you to forget that someone loaded their truck with weapons and drove across the country to the PM's house," he claimed.
The NDP MP attacked his opposition online as "far-right Conservative troll farms."
However, CEC found that increased partnerships provided First Nations with "mutual benefits" that empower First Nations leaders "to control their destiny" through ownership of Canadian energy projects.
According to the latest project update, Trans Mountain Corp. said Indigenous contributions to building the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion had reached a new high in 2022, with more Indigenous people working on the project and more contracts given to Indigenous-led businesses.
Indigenous-owned companies or joint ventures working in construction, enhancements to marine safety and spill response received about $2.1 billion in contracts last year, up from $1.3 billion in 2021.
Trans Mountain reported $4.8 billion in contracts with Indigenous businesses on the project, signing 6,088 total contracts, of which 2,146 came last year.
Similarly, Coastal GasLink has provided financial sustenance for First Nations communities, with an estimated $825 million in employment and contract opportunities to Indigenous and local companies.
The project allowed 52-year-old resident Phil Tait Jr. to find stable and lucrative employment after a life spent chasing opportunities in the often unpredictable natural resource sector.
"Both the forestry and fishing industries are dying in British Columbia, and Coastal GasLink presents the entire region with an opportunity for prosperity," said Tait Jr., a father of four.
"There's a sense of pride in building one of the largest projects in the world right now. The way the economy is going, projects like Coastal GasLink can help save our communities, government, and province."
The Coastal GasLink pipeline project recently awarded new contracts to six Indigenous businesses to help advance the project to its expected completion this year.
The companies will work on section six of the project, stretching 86 kilometres between Burns Lake and Houston, B.C. The 670-kilometre pipeline is being built in eight sections — two completed in 2022, and two more are near completion — from Dawson Creek, B.C., to the LNG Canada terminal in the Port of Kitimat.
Haisla First Nation Chief Councillor Crystal Smith, who resides near Kitimat, said she has watched her community evolve from an Indigenous enclave with little opportunity to one flourishing through its involvement in the LNG Canada export terminal project and the Coastal GasLink pipeline.
"Growing up today in our community has no boundaries — it's amazing to see that if my girls want to be a carpenter or an electrician, nobody is saying you're not going to get funded for school," said Smith.
"If they want to do that, they're going to be able to do it."
"Nearly ten years ago, we committed to building a project that would benefit local communities and workers while respecting the environment," said Vice President Sonya Kirby. "Together, we are leading the way in how energy projects are developed in Canada, with meaningful Indigenous involvement."
In March 2022, 16 First Nations signed agreements with TC Energy to purchase a 10% equity stake in the pipeline once it is completed. In addition, all 20 elected First Nation governments along the route signed benefit agreements with over $1.5 billion in employment and contracts for their communities.
According to Coastal GasLink, over a third of the project's work so far has been done by Indigenous workers.
Indigenous participation in Canada's oil and gas industry continues to grow, with 39 communities in B.C. and Alberta launching ownership of significant pipelines and two proposed Indigenous-owned LNG projects advanced through the regulatory process.