Friday, September 19, 2014
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Pipeline protest harms First Nations

Toronto Sun editorial

First Nations activists must stop harming the future prosperity of average First Nations people.

It's like the environmental extremists within their community just don't want economic success. For anyone. It simply boggles the mind.

It was reported on Tuesday that dozens of First Nations leaders met in Winnipeg recently to plan how they can halt TransCanada's Energy East project.

Of all the pipeline projects currently on the slate in Canada, this is in some sense the most vital. Why? Because it's about keeping it in the family. The oil will flow from the west to the east. This isn't a pipeline to the United States, or a route to China.

It becomes clear just how reckless these leaders are being when you realize how Aboriginal groups themselves could benefit from this project.

As the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers reports, in 2010 there were over 1,700 Aboriginal employees in permanent positions in the oilsands. On top of that, Aboriginal businesses earned $8 billion in revenue from it over the past 14 years.

Shouldn't the goal be to replicate or exceed these numbers with Energy East? Shouldn't First Nations leaders be working to find a way for everyone to succeed together, rather than burn the whole house down?

The latest Fraser Institute report titled "Energy Abundance and Economic Growth" does the legwork to prove that "real per capita income is constrained by policies that restrict energy availability and/or increase energy costs, and growth in energy abundance leads to growth in GDP per capita." In other words, if you kibosh the expansion of Canada's energy sector, you're not just hurting the energy companies -- you're without a doubt harming the whole economy. Which means you're hurting yourself!

Time to think of the big picture here!

Sun Media columnist Lorne Gunter put it best in Wednesday's papers: "Quite apart from the travesty of preferring more handouts over the option of getting on board with gigantic resource developments near reserves that could lift First Nations people out of poverty through solid jobs and steady paycheques, the economic ignorance of this coalition's stance is stunning."

We want Aboriginal Canadians to prosper as the economy grows. First Nations leadership must wise up to this.

Whatever Trevor

Dis is Trevor.

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