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Province, First Nations launch conversation on clean-energy opportunities

Press Release

Nov. 15, 2021

VICTORIA – First Nations peoples throughout British Columbia can join a conversation on new opportunities in the growing and diverse clean-energy sector to help ensure First Nations are involved and benefiting from B.C.’s low-carbon economy.

The Indigenous Clean Energy Opportunities (ICEO) engagement is jointly designed and led by the Ministry of Energy, Mines and Low Carbon Innovation, and the First Nations Energy and Mining Council (FNEMC), in partnership with the First Nations Leadership Council.

A virtual workshop will be held on Nov. 17, 2021, to raise awareness of the engagement process and how participating in it can benefit First Nations.

The Province is advancing plans for reducing emissions based on energy efficiency, electrification and fuel switching to clean sources, including in remote communities, that will open up a wide range of economic opportunities that can benefit First Nations communities. The ICEO engagement will explore what some of these opportunities might look like in order to benefit the broadest possible range of First Nations interests around clean energy.

Working together over the past months, the FNEMC and the ministry have developed draft terms of reference, including preliminary topic areas and a workplan to engage First Nations communities and organizations in an open-thinking and transparent dialogue to:

  • advance First Nations participation in B.C.’s clean-energy sector including, but not limited to, the electricity sub-sector; and
  • seek to align B.C.’s strategic clean-energy policy and legislation with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

The Nov. 17 virtual workshop will be hosted by Bruce Ralston, Minister of Energy, Mines and Low Carbon Innovation; Kukpi7 Judy Wilson, secretary-treasurer of the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs; Regional Chief Terry Tegee of the B.C. Assembly of First Nations; and Robert Phillips of the First Nations Summit. Other speakers will include Chad Day, president of the Tahltan Central Government; Murray Rankin, Minister of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation; and Chief Gordon Planes of the T’Souke Nation.

First Nations peoples and organizations can register for the workshop, learn more about the engagement and provide input online at the ICEO webpage.

Three additional, regionally focused workshops will follow in early 2022 to explore potential clean-energy topics First Nations peoples and the Province can explore under the ICEO, and to gather feedback on the clean-energy priorities of First Nations communities.

Quotes:

Kukpi7 Judy Wilson, secretary-treasurer, Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs –

“First Nations in B.C. are eager to participate in environmentally sustainable clean-energy opportunities that uphold inherent Indigenous Title and Rights. To fairly ensure there are sufficient resources to invest in clean-energy projects we seek compensation from past projects and revenue sharing that we are equal partners in negotiating from all current projects on our lands.”

Bruce Ralston, Minister of Energy, Mines and Low Carbon Innovation –

“The Indigenous Clean Energy Opportunities engagement provides an accessible forum for First Nations Peoples around the province to get involved in the important conversations we need to have about our shared clean-energy future. I want to thank the First Nations Leadership Council and First Nations Energy and Mining Council for working with us to jointly design and co-lead the engagement. It brings us together in the spirit of reconciliation with this tremendous opportunity to shift to a clean-energy future that addresses the challenges of climate change.”

Regional Chief Terry Teegee, B.C. Assembly of First Nations –

“First Nations are already leaders in demonstrating how clean energy must be one of the tools that moves us towards economic reconciliation with the Province of B.C. while reducing our carbon emissions and responding to the climate crisis. We expect this new initiative will fully support energy sovereignty for our communities and ensure that any clean-energy development project recognizes and affirms our inherent and constitutionally protected Title, Rights and Treaty Rights, including the rights of sovereignty and jurisdiction.”

Murray Rankin, Minister of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation –

“The B.C. government is deeply committed to advancing reconciliation in B.C. – guided by the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and with meaningful consultation and cooperation with Indigenous Peoples. By working together on new opportunities in the growing and diverse clean-energy sector, we will build a more inclusive and stronger low carbon economy and clean-energy future for everyone.”

Robert Phillips, First Nations Summit Political Executive –

“Our communities have been leading the charge in advocating for more sustainable clean-energy sources that would assist in addressing the climate crisis. First Nation-owned clean energy utilities have an opportunity to be at the forefront of this sector and the ICEO process will be a critical component in helping to chart the pathway.”

Quick Facts:

  • The B.C. First Nations Energy and Mining Council is a non-profit organization with a mandate from Chiefs in B.C. via resolutions passed at the assemblies of the B.C. Assembly of First Nations, First Nations Summit, and the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs (collectively working together as the First Nations Leadership Council) to support and facilitate responsible energy and mining resource development that protects the environment and ensures cultural, economic and political well-being of First Nations in British Columbia.
  • B.C. was the first jurisdiction in Canada to implement the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples through legislation. The act passed unanimously in the B.C. legislature on Nov. 26, 2019.

Learn More:

To learn more about the Indigenous Clean Energy Opportunities engagement, provide online input and register for the virtual workshop on Nov. 17, visit:
https://indigenouscleanenergyopportunities.gov.bc.ca/

Find out about the B.C. First Nations Energy and Mining Council, visit: http://fnemc.ca/

Contacts:

Ministry of Energy, Mines and Low Carbon Innovation
Media Relations
250 952-0622

Paul Blom
First Nations Energy and Mining Council
778 887-0855

Connect with the Province of B.C. at: news.gov.bc.ca/connect

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