The indigenous population in Canada stands to gain from the country’s list of energy projects awaiting approval, according to a Canadian aboriginal leader.
During a speech in Calgary on Monday, Perry Bellegarde, the national chief of Canada’s Assembly of First Nations, said pipeline projects in the country would help sustain the livelihood of Canada’s First Nations as many of them rely on oil, mining, and forestry for jobs.
“We’re tired of being poor,” he said at the meeting, noting that although many chiefs disagree with pipelines, many others support them because of the revenue they create.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau promised in his campaign last year to uphold environmental protection while also balancing resource development. Because many First Nations are wary of the impact pipelines could have on their lands and water supply, these groups are usually the center of discussions regarding new infrastructure development in the country.
“You’re going to get better discussions” if First Nations are involved in discussing ways to protect the environment while also moving forward with resource projects, Bellegarde said at the meeting.