Strengthening relations between the First Nations and the Canadian LNG industry

Karen Ogen-Toews's picture
Karen Ogen-Toews, CEO, First Nations LNG Alliance
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The First Nations LNG Alliance is a collective of First Nations supporting LNG developments in British Columbia. Working to increase positive LNG dialogue, the Alliance provides education and information to the First Nations to consider the economic and resource development opportunities.

CEO of First Nations LNG Alliance (FNLNGA) and Chief of Wet’suwet’en First Nation, Karen Ogen-Toews spoke to Gastech Insights about the growing industry and how important it is to communicate balanced LNG information. Ms Ogen-Toews spoke at the 5th annual Canada LNG Conference and Exhibition in May, sharing her insightful views.

Gastech Insights: In comparison to a year/2 years ago, how do you feel the relationship between the First Nations and the gas industry has grown?

Karen Ogen-Toews: I believe that it is has come a long way and both parties are still working on trust, communication and ongoing collaboration.  It is not about checking off a box and moving on, it is a continuous relationship moving forward once any agreement is signed. There are some positive examples that show industry proponents approaching First Nations first, and that’s a good sign.

Gastech Insights: Aside from skills training, what other areas of opportunity do you see for the First Nations as the LNG industry develops in Canada?

Karen Ogen-Toews: I see equity ownership as essential. First Nations want to be self-sustaining and build their economic development capabilities.  This is a way forward and the way of the future.

Gastech Insights: SteelheadLNG’s project – Malahat LNG – has recently received good news in terms of alliances and agreements with the First Nations. How do you feel about this news and what does it mean for the industry?

Karen Ogen-Toews: I believe this is forward thinking and excellent news, good relationship building and a good agreement is a win-win for industry and First Nations. It sets a positive example for others who are considering signing on.

Gastech Insights: You spoke at the Canada LNG Conference and Exhibition this year, what takeaways did the attendees go home with regarding the First Nations and your work?

Karen Ogen-Toews: That with good solid relationship building, on-going dialogue, and communication you can have a win-win relationship with First Nations. Environmental issues are first and foremost the main concerns for First Nations and once those issues are addressed, First Nations will collaborate and work with industry. This can be a prosperous and mutually beneficial endeavor.

Share your insights and join the conversation: Do you see the relationship between key gas players and the First Nations improving in the next 5 years? Leave your comments below.

The Canada LNG Conference and Exhibition provides a vital opportunity for key players to connect and review the evolving developments within the Canadian LNG marketplace. To discover more about the 2017 event and what essential information was discussed, download the Post-Show Report today.

This interview was originally published in May 2017.
Image courtesy of First Nations LNG Alliance.