AFN chief calls for inclusion, balance and diversity in the energy sector

(VANCOUVER, Feb. 10, 2016) – Assembly of First Nations (AFN) National Chief Perry Bellegarde today opened the AFN First Nations Forum on Energy: Setting Priorities in Vancouver, BC, calling for First Nations involvement in all aspects of decision-making, planning and development related to the energy sector.

” To develop a successful plan for a clean energy future for Canada, First Nations must be engaged as full partners,” said National Chief Bellegarde.

“Our rights must be protected and our jurisdictions must be recognized.  Everyone wins when we work together.” 

The Assembly of First Nations (AFN) is convening the First Nations Forum on Energy: Setting Priorities taking place February 10 & 11 at the Fairmont Hotel Vancouver, BC.  The Forum is an opportunity to examine the role of First Nations in Canada’s energy future and discuss key issues by bringing together First Nations leaders and experts with leading representatives from government and industry.  The National Chief set out three over-arching priorities for First Nations in the energy sector.

“Our priorities are inclusion, balance and diversity,” said National Chief Bellegarde.  “Inclusion means embracing First Nations’ role in shaping Canada’s energy future, as governments, as business partners and as environmental stewards and experts.  Balance means that when we create economic opportunities we do so while carrying out our responsibilities to protect the lands and waters.  Diversity means recognizing and respecting the range of opinions and involvement of First Nations in the energy sector.  Our inherent right to self-determination means the ability to say yes to a development process, or no to a development project.”

The energy sector is an important part of the country’s economy and the political, legal and economic landscape places First Nations in a central role in this work.  The AFN First Nations Forum on Energy: Setting Priorities is an opportunity to address fundamental issues related to development and the energy sector, and for participants to engage in focused discussions around key topics and priorities.

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