During his keynote address at the B.C. Natural Resources Forum held in Prince George, B.C., in late January, Ellis Ross emphasized the importance of natural resource development in helping First Nations achieve economic self-sufficiency. Ross, a B.C. MLA and a former Chief Councillor of the Haisla First Nation, also raised concerns over the role of foreign-funded environmental lobbying groups in blocking access to new markets for Canadian oil and natural gas, and how this is harmful to Aboriginal development in Canada. Some excerpts from his speech:
On First Nations and natural resource development:
"One of the only proven methods for Aboriginals to help themselves."
"When you look at the evidence of First Nations who embrace economic development for jobs and training, their social issues go away, and those First Nations have the ability to address their own issues on their own terms, without asking permission, without asking for money."
On the role of environmental lobbying groups opposed to market access for Canadian oil and natural gas:
"This environmental movement is not an environmental movement. It's a campaign. It's a campaign to stop [Canadian] oil and gas product from reaching Asia."
"What I find wrong about this campaign to shut down Canada and B.C. is that it's all built on fear mongering. It's all built on propaganda."
"I can't understand why Canadians aren't angry about this."
Listen to Ellis Ross' speech on the Canada's Energy Citizens Facebook page.