First Nations Seeking New Economic Partnerships with Quebec Businesses and Investors

Business conference to seek ways in which First Nations can participate in economic activity.

Article content

Is it time to aim for economic reconciliation?

Commercial

Article content

Quebec First Nations are urging companies and investors in the province to develop economic projects that give indigenous communities a true voice in their future by making them shareholders.

A two-day business conference, called Great Economic Circle of Indigenous Peoples will be held at the Center Sheraton hotel in Montreal on November 25 and 26 to discuss possible avenues of cooperation, Ghislain Picard, head of the Quebec-Labrador Assembly of First Nations said Tuesday.

Article content

A wide range of municipal and economic stakeholders will be invited to participate, which could include investors such as the Caisse de dépôt et location du Québec and Investissement Québec, Picard said. Representatives from the Fédération des chambres de commerce du Québec will attend, said a spokesman for the organization.

Commercial

Article content

“Are we still victims of the development taking place in our territories or do we find ways to move forward in a sustainable way by becoming stakeholders? This is what’s at stake here, ”Picard said in an interview on the first day of the C2 Montreal conference, which will return in 2021 with its first in-person events in two years. “The objective of this initiative is to sensitize the business world about the importance of developing partnerships that benefit our communities in the long term. We see this event as a launch pad. “

Article content

First Nations communities are no longer satisfied with companies that employ indigenous people when developing mining or other projects on ancestral lands, Picard said.

“Yes, it’s nice to have revenue sharing, it’s nice to have jobs, but why wouldn’t First Nations be able to own a mine? First Nations can play a much larger role in their development, ”he said.

Commercial

Article content

Recent partnerships in the energy industry offer some hope. Picard cited Boralex wind energy projects, in the Côte-Nord region of Quebec , and Innergex , in the Gaspé peninsula, as profit sharing models that other investors could replicate. The Innergex project was developed by a 50-50 partnership between three Mi’gmaq communities and the company, while Boralex joined forces with the Innu communities near Port-Cartier.

Article content

Picard said he is hopeful that Hydro-Québec will adopt a similar mindset when planning future power generation projects.

“Hydro-Québec’s approach today is not what we used to see before,” he said. “With (new CEO Sophie) Brochu at the helm, there is more openness. I find this promising. “

Commercial

Article content

One industry that would benefit from new partnerships between First Nations communities and Quebec businesses is tourism, Picard added.

“I am thinking especially of adventure tourism, which until recently was inaccessible because of its cost,” he said. “Maybe that’s no longer the case.”

First Nations groups focus on the long-term picture, Picard insists.

“These partnerships could take a few months, or even a few years to come to light,” he said. “The goal is to make sure they last.”

And while the November conference is part of a joint effort between the Quebec-Labrador Assembly of First Nations and the Quebec government, Picard is not entirely convinced of Prime Minister François Legault’s attitude toward long-standing land claims.

“The political context is not always favorable,” Picard said. “We have been trying to find ways to involve the Legault government in a political process for about a year now, and we are somewhat disappointed. It is a very slow process. The reality is that the government does not recognize our autonomy ”.

[email protected]

    Commercial

Comments

Postmedia is committed to maintaining a lively but civilized discussion forum and encourages all readers to share their views on our articles. Comments can take up to an hour to moderate before appearing on the site. We ask that you keep your comments relevant and respectful. We have enabled email notifications – you will now receive an email if you receive a response to your comment, there is an update from a comment thread you follow, or if a user you follow comments. Visit our Community Principles for more information and details on how to adjust your E-mail settings.

Reference-montrealgazette.com

Leave a Comment