Indigenous group leads northern Alberta rally in support of energy industry

A rally and truck convoy was held in Lac La Biche on Sunday, in support of Alberta’s energy industry.

“We need things to change and we want to see our economy come back. In this area, we are so dependent on oil and gas. It’s a big part of all of our communities here,” said Lucille Chisan with the Region One Aboriginal Business Association, which organized the rally.

Chisa said the event was one of the first Indigenous-led rallies in support of the oil gas industry. The “Rally 4 Resources” was organized to show that there are members of the Indigenous community in support of pipelines and the province’s energy industry.

Organizers called on all levels of government to help create larger markets for the industry, including more pipeline development.

Those who took part also want to see changes made to Bill C-69, a federal bill introduced in February 2018 that would change how natural resource projects are assessed.

“Oil and gas is a very big industry for us, so we have really been hit hard with the downturn,” Chisan said Sunday. “So we felt, as an Aboriginal business association, that we should do something to support our communities, our families and to say that we need to amend Bill C-69.”

The legislation would get rid of the National Energy Board, replace it with a Canadian energy regulator, and also create an impact assessment agency to measure how best to mitigate environmental impacts from proposed developments.

It could also lead to confusion and delays over project timelines.

The Lac La Biche rally started with a traditional dance and drumming circle. A convoy of dozens of trucks then made its way around the northern Alberta community.

“We felt that the rally was a good way to voice our concerns with what’s happening out there,” Chisan said.

Albert Delitala@AlbertGlobal

Young traditional dancers take stage with drummers ahead of Indigenous-led pro-pipeline rally and convoy in Lac la Biche. @GlobalEdmonton803:15 PM – Feb 10, 2019 · Lac la Biche County, Alberta25 people are talking about thisTwitter Ads info and privacy

There have been several pro-pipeline rallies and truck convoys throughout Alberta over the past several weeks.

In mid-December, commuter chaos ensued on the Henday following a pro-pipeline rally and convoy that began south of the city hours earlier.

With files from Amanda Connolly and Albert Delitala, Global News.

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