2011 Business Summit attracted overflow crowd

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Author: Northern Gateway
Dated: 27 February 2012
A late boost in interest in the Summit held Nov. 1-3 had organizers quickly adjusting to accommodate an additional 150 to 200 delegates – including from some 30 First Nations communities from Alberta and B.C. The additional crowd was over the 200 scheduled to attend the event at the River Cree Resort on the Enoch First Nation near Edmonton.
“From the get-go at this event, it’s just been tremendous momentum and positive buzz.”
Building on the success of Enbridge’s first Northern Gateway Business Summit in 2010, the 2011 edition aimed to connect Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal community members, leaders and businesses with industry.
The Northern Gateway Project, if approved, promises to generate 62,000-person years of employment during construction across both provinces and beyond. The 1,177-km pipeline and marine project connecting northern Alberta’s prolific oil sands region to a marine port at Kitimat, B.C. aims to have 15% of the construction workforce comprise of Aboriginal people.
The promise of parlaying well-paying construction jobs in the $5.5 billion Northern Gateway Project into long term careers is one of the things that attracted Elmer Derrick, Chief Negotiator for Gitxsan First Nation in B.C., to the event. Derrick, who is also the hereditary Chief of Gitsegukla First Nation, says it is incumbent upon First Nation leaders to seek out opportunities with industry.
“What I’m reminded of every day by young people is that we have to strive for more economic activities that they can become engaged in,” said Derrick.
Alfred Goodswimmer, Director of Operations for Sturgeon Lake First Nation, made the trip to learn opportunities in industrial support jobs such as trucking and construction but also in energy industry operations.
“As community leaders, we don’t go out and make demands on industry. We establish relationships, have dialogue, and come to agreement on how we are going to work together because it’s the people we want to make sure benefit from these projects,” said Goodswimmer.
Kelly Lendsay, President and CEO of the Aboriginal Human Resource Council, stressed the importance of inclusion of Aboriginals in the new economy – not just for the sake of good jobs today but for vibrant communities into the future.
“People are seeing opportunity. We can no longer live in a world of shame and blame. It’s about how we collaborate, set targets for our communities and then achieve those targets together ,” said Lendsay.
Described as a resounding success, organizers hailed the delegate list that included members of some 30 First Nation and Metis communities from Alberta, B.C. and a number of signed agreements.

More and more Aboriginal groups are seeking information from industry to better their communities and offer opportunities for their people. Northern Gateway has held two Business Summits and both have been successful in bringing together people intent upon connecting Aboriginal people and the energy sector. The latest Business Summit, held in Edmonton in November of 2011, attracted an overflow crowd as representatives of some 35 Aboriginal communities across B.C. and Alberta came together to see how business connections could be made.

Alfred Goodswimmer, Director of Operations for Sturgeon Lake First Nation, made the trip to learn opportunities in industrial support jobs such as trucking and construction but also in energy industry operations.

“As community leaders, we don’t go out and make demands on industry. We establish relationships, have dialogue, and come to agreement on how we are going to work together because it’s the people we want to make sure benefit from these projects,” said Goodswimmer.

“People are seeing opportunity. We can no longer live in a world of shame and blame. It’s about how we collaborate, set targets for our communities and then achieve those targets together ,” said Kelly Lendsay, President and CEO of the Aboriginal Human Resource Council, who also stressed the importance of inclusion of Aboriginal people in the new economy – not just for the sake of good jobs today but for vibrant communities into the future.

“Success for me is measured in two ways. Success is measured by attendance and it’s measured by buzz,” said Morgan Yates, Enbridge Northern Gateway Vice President of Aboriginal and Stakeholder Relations.

“From the get-go at this event, it’s just been tremendous momentum and positive buzz.”

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  • Aaron, Feb 29th, 2012 (3 years ago)

    How many from BC and how many from Alberta?

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