June 24, 2015

"The oil sands are the best thing that ever happened for aboriginal people"

Rebel Staff
 

I'm visiting Fort McMurray, Alberta, to host another emergency townhall. My guide while I'm here is Robbie Picard.

He's the enterprising grassroots activist who created the popular "I Love Oil Sands" t-shirts and hoodies.

Picard acknowledges that as a gay Metis man, he doesn't fit the stereotype of an Alberta oil booster.

He says Fort McMurray is more diverse than you might expect.

The people here don't fit the stereotype held by liberals from outside the province.

Those folks are often too busy working hard to pay much attention to politics, but Picard hopes to change that while at the same time, busting myths about the oil sands.

PLUS: He talks about what he did during #BoycottTims campaign. It was really original.



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READ Ezra Levant's bestselling books
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Groundswell: The Case for Fracking
Ethical Oil: The Case for Canada's Oil Sands

Comments
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commented 2015-06-30 09:58:59 -0400
I agree Jago, Post Secondary education is never a bad thing.
You said, “If they took women’s studies, at least they could get an office job, and then another office job, and move up, be square, save money and move the ball forward a bit – and then their kids would grow up with the expectation that moving ahead is about education, not about get-rich-quick schemes.”

What sort of office jobs? and wouldn’t those problems with irresponsible behaviour still exist when the paycheck came in?
If kids are that irresponsible how do they buckle down for Post Secondary training, let alone any job. Maybe the problem isn’t the oil patch, or quick rich schemes as you put it. Isn’t being a welder, electrician,or plumber for example a good enough trade for youth to get into? Do you think everybody should have an office job?

You said, " BTW – our band, like most Salish bands, turns a profit",
I’m sure it isn’t from office employment, so tell us, please share.
commented 2015-06-28 09:56:10 -0400
Jago: In Nunavut there’s interesting stuff going on. What REALLY happens over the long term is an open question, but there SEEMS to be more willingness on the part of companies like Agneco-Eagle to negotiate bigger, longer term employment and training benefits as part of the development process, including some of the necessities developers have historically ignored – per-employment training, lifeskills, long term career planning and links with college, trades and apprenticeship programs, support for a trades college and a University of Nunavut, etc. Only time will tell.
commented 2015-06-28 09:45:07 -0400
Robert, I’m afraid you don’t understand the law. Both the Department of Aboriginal Affairs (not exactly a pro-indigenous source) and a number of other sources can help you.
commented 2015-06-28 02:34:48 -0400
Terry – thanks. I couldn’t find this thread. And thanks for the kind words.

Looking at the patch though, it’s eaten more native potential than anything you can imagine. You could deliver a bag of meth to every house on the rez, and it would do less damage. Try keeping a native kid in college when their friends are wasting their prime years for education making 100K a year. And you know what – I’ve seen dozens of these kids do that, and I have yet to see one come out at the end with a penny in the bank. They’re kids, kids are stupid, they don’t save, they don’t plan. And these are poor kids too – I was a poor kid, trailer trash in fact, and you don’t learn about money with that kind of life. Money’s a thing that comes in and gets spent right away.

Do you know what you call a 30-year old with no education, and 10 years in Fort McMurray? A roofer. We don’t need any more native roofers, or dry wall installers, or construction labourers.

Kids spend like tomorrow will be the same as today. And at the first downturn, when they’re off the oilpatch and back home, there’s nothing they can do that will get them the same amount of cash.They will have wasted a decade.

If they took women’s studies, at least they could get an office job, and then another office job, and move up, be square, save money and move the ball forward a bit – and then their kids would grow up with the expectation that moving ahead is about education, not about get-rich-quick schemes.

Nothing against women’s studies btw, a class or two would do everyone good tbh – but what I’m saying is that ANY post-sec education would be more helpful (long term) than a job in the oil patch.

Marty: how abound leading my band in secession? Oh my friend, when I take power I have plans … BTW – our band, like most Salish bands, turns a profit, and the indian affairs pittance gets tossed in the bank, unspent. When the revolution comes, and we raise the stars and strips, and unite with our Salish brothers south of the border … well, things will get real.
commented 2015-06-27 19:17:36 -0400
Terry Rudden : The treaties mean exactly what they say. You can’t come back a hundred years later and claim they mean something else. I see someone has been doing a good job on the internet scrubbing and hiding information from the public to exactly what’s in the treaties.
commented 2015-06-27 16:06:42 -0400
Robert, ceding title doesn’t mean unilaterally “giving up” rights; it means entering into an agreement wherein two parties accept mutual obligations.
commented 2015-06-27 15:07:55 -0400
Terry Rudden : The Indians have no legitimate claim or title to the oilsands areas because they gave it all up, for all time in the treaties.
commented 2015-06-27 12:37:13 -0400
Rick, if that last comment was directed at me, I have no idea what that was supposed to mean.
commented 2015-06-27 12:35:55 -0400
Peter: “The AFN has been openly hostile to Harper.” My point is that on issues related to lands, treaties, title and claims, Metis and the CAP have no skin in the game. Since the Harper/Flanagan strategy on these issues is diminution of Aboriginal title, authority and self-government, it’s not surprising that AFN takes issue with the Conservative position.
commented 2015-06-26 23:57:09 -0400
I suppose that is why you see more Metis as productive participants in the economy.
commented 2015-06-26 17:43:33 -0400
Lefties believe they can behave / treat others they disagree with horribly and get away with it! Who would blame anyone from trying to minimize that aggravation? Arrogant and Ignorant! Fact is many “right thinking” people would never dream of behaving like a lefty. Aside from the embarrassment of behaving in that manner, there is the fact of lowering one’s self to that level.
commented 2015-06-26 16:59:24 -0400
“That’s one reason the Harper Government suddenly stopped talking to AFN and started talking to CAP, and their then “Chief” Patrick Brazeau.”

That statement I question. The AFN has been openly hostile to Harper. That, I am certain, played a large part. Same with the main stream media. They are openly hostile to him, so he limits his encounters with them to a few.
commented 2015-06-26 16:12:11 -0400
Bull’s eye, Peter. Metis and “non status Indians” don’t have a land base or treaties, and are thus unaffected by big questions like Aboriginal title, treaties, the duty to consult, and issues of entry, access, remediation and so on. That’s one reason the Harper Government suddenly stopped talking to AFN and started talking to CAP, and their then “Chief” Patrick Brazeau.
commented 2015-06-26 16:10:26 -0400
Terry. “If not, I’ll explain” Do explain. I look forward to it. I interpreted the remark from this Metis man as his opinion, which he is certainly entitled to in this country. You sound as though you are reading some conspiracy into this. Sad.
commented 2015-06-26 15:55:57 -0400
You are probably referring to the fact that the Metis do not own any land.
commented 2015-06-26 14:41:11 -0400
Rick, I don’t think you read my response with an open mind. We’re not disagreeing.
But here’s a little trivia question for ya, to test your comprehension of Aboriginal affairs in Canada. Do you see any irony inherent in using a Metis to voice the message that “oil sands are the best thing that ever happened for aboriginal people”? If so, please explain. If not, I’ll explain.
commented 2015-06-26 14:13:37 -0400
“but it’s not a systemic answer to the problems of Aboriginal employment and education.” Reality. Everyone has to start somewhere. We can’t all be politcially connected to be “entitled”. Slagging those who make the attempt is disrespectful and ignorant.
commented 2015-06-26 13:33:21 -0400
Being an entry level job, or a job that does not require a higher education does not exclude the possibility of keep that job for years. At an average of $150,000/year, why not keep the job. Or keep if for a few years and earn enough to pay for a god education. Having a university degree is not the be all and end all to life. Many people as laborers or in trades make more than many who have their doctorates.
commented 2015-06-26 13:23:06 -0400
I think the issue is that the vast majority of entry level jobs are unskilled or semi skilled labour or admin positions, with high levels of turnover- better than unemployment, but not a substitute for getting yourself into a Red Seal Program, a college degree, or even a high school diploma. Like any other McJob, it’s a stopgap that motivated kids can use as a point of entry – but it’s not a systemic answer to the problems of Aboriginal employment and education.
commented 2015-06-26 02:32:42 -0400
A Token C. you are saying the patch is not a bad temporary job. What’s wrong with being a welder or a surveyor, programmers, or an engineer etc. They are not exactly part time, and are trades you can take anywhere. More skilled Canadian workers are needed, in oil and gas.
commented 2015-06-26 00:01:11 -0400
Terry, that thread’s under Amanda Achtman. http://www.therebel.media/yym_town_hall
commented 2015-06-25 23:48:07 -0400
Jago, I almost hear you. I get that there’s that perception that oilpatch jobs are temporary, that’s what your milking. But, it really isn’t like that. Yes, boom and bust but the most recent boom lasted for pretty much an entire generation, and maybe a little bit more. That’s long enough to think of it as “normal”, instead of a boom. These labels come out a lot more when there’s a bust, it’s like so many people have to say “I told you so”. But, really, the last time Ft. Mac had this kind of economic environment a certain Liberal named Trudeau was in power… Now, I also get that someone could push for staying in post-secondary instead of going to the patch, but like others here have noticed, for a temporary job a guy could do a lot worse than make a couple hundred grand in 6 months, just sayin’! Our universities are filling up with 20 year olds with their own tuition paid for by their own earnings. That’s worth something, IMO. Especially now, if they aren’t working they might as well go back to school and increase their qualifications, diversify their potentials, and all the other good things that happen when you go back to school. The Alberta bashing wasn’t appreciated. That province has a whole lot to offer outside of the oilpatch, it’s a great place to live and work. And no, I don’t live there, but I used to.
commented 2015-06-25 22:05:06 -0400
That is a fact Peter, and looks like that might just be the whole idea. I’m hoping the next Canadian and American elections will help set things straight again.
commented 2015-06-25 21:47:49 -0400
Thanks Ezra.
Of course the natives in the area like the Oilsands. they are making a killing off them, as Ezra reported on the Ft. Chipewayan/Athabasca band, just as an example. And natives receive quite a bundle from the Cdn taxpayer.
And thanks to Harper’s pandering to likes of Jago, it’ll end up costing Cdn taxpayers a lot more. Whatever happened to Northern Gateway? The Oilsands will become worthless if we can’t get the oil to market.
commented 2015-06-25 20:41:18 -0400
There are over 600 bands across Canada, and they don’t all think the same.
commented 2015-06-25 19:58:13 -0400
“how about you lead your band in an absolute secession if you hate us so much. No more Indian Act, No more money (at all! Do away with currency! It’s evil, Isn’t it?) No more free roads. No more peace… Put your lying coward and hypocrite feet behind those sausage hands of yours you use to type this on your unearned and undeserved computer made by the white man, and show AFN how to wage a REAL war!” There’s a story emerging in some other media that FN’s are protesting and laying claim to our capital and surrounding lands. These were previously covered under treaty. It will be interesting to see how that plays out!
commented 2015-06-25 19:39:33 -0400
Sylvia Anaka : Well put.

Jago; You are a real kind of backwards… So you want ‘natives’ to stay on the rez and be obedient or else the get a ‘cuff on the head’? This is where you become comic relief for me and nothing more…

’Women’s Pottery Studies"

Unless you want to make souvenirs on the rez all your life, I think a better course is in order. We make our pottery by machine now…

how about you lead your band in an absolute secession if you hate us so much. No more Indian Act, No more money (at all! Do away with currency! It’s evil, Isn’t it?) No more free roads. No more peace… Put your lying coward and hypocrite feet behind those sausage hands of yours you use to type this on your unearned and undeserved computer made by the white man, and show AFN how to wage a REAL war!
commented 2015-06-25 16:19:35 -0400
I wish that the oil and gas industries around the world could shut down for one month and no oil and gas related products were available. The world would stand still and then let’s see how quickly all of you high and mighty oil and gas haters change your minds,
commented 2015-06-25 15:22:31 -0400
“women’s pottery studies” Yep, that will sure “bring home the bacon” to support a family. Some aboriginals I know went to work in the oil sands for a period of time, made scads of money which they hoarded away, returned home and put themselvs through College to upgrade their skill sets. They have now joined the ranks of small business owners, entrepreneurs, management types and tradespeople as in the rest of our society. Ain’t Canada a great place? So it was hardly a waste of time or effort! I applaud them for their initiative! Thinking outside of the “box” as it were, or in this case the Rez.
commented 2015-06-25 12:23:29 -0400
“Since you seem to be Jago’s handler Terry…”
Your condescension is noted. But no, actually, I just work in areas that overlap with Mr. Jago’s areas of practice, and like most folks in the field, I’m aware of his expertise. As for your questions about Aboriginal employment development and training, I’ll be happy to provide my own views. But not as anyone’s “handler”.