Green and renewable energy will gradually gain a larger share of the energy market, replacing non-renewable sources, such as oil, gas, and coal. First Nations business and investment opportunities are also becoming more apparent in this emerging market through wind, solar, hydro, and bio-mass generated energy projects. Other resource revenue opportunities are being explored to assist First Nation communities in their bid to strengthen local economies.
The Assembly of First Nations (AFN) will include green and renewable energy and harvesting natural resources from a benefit sharing perspective in planning of the 2011 Inter-Nation Mining and Energy Summit.
Key Issues and Activities
Through speaking engagements, the National Chief has promoted green energy as a means of economic self-sufficiency. In this light, planning for an Inter-Nation Mining and Energy Summit continues for June, 2011. The National Chief has presented the concept for a summit to the Province of Ontario, and has been informed of interest to participate in the event as a co-host. The AFN will ask First Nations involved in resources development to participate in this event, as well as resource development companies, provincial and territorial ministries, federal government, and international proponents.
The Economic Partnerships Secretariat coordinated a presentation on resource benefit sharing tools for the Chiefs-in-Assembly information during the 2010 Annual General Assembly (AGA). During the AGA, the AFN held a side event on First Nations and Taxation, as the policy area continues to be important given tax immunity issues and revenue generation needs. The session was hosted by Regional Chief Eric Morris, Chair of the AFN Chiefs Committee on Economic Development. The side event discussed explored technical-level interventions to support taxation immunity protection and opportunities for more fiscal resources being coordinated through First Nation revenue systems, such as in abilities to tax. This discussion also provided a complete overview of the June 29-30, 2009, working group meeting on taxation where a focus was recommended on establishing better fiscal systems, relationships and arrangements. The meeting also included a comprehensive presentation by subject experts from Gowlings law firm. A summary on the discussion from this meeting is available from the Economic Partnerships Secretariat.
The AFN was invited to participate in an Advisory Committee to focus on the Mining Sector, namely the Natural Resources Canada – Deputy Minister Evaluation Advisory Committee on Mining Sector Performance Review. The first meeting of the Advisory Committee was held in November, 2009. The committee meets twice a year and brings together federal officials for NRCAN with mining industry, national organizations, AFN, Mining Watch Canada, and the forest industry to define key issues.
The Economic Partnerships Secretariat will support the Environmental Stewardship Unit in monitoring the Forest Products Association of Canada’s (FPAC) agreement with the environmental non-government organizations (ENGOs) on reducing activity in certain regions of the boreal forest.
Looking-Forward Agenda to Annual General Assembly – July 2011
- Update on planning for the Mining and Energy Summit;
- Continue to explore, research and provide information to First Nations on resource revenue options;
- Monitor resource development, impacts to domestic economy, industry agreements, issues, and new revenue sharing/impact benefit sharing tools; and,
- Promote public education of First Nations’ unique relationship with the Crown and the federal government.