The “First Native Oil Sands Deal” was announced in a recent National Post article (Jan 25). The gist of the story is that One Earth Oil and Gas has made a 50 -50 deal with the Gift Lake Métis Settlement in the Peace River area of Northern Alberta. The real story however is found towards the end of the article. The reason that this oil company made a deal with a community that has blocked all oil and gas development for the past 17 years was that One Earth’s CEO Blaine Favel appreciated that:
“the differences between First Nations and the energy sector stem from two world views: There is the long view of aboriginals, many of whom live in remote communities, are surrounded by nature and live by its offerings and who believe in preserving the environment for future generations. And there is the view of corporate leaders, whose incentives are based on delivering business plans that are judged on a quarter-to-quarter basis. Aligning the two means a lot of creative work to get a reasonable position,”
This deal was made because there was an acknowledgement, understanding and respect by the oil company of a different world view and a willingness to work with that world view to find solutions that meet the requirements of both the corporate and the First Nations worldviews. As more and more communities and groups; ranchers, farmers, environmentalists as well as First Nations communities, protest against resource projects this is the new normal for resource organizations. We all will need to acknowledge, understand and respect these different world views and find compromises that work for everyone.