Aboriginal business proposals in the oilsands

Many Albertans are cashing in on the wealth of the oilsands so the rejection of a First Nations proposal to do a little bitumen refining is causing really hard feelings. Today, we're looking at why some first nations people in Alberta are claiming the province is freezing them out of the oilsands and the wealth generated there.



Part Two of The Current

Aboriginal business proposals in the oilsands - Athabasca Chipewyan Chief

We started this segment with the sound of the Alberta oilsands creating energy and creating jobs. Production is soaring and it's estimated 90-thousand new jobs will need to be filled in the next eight years.

Getting all that bitumen processed, upgraded and delivered to market is labour intensive. But one First Nation believes it's been shut out. A proposal to create the first aboriginal-owned bitumen refinery in Alberta has been rejected by the province. The government says the 6.6 billion dollar proposal isn't financially sound.

Ron Morin is the Chief of the Enoch Cree Nation near Edmonton. His band was part of the failed refinery proposal. He says the government doesn't want First Nations businesses to succeed. He also says it would be in the best interest of all Albertans for the project to go ahead. We aired a clip.

However the Alberta Government sees the proposal differently. Bart Johnson speaks for Alberta Energy. We aired a clip.

Opposition parties in Alberta are expected to make the failed proposal an issue in the upcoming provincial election. Allan Adam is Chief of the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation.

We requested an interview with Alberta Energy Minister,Ted Morton, but he declined our invitation.

Many First Nations people have thrived because of the oilsands. Dave Tuccaro is a prominent aboriginal business leader in Fort McMurray. He owns several successful companies connected to the oilsands. And he says he can't find enough aboriginal workers to fill the jobs. We aired a clip.

Aboriginal business proposals in the oilsands - Govt and Industry Relations

When executives from oilsands companies consult with First Nations about a problem or a project, one of the people across the table is Melody Lepine. She is the director of Government and Industry Relations for the Mikisew Cree First Nation in northern Alberta.

This segment was produced by Calgary Network Producer, Michael O'Halloran and Edmonton Network Producer, Gillian Rutherford.

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Monday Mail

Friday, we brought you the preppers movement - survivalists, determined to emerge standing after whatever disaster could befall the planet. They are loaded with stocks and supplies to live off the grid and without the supermarket. We read some response to this item.

And another story that triggered listener response was our conversation with National Post columnist Tasha Kheiriddin on the death penalty debate ... after she proposed Canada should reinstate capital punishment in a column last week. We shared some listener thoughts on this item as well.

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