Thank you, Chair and committee members, for inviting me to talk today about the fair energy transition.
My name is Dale Swampy. I am the president of the National Coalition of Chiefs. The NCC is a non-partisan, independent coalition of first nations leaders who recognize the importance of energy and resource development as a means to improve community well-being and defeat on-reserve poverty. We work to create mutually beneficial alliances between industry and first nations leaders to advance responsible resource development projects that positively benefit first nation people through employment, own-source revenues and economic development.
We are very concerned about this government's focus on a just transition. We have already seen its politics destroy billions of dollars in opportunities for our communities, from northern gateway to Teck Frontier to energy east and more.
We don't see a transition happening. It's not. Global demand for oil and gas has never been higher. In fact, there's an energy crisis and the G7 is calling for producers around the world to pump out more. Canada has never exported more oil; we are at record levels. Oil and gas companies are making more money than they have in their history, and the federal government is making more revenues off them than ever before.
What about first nations? Just when we were starting to make headway in procurement and equity shares, the government decided we should limit new projects. Imagine if we had an export capacity for LNG today. First nations across Alberta, B.C. and the west coast would be on their way to financial independence. Imagine if TMX was in service instead of being delayed for years and years in bureaucratic red tape. The first nations groups that are vying to own it would have good revenues coming into their communities to support their programs and needs.
It is not realistic to think that, if Canada simply stops producing oil, other countries will stop using it. If the government doesn't want to be part of it, that's fine, but you have no right to stop first nations from our right to develop resources from our lands. I have heard that the last barrel should be a Canadian barrel because of our high ESG standards. I think the last barrel should be a first nations barrel.
Don't forget that fossil fuels are used for LNG and blue hydrogen and that these are essential to the energy transition. There isn't any credible source that thinks we should stop using those for decades to come. In fact, it is widely expected that the demand for that will rise. This is an opportunity for first nations and would contribute to lowering global emissions and getting other countries off coal if we are not blocked from pursuing it.
I want to end by pointing out the high costs of a poorly planned energy transition and the crisis we now face in first nations. Many of our communities rely on diesel generation. People have to drive for hours to get to doctors appointments or a grocery store. A lot of people aren't on the grid, and even those who are don't have the electricity capacity to add charging stations in garages they don't have. You won't find any electric cars on the rez.
The high costs of gas, heat, power and food are crippling many of our people, who don't have anything extra in their wallets. This energy transition, which so far is just a crisis, is hitting us the hardest. People are suffering in poverty when their communities should have been benefiting from the high value of these resources. Your policies have done nothing to prevent this and, in many ways, they have exacerbated it. There is nothing fair or equitable about what is happening today.
Thank you. I look forward to your questions.