First Nations need to get to "Yes" to shape and benefit from unprecedented
economic opportunities in resource development
Hon. Jim Prentice, Vice Chairman of CIBC, says growth and jobs must be
achieved with an unblinking focus and commitment to the environment
WHITEHORSE, July 17, 2013 /CNW/ - CIBC (TSX: CM) (NYSE: CM) - First Nations
have an unprecedented opportunity to shape and benefit from the next wave of
nation-building in Canada but need to decide whether to be participants or
observers, says the Honorable Jim Prentice, Senior Executive Vice-President
and Vice Chairman of CIBC.
Mr. Prentice believes it is imperative that First Nations find a way to take
advantage of these opportunities and get involved as partners. "Personally, I
favour getting to 'Yes.' Today, thanks to our abundance of natural resources,
we stand on the verge of a new era of growth and development. No other country
in the world is bringing on energy projects at the pace or on the scale of
"We are talking about hundreds of billions of dollars in major resource
developments that are currently - or will be - taking place on or near
Aboriginal communities. It is national in nature. It is substantial in scope.
And in many cases it represents a game-changing opportunity for First Nations."
He notes that First Nations are increasingly becoming partners in energy and
resource projects from coast-to-coast and these initiatives are generating
economic benefits for their communities. But he adds that with some 400,000
Aboriginal youth entering the job market over the decade the need to find more
economic opportunities will intensify, as will the need to invest in the
future of Aboriginal youth.
"But let me be clear: I'm not talking about irresponsible development," says
Mr. Prentice. "This isn't a tradeoff. It's not about securing short-term
economic benefits at the expense of our natural heritage.
"Rather, we must place environmental issues at the very centre of what we do.
As a former Minister of Environment, I know better than most that First
Nations have for centuries stood as proud defenders of our environment. I
would never counsel, and you would never consider, a short-sighted approach in
which the principles of safety and sustainability would be sacrificed for
fleeting financial advantage. Growth and jobs must be achieved not merely with
a nod to environmental safety and protection, but with an unblinking focus and
He told delegates at the Assembly of First Nations 34(th) Annual General
Assembly in Whitehorse that if they decide to pursue these opportunities it is
important to do so with common purpose and laid out a number of key components
to reach agreement.
-- Move expeditiously to the negotiating table with industry to
represent your own interests.
-- Understand the need to move beyond consultation. Once you sit
down, the objective is to achieve sustainable economic
participation. The duty to consult and accommodate was created
as a way to get to 'Yes,' not as a way to get to 'No.' It was
created to assist First Nations in extracting meaningful
economic participation from those decisions. Consultation must
progress to negotiation, and negotiation must maintain a
meaningful direction and a positive momentum.
-- In some cases, getting to 'Yes' means working together. On its
own, any one First Nation there is relevant. But collectively,
they are a force.
-- Retain good advisors. In any major project, the people on the
other side of the table will represent some of the world's most
successful, best capitalized and most sophisticated
corporations. You need tough-minded bankers, commercial lawyers
-- In some cases, pursue equity ownership in addition to Access
and Benefit Agreements. There are advantages to being an owner.
Owners, for example, have more say in the many decisions
surrounding the project, including those relating to the
"The decisions you will make hold the potential to create new paths to
prosperity; new opportunities for Aboriginal businesses to flourish; new
stories of success and achievement; and long-term sustainability for
generations to come," adds Mr. Prentice.
A copy of Mr. Prentice's speech is available at:
CIBC is a leading North American financial institution with more than 11
million personal banking and business clients. CIBC offers a full range of
products and services through its comprehensive electronic banking network,
branches and offices across Canada, and has offices in the United States and
around the world. You can find other news releases and information about CIBC
in our Media Centre on our corporate website at www.cibc.com.
Kevin Dove, Head of External Communications at
PDF available at:
To view this news release in HTML formatting, please use the following URL:
CO: Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce
-0- Jul/17/2013 10:38 GMT
Press spacebar to pause and continue. Press esc to stop.