CPABC Industry Update Summer 2014 - Page 21

Looking at value-added opportunities that can reduce environmental impacts should become a principle to be endorsed by all sides. First Nations are looking for significant economic and social benefits from these projects. There is a strong desire to move towards self-reliance and away from dependency, and there are some examples that support this desire. We can point to projects like the Pacific Trails natural gas pipeline on Canada’s west coast as a first-of-itskind negotiated arrangement with a consortium of First Nations as partners in a project. Although Pacific Trails was a non-equity arrangement, future negotiations with First Nations could produce an equity ownership position in major project developments, particularly as court-directed pressure increases on gover nments and industry to adopt more meaningful accommodation approaches. Governments and industry will need to be open to such proposals as options for First Nations participation, and the necessary financial capacity is going to have to be in place for these opportunities to be realized. In order for these opportunities to be realized, gaps in First Nations administrative and financial management capacity are going to have to be addressed to support the evolution of First Nations into the mainstream economy. The First Nations Fiscal Management Act (FMA) holds the tools necessary t o a d d re s s t h e s e g a p s a n d t o cer tify First Nations by assisting with the development of financial administration laws and financial management systems. Once rigorous thresholds are achieved, these laws and systems provide a means for First Nations to join an active borrowing pool in order to gain access to the capital markets. These tools may be leveraged on a much larger scale to provide a group of First Nations with access to the capital markets to facilitate equity investment in proposed projects. The magnitude of equity that will be required is beyond the reach of individual communities and the capacity of the current borrowing pool, but could be achieved with the issuance of a federal government guarantee. Equity as a mechanism for participation by First Nations, above all others, posi ѥ