As the original entrepreneurs of this land, Indigenous people made sure to use resources in ways that would sustain future generations. We have a shared vision for a better future: one where Indigenous communities have a clear path to economic security.
I am fortunate to get advice from two women’s councils on economic security, who share with me grassroots details about how Indigenous women are faring throughout the province. Their insight helps me to better understand that keeping a focus on Indigenous women improves outcomes for whole communities. Working with Indigenous women has been an honour for me and I was proud to accept a Red Dress last year when we declared October 4, 2019 Sisters in Spirit Day.
We continually meet and engage to further important matters affecting Indigenous people.
We took a bold step to remove barriers to prosperity for First Nations, Métis people and the Inuit in Alberta. I am proud of our flagship support, the Alberta Indigenous Opportunities Corporation, an idea that has been in the making for decades.
Alberta is the first and only province to set up a Crown corporation to enable major Indigenous investment in Alberta’s natural resource sector. The Alberta Indigenous Opportunities Corporation can backstop up to $1 billion for Indigenous investment. This win-win formula will attract investment in Alberta’s natural resource sector while generating wealth to address local priorities and build greater self-sufficiency for Indigenous communities. This fall will see the first project launched followed by more in the coming year.
Moving beyond symbolic gestures to real, practical measures ensures Indigenous communities will benefit from Alberta’s prosperity.
That’s why we continue to offer grants through the Aboriginal Business Investment Fund (ABIF). It provides funds to eligible Indigenous community-owned businesses for ventures that lead to social and economic benefits for their communities. ABIF has been used successfully to launch many thriving enterprises that are up and running today servicing consumers throughout our province.
Indigenous-owned businesses create jobs and bring new services to their communities and local economies.
This program has successfully expanded businesses in Alberta, creating 300 full-time jobs, more than 150 full-time construction jobs and has created 130 spinoff businesses.
We are also supporting Indigenous communities, coalitions and organizations to stand up to those interests that want to hinder or stop responsible natural resource development with the $10 million Litigation Fund Program for financial help.
The Indigenous Litigation Fund will help stand up and support responsible natural resource development that balances environmental responsibilities with jobs and economic development.
Premier Kenney announced the Woodland Cree First Nation as the first successful applicant to receive an Indigenous Litigation Fund grant to intervene in Alberta’s challenge of Bill C-69.
Alberta’s government also upholds a commitment to fairness through consultation when treaty rights, or cultural or harvesting practices might be negatively affected during development projects.
These are just some of the ways Alberta’s government is working with Indigenous communities to ensure they are partners in reviving and benefitting from our plan for economic recovery.
My door is always open to hear from you on how we can further reconciliation. It us up to all of us to improve the lives of all Albertans. I welcome your input and guidance. Together we will move Alberta forward.