Northern Gateway president reacts to Canadian Press report

Northern Gateway President John Carruthers has come out swinging against a Canadian Press report on equity offers to First Nations.

Northern Gateway President John Carruthers has come out swinging against a Canadian Press report that he feels “contains a number of errors and leaves readers with a fundamental misunderstanding of Enbridge’s engagement efforts with these [Aboriginal] communities.”

The Canadian Press report dealt with critics of an equity package to First Nations from Enbridge for a 10 per cent stake in the Northern Gateway Pipelines project.

The report, by Dene Moore, quoted Chief Rose Laboucan of the Driftpile Cree Nation near Edmonton, who said that only “minimal economic benefits were offered.”

In response to the entire news article, Carruthers counters that “at the core of the equity agreements is our commitment to providing meaningful economic benefits to Aboriginal communities while minimizing potential risks to these communities.”

He said the funding structure for the equity participation provides “no-risk” investment and does not require them to provide any of their own funds to participate.

“Enbridge also agreed to offer and arrange financing at terms and rates for these communities that may not otherwise be available. This financing arrangement is one option and each participating community has been free to explore their own financing arrangements and make such decisions appropriate to their own desires,” he continued.

He also said that direct ownership through the equity packages could provide an estimated $230,000 a year for each community for the first 30 years.

That is in contrast to the Canadian Press report which said, based on legal assessments in 2011, at least one band might only get just over $70,000 a year.

“All told, the Aboriginal benefits will be near $1 billion over the life of the project,” said Carruthers.

The Canadian Press report can be found, among other places, here.