Thank you very much for having me back again.
My name is Robert Beamish, and I am the co-founder and director of Anokasan Capital. I'll keep the introduction brief, as I was introduced previously.
We specialize in securing investment from east Asia for projects in indigenous communities in Canada. I'll be speaking about best practices from an international perspective and the perspective of indigenous communities within Canada.
These best practices are quite similar to the ones I mentioned in my previous presentation, but this time I plan to go into a little more detail on their value and why they are what they are.
I will start with the first one, which is to start with understanding. It is so important in relation to engaging with communities to not only allocate time, but also to budget for the understanding and needs-analysis process. If it's in the budget, it can be tracked and it can be delivered, and...finding out if there's alignment between community members and government for certain project developments. The more alignment you have, the more knowledge you can have of a community, and that will only help as the project develops and the negotiations continue to develop.
In a lot of communities there seems to be a process where people and individuals who go through the communities are very transient, coming for a time to learn or volunteer, and then ending up leaving. Over time, it can be an emotionally extractive process when you share your story, your culture, what things mean to you and your way of life and world view, and then people leave. Then more people come, and it's another process of sharing and leaving. This can also happen from the business perspective. In order to be successful, there needs to be that longer-term commitment from all partners.
Understanding goes to more than just project requirements; it's also understanding what the community's development goals are, what their history is, how they want to develop and where they are in that development process.
The next best practice would be communication alignment, and this relates to providing the platform for concerns to be voiced. If one isn't provided, then one will be created. It's about having regular intervals for communication, not only for dispute resolution, but also for an open floor to provide community members with feedback and details on the development of the project.
As different communication styles need different approaches in order to get all of the information out, you need to have set intervals, whether they be bi-weekly or monthly, to discuss the project's development as it relates not only to community members, but also to project leaders and stakeholders. Having these scheduled interviews allows the time for different people to process that information and perform the different types of analysis that they find valid.
For example, there was a geothermal project that was being worked on. It was in line with the values of the community. It was a renewable energy project, and it had education and employment opportunities included. When the project started to go forward, the machinery that was being brought to the community resembled classic oil rig machinery. When community members saw this, they said, “This isn't in line with what we thought we were getting into.” There wasn't a platform to provide information or dispute resolution, so one was created, and there was a process for this. There ended up being a team that went around to educate community members about what the machinery of a renewable energy project looks like, how it would change and what it would look like in terms of phases. They had to add this as an additional stage in their development process in order to ease the social unrest.
If there had been a platform for that open, free flow of information for community members to ask questions and provide feedback, that could have been avoided.
The next point would be cultural alignment. This one relates to the differences in cultures. Our differences can only bring us together once we understand how they separate us. It's about being proactive in understanding the protocols associated with the land, the land's relationship with that community, and what it means not only in terms of protocols and what should be done while on the land but also what it means in terms of the relationship with the land and why.
As well, a very important practice that we implement is a cultural bias awareness practice where we're self-aware of our own cultural biases. We do this because usually we're working with investors from the Asia-Pacific region, specifically China, but also with indigenous communities. We ourselves have our own cultural biases that we come in with. If we're aware of those, we can understand how our cultural biases are affecting how we're trying to do business, how we're going into this situation, how the cultural biases of the different partners at the table may be affected, and how they're going into doing business.
The next point would be the “four Es”, namely, employment, equity, education and the environment. These four Es affect every community in some way, some on a greater scale than others. We're proactively seeking these out in the “understanding” stage—for example, finding out the employment requirements, the expected equity in projects, the environmental concerns and the education for members, whether that be in training or literacy education. Looking for these and looking for ways to tailor these four Es to communities is an excellent way to proceed as a better partner, but likely these four Es are affecting communities in different ways. Whether they're all at the same time or one is greater than the other, integrating these into projects as opposed to leaving them as concessions is a much better way to start building a relationship.
A segue into the next one is information alignment. What gets measured gets delivered. When these Es can be measured, whether they're by literacy tests prior to a project starting, during the project start, during the training being implemented, or after the project or training has been completed, you are able to mark the improvements in literacy or education or as they relate to skills development. If these items are being measured, then they can also be delivered. Project requirements are measured and delivered upon and timelines are measured, but just as project requirements are measured, these social development requirements should be measured as well. Many communities are lacking in information when it comes to this area. It can be difficult to provide policy and create policy around where the community should go next if this information around literacy rates or around environmental contamination is not available. This information that you can provide to a community is value added to the community in their continued development as well.
I know that this is the last meeting on this topic of best practices, but I think it is very important to heed these best practices. A lot of them are not being implemented. There are challenges to implementing these practices, but the challenge that comes with these practices is also the great reward that comes from implementing them. Understanding these communities and understanding the individuals we'll work with on these projects will change how projects can be developed and how relationships can be developed, and it will affect mutual prosperity going forward. As we know from the different meetings that have been held on this topic, there are so many of these practices. I can only think of the ones that have been mentioned during the two presentations that I'm a part of. They will likely take effort, money and time to implement. They will take understanding and sacrifice in order to develop and be useful going forward, but it will be for the mutual benefit of all the people of this generation and the ones that follow.
I do thank you for your time on this. I'm looking forward to your questions.
Thank you, everybody. It's a pleasure to appear in front of you again.
I'm calling in from Rotorua in New Zealand. I'm here with Chris Karamea Insley, who is one of the advisers to Canative Energy.
I requested to appear again before the standing committee just because this is a topic that I feel very, very strongly about. This is my life's work, and it has been my career to date so far. I'm an indigenous finance professional. I have worked internationally in the energy sector since I began my career. I spent three years in Ecuador working in social development with Ecuadorian indigenous communities that had been impacted by the energy sector.
As for what I'd like to share with you, I'll just touch base on the three points I raised previously and then bring up another two that I think are very important. It's echoed in what I'm seeing here in New Zealand as well.
The first point I brought up was diversification. It's really important that these communities are not completely dependent on income streams generated from the energy industry.
It's also really important that they have a long-term plan in place. At some point, I saw some Ecuadorian communities that were looking into the future, but some are very nearsighted, and it's very difficult to engage with a major capital project if you are looking only at what is right in front of you.
The third point is building capabilities. Last time, I spoke about the education aspect, the literacy, etc.
I think this next point echoes Robert Beamish's point about energy literacy. What is energy literacy? Basically, it's providing the education and the awareness of what the industry is. What do these capital projects look like? What is the terminology being used? What is the machinery that they're going to see coming through their community? This is really important. It's really difficult to engage with something if you don't know what's going to happen, especially in these communities. They're very tightly knit, so they get a lot of their information from their neighbours and their families. Sometimes the messages change. Sometimes they're coloured a bit by people's ontologies, so it's really important that the government promote energy literacy within these communities so they're able to engage effectively.
The last point is the prioritization of youth voices. What I've seen is the polar opposite of what happens in the energy industry. In the energy industry, it's usually the oldest, loudest voice at the table that's prioritized in the boardroom, whereas in the communities that I've seen operating effectively in their space, they're actually bringing children and youth into the room and asking them for their opinion because they are the leaders of the next generation. They're engaging with these individuals with the expectation of empowering them and engaging them in the conversation to be able to move this forward.
With that, I'll hand it over to Chris. He'll tell you a bit more about what's going on in New Zealand.
Good afternoon, Madam Chair, and thank you for the opportunity to speak and share some of the experiences from us, as Maori people down in New Zealand.
My background is that I similarly trained in finance and economics in New Zealand, and also in the U.S. My work experience has been largely concentrated in the natural resources area. I've spent a lot of time working in forestry, including in the U.S. and in Canada—in British Columbia—so I have some experience there. Like Raylene, it's been my life's work in terms of driving Maori and, in turn, indigenous development among the likes of Robert, Raylene and others.
What I want to do is sort of share with you, members of the committee, a little bit about New Zealand, a little bit about Maori, and what makes sense for governments of the world to embrace—the challenges and the opportunities, and the opportunities are big.
As a population, we have around six million people, so we're small in New Zealand. Of that, there are around 600,000 Maori people. If you trace back through time, we as Maori people have shared, if you like, the same challenges that we see among the indigenous first nations people of Canada and elsewhere around the world—like Australia—in terms of high unemployment, all the bad things.
I'm going to echo some of the points that Robert and Raylene have made. It makes sense for governments to try to understand how to work collectively together with indigenous people. From the New Zealand experience, around 30 to 40 years ago, a piece of work was done to measure what the economic size of the Maori economy was within New Zealand. They measured it at around about $30 billion—New Zealand dollars—at that point in time. I might add that interest is concentrated in the natural resources: farming, forestry and fishing, and energy to an extent.
That same piece of work was remeasured, redone, in the last 12 months. The Maori economy today is around $50 billion. If you do the numbers, you'll see that the Maori economy is growing at a compound annual growth rate of around 15% to 20% year-on-year, while the rest of the New Zealand economy is growing at around 2% to 3%. That's triggered a lot of activity and thinking within New Zealand governments that the Maori economy has become a cornerstone of the success of the New Zealand economy in terms of some of the things that Maori are doing. It makes sense; that is the point.
In terms of best practice, again I'm going to echo the points that Raylene and Robert have made. From a government policy point of view, if you understand.... I believe from my assessment in Canada, with the kind of natural resources our first nations folks are involved in, there is enormous potential for that to be grown for first nations and for the economy of Canada, if some of the lessons that we've certainly learned along the way might be transferred.
The first point is that it takes time. I know you're challenged by the short-term electoral cycles, which we have in New Zealand too. It's hard to plan long term when you're up against that challenge, but I make the point that it takes time. I'm echoing, again, other points that Raylene has made. To build capability within communities, to build trust within communities, that all takes time.
Invest in young people. Heavily invest in young people and bring them forward, and that's when you'll really start to see the lessons and the potential start to be realized.
I'm really going to make a pause at this point, but I'd also say that whatever you do, it's worth the effort and don't drop the ball in terms of thinking about long-term plans and policy.
I'll pause there.
Okay, thank you. I will go on from those best practice points to one other point that I think is really important and that we've certainly come to appreciate. It's a point that has been echoed around the world. That is not only to take a long-term view—and when I say “long-term”, I mean potentially generations, not five to ten years; but 30 to 50 years and beyond—but then also to think about policy that is integrative.
What do I mean by that? It's driven and underpinned by realizing the economics that we've all been trained in. There has to be a return on investment for all of the different parties, including government, the private sector, and the local communities. But absolutely, alongside that—and this is the stuff that we've learned in New Zealand that really starts to resonate with indigenous communities—think about how you grow people and about the social drivers. When you're thinking about getting alongside communities, go to them.
We have in New Zealand this thing that we've termed the “aunty test”. It's often the hardest test to pass, when you're in a meeting in the community, because one of the aunties will stand up and say to you, “Yes, we know all of those NPV numbers and those return on investment numbers, but what are you going to do to grow our people? Where are the jobs for our people? ”
You have, then, to tick the economics; you have to tick driving, and I would argue that the social driver is probably one of the pre-eminent drivers; and then also the environmental drivers. There is a fourth one; that's the cultural drivers. Long=term, you need to integrate all of those different value drivers into your thinking and the way you think about policy.
I'll pause there.
I don't think there is anything in any of the evidence I've heard, either in my previous session or in what I've heard through listening online to the other sessions.
What really drove me to connect with the committee is that I feel that sometimes it's difficult to have a purely international view. I know we're meant to be relating to the Canadian context, but it felt, most certainly in our session, that the conversation turned to some legacy issues in Canada and wasn't purely international. I would encourage the committee to keep that international hat on and really look at what's happening around the world.
As well, I really think it's important to acknowledge the youth aspect. What I'm seeing in Ecuador, and what I'm seeing in Canada as well, is the engagement and empowerment of young indigenous people. This is one reason I'm returning to Canada later this year to work. It's really inspiring and it's really great to see this, but it's very risky.
If this generation of youth become disengaged, or disenchanted with the energy industry and the way the government is treating them and operators are engaging with them, they can completely turn the other way and can most definitely stop the projects in their communities. It's really important to understand that their voices are prioritized and respected within these communities and that it not be as hierarchical as what we see in the energy industry.
To me that's one of the polar opposites I see between communities and the way the industry operates: it's the treatment and recognition of the voice of youth.
Yes, Jamie, I'll answer that on two levels.
Firstly, in New Zealand, the Maori community has become highly active politically. For example, of our 122 members of parliament in New Zealand, we have 18 Maori members from across the political spectrum. In my view, we've been very sophisticated about how to leverage, as Maori people, that influence within government towards skills training programs for the particular needs of Maori communities. And we have a lot of those unfolding right now in some of these different sectors.
The second part of the answer is that, within our own Maori businesses, we are actively encouraging our youth to go off and get trained at university and in the trades. I think it has to happen at both levels. It's not just a government responsibility; it's a responsibility of government in partnership with business and with the families and communities.
For me, it really comes back to building that trust with those communities. In my view, the success is not through a government-driven, top-down approach only; it has to come from communities to drive that up.
I trust that makes sense.
This can be open for anybody.
On indigenous consultation, I'll mention a project that some of you are familiar with, the Eagle Spirit pipeline. I note that so far today we've talked about consultation with regard to projects, but what about the legislation that impacts these projects like the Eagle Spirit pipeline that some of you are familiar with? For example, 35 first nations want to build that indigenous-owned Eagle Spirit pipeline corridor from Fort McMurray, Alberta to the northwest B.C. coast near Prince Rupert. These first nations complained bitterly about the failure of consultation on Bill , which will forever ban the export of crude oil off the northwest coast of B.C.
Now, with respect to Bill , the proposed legislation on impact assessments, we are finding out that many of these Canadian companies, like TransCanada—which recently dropped “Canada” from its name—are focusing investments on other international jurisdictions like the U.S. As investment flees, projects are being cancelled and jobs are being lost, and particularly hard hit are those indigenous jobs.
Indian Oil and Gas Canada, which regulates oil production on first nations lands, has a policy of charging a higher royalty for oil produced on reserve lands than the royalties charged on crown land in B.C., Alberta and Saskatchewan.
As investment departs Canada, capital exits indigenous lands first. According to the IOGC itself, new first nations' leases are down 95% over the last four years.
In your opinion, do governments owe a duty to consult on legislation like Bill and Bill , the no more pipelines bill, that directly affect indigenous interests, or is it only a physical shovels-in-the-ground type of project that requires consultation?
That was a very long preamble.
How much time do I have left?
The Vice-Chair: One minute.
Mr. Jamie Schmale: Okay, so I might have to skip over a few things.
Speaking of these major projects, when there is opposition, has New Zealand or Australia, whichever, had a divide among indigenous groups? If so, were there any takeaways from the results of that divide, and were accommodations made?
How did that nation-to-nation consultation work, or was it tried, with major infrastructure projects?
Jamie, let me give a New Zealand sort of response to that.
Part of the context of the answer is that in New Zealand, in 1804, we signed a treaty that was, if you like, an agreement between the indigenous people of New Zealand and the state at that time. That treaty effectively says that in good faith, both parties will talk to each other about really anything that affects the nation of New Zealand.
Personally, I think it's okay and it's good that we have the treaty there, but that shouldn't be the primary driver. If you stepped back from whether or not you should have a discussion about these issues, we have issues going on in New Zealand that are around oil and gas, and there is a divide. It comes down to how both parties have talked to each other about the matter in the preceding period, and that could be years. If you have a good solid foundation for that discussion to take place, it's more than likely you're going to achieve an outcome that's acceptable to both parties.
As I said, we have the treaty there also, which says that in good faith you should respect each other and have a discussion. Start those discussions early—and we have many, many examples of this in New Zealand—and if you do and you build a strong relationship, you will start to achieve the kind of outcomes that I alluded to earlier on. Local communities win, Maori people win, and the nation wins.
It's a very good question. Thank you, Kent.
How did it come about over the last 20 or 30 years?
I really have to hold very firmly to the view that it was through the drive of our leaders and our community, who not only encouraged but also literally forced every one of us to go off and get educated. We were encouraged by our leaders to go off and get educated—not just anywhere but in the best places in the world—and to bring that knowledge back home. It was through that period, that 20 years or so that it took for it to come home.
How is that now creating a competitive advantage? It is—it's creating a competitive advantage for our nation. When our prime minister or any senior delegations from New Zealand travel the world, they take a cultural performing group with them. That group will basically open every major meeting for the leaders of our country. They do that willingly. They see that it adds value, and it's recognized internationally.
Our icon in New Zealand, I guess, is our rugby team, the All Blacks. Our All Blacks stand proudly on the world stage. For those of you who follow rugby, they'll do the haka. The haka really does set us apart, not only on the rugby field but in every arena. All of our children—I have two little grandsons now who are four years old—learn rugby from the time they are born. It's become part of our DNA as a nation. It's in this way that it's promulgated, and it's become part of everything we do.
It's linked back to the point that you make about creating competitive advantage, that we can endure because no one out there has that mix of goods that we have. I think there are real lessons in what we've achieved, and so I think your question is a very good one.
I think we have to continue to incorporate many of our indigenous cultures here in Canada. I know we're starting to do that with our federal government, by changing our practices and our ways in going about things.
I would also like to address a question to Ms. Whitford.
I come from the province of Alberta, which is tremendously blessed with natural resources. In fact, over the course of time, we have had an excellent resource economy.
The trouble, as you point out, is how do we get the young people involved? How do we not have intergenerational theft? By that, I mean the spending of all the oil wealth in one generation. Do you know what I'm saying? In our home province, we have largely just said, “The future be damned. We're going to spend it all at once” in terms of those types of issues—low taxes, unlimited spending on health care and education—and then the good times are gone.
How do you see that conversation possibly coming back to indigenous communities and consider, for example, how you can look at aspects of sovereign wealth funds, possibly, and how you can get indigenous ownership that recognizes, in their energy literacy, that once you spend the profits from a barrel of oil, that money is gone for good?
Thanks, Kent, for your question. I think it's a very valid one.
Again, I'm going to take it out of the province of Alberta and speak with an international voice.
I think we've all seen the power of sovereign wealth funds. If you look at what Norway and a number of countries have done in the energy sector, those funds are most definitely a very astute way of accumulating and growing capital for future generations.
This is something that is quite difficult, I think, for non-indigenous individuals to comprehend. Indigenous communities are inherently long-term. I'm sure the committee has heard of the seven generations a number of times throughout these sessions. Inherently, indigenous communities are looking towards the future, but it's not the near future; it's the long-term future.
I think that providing support, guidance and opportunities for these communities to set up structures whereby they can begin to secure and grow the capital and also opportunities for these future generations will be something they are very interested in.
If you're able to take best practice internationally in the development of these structures, or these funds or trusts, and not give it to them, not parachute it in, but develop it with them, I think that would be a very big win for the federal government.
I think that's a great question.
It's in two parts.
Why is it that the Maori economy is achieving these phenomenal growth rates? First, we have to acknowledge that the treaty settlement process has, if you like, created a pool of development capital available to Maori people that is now being reinvested back into the development of our own businesses, which we own completely. We own fishing companies. We own forestry companies. I was on the board of a highly successful energy company—geothermal energy—and that was stimulated by that initial settlement redress. We've had that pool of development capital made available through that process, but it's not only that.
We have some very talented and smart Maori companies today that are active in a whole range of different fields and have become highly vertically integrated, from the raw material right through to the end product that's being marketed around the world and promoted as being developed by this Maori community.
That all came about through my previous point about growing our young people with the best talent, to bring them back in with all of that talent that they have. It's those two things combined, and there's a third thing I should add, too.
The third thing—actually, there's a fourth thing—is to take a long-term view so that your planning horizon is long. It's not like what we've seen in the past with business per se, where the planning horizon was typically five years. Maori businesses can plan for 100 years. You ride out the ups and downs of prices and all of that kind of volatility.
The last point I'd make that contributes to that phenomenal growth rate is what's inherent within indigenous people, in my view, but certainly within Maori communities, to actually collaborate together and create scale. When you create scale, as you will know, sir, you create leverage. You create leverage in all sorts of ways.
It's a combination of those four factors that are driving these very real, very high, compound annual growth rates.
I do appreciate that. I also know Chris is an excellent resource. I've sat with him before on panels at conferences. It's not my first time, but it's definitely always [Inaudible—Editor
] when I'm on the floor with Chris. I do appreciate that as well, but definitely do recognize the knowledge that he's bringing.
There is one point. The last time I was in committee, toward the end I was asked a question about how we could attract investment to Canada from Asia and internationally and how we could raise that awareness. Time ran out when that question was asked the last time. I took that and I wanted to address how that could be done as it relates to indigenous communities and attracting investment for indigenous communities.
What I've seen from previous work I had with the Canadian Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong and working alongside the Canadian consulate in Hong Kong—which was mainly focused on driving investment from Hong Kong to Canada—was that there was not the awareness of [Technical difficulty—Editor] or training for the trade commissioners that were abroad. Speakers, or their own independently organized trade delegations, would be organized from indigenous communities to attract business to those communities, but there wasn't that partnership that Chris mentioned, when political leaders would travel abroad and have a cultural delegation of Maori people alongside them. Commissioners in consulates or in embassies in the Canadian Chamber of Commerce abroad did not have any kind of awareness or sense of what's happening in the Canadian indigenous community.
It was actually the lack of this that spurred the start of our business, Anokasan Capital, in order to spread that awareness and to educate both East Asians about opportunities in indigenous communities and indigenous communities here in Canada about opportunities in East Asia.
It's a really good question again—and it's happening. As I said, it's an “and, and”.
First, we are now repeating our interests in and thoughts about the free trade agreements at the invitation of the New Zealand government. That's intended to be an enduring process and contribution to those formal agreements, so that our interests become embedded in o those free trade agreements right from the outset. The chief economist for our New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs used the terms because he understands the compound annual growth rate numbers, and it's such a no-brainer that governments need to engage and help to get those interests embedded into those free trade agreements.
So we're working through that right now and it continues to be an ongoing process.
Second, there is an enormous amount of business-to-business trading and discussion going on between Maori businesses and first nations. We had another colleague in the room with us today, sharing the numerous numbers from a period of 20 years, backwards and forwards, toing and froing. He talked about some of the discussions he's involved in sitting on a board in the mining energy sector. He's involved in another trade with first nations in the agriculture sector.
So it's an “and, and” answer. I underline again that we, as Maori people, value and are sharing all of the lifelong lessons we've learned with indigenous peoples of the world, including first nations.