With less than a month to go until the opening, the 2015 National Aboriginal Business Opportunities Conference is beginning to take shape.
The 2G Group, organizers of the conference, posted a draft agenda on the conference website that shows not only a full list of businesses participating in the tradeshow portion of the event this year but a wide range of speakers addressing a variety of topics of interest to both industry and First Nations.
This year’s conference will begin on April 29 with a welcome from Metlakatla Chief Harold Leighton, Lax Kw’alaams Mayor Garry Reece and Prince Rupert Mayor Lee Brain. The first panel of the day will focus on the liquefied natural gas industry and include Tessa Gill of Pacific NorthWest LNG, Rod Maier of Kitimat LNG, Simon Nish of BG Canada, Donna Parker of WCC LNG and an unnamed representatives from Nexen. The keynote speaker will be Chief Roger William of the Xeni Gwet’in First Nation, who will discuss the landmark Tslihqot’in Decision of 2014 and its impacts, and he will be followed by Prince Ruprt Port Authority president and CEO Don Krusel discussing the port’s 2020 Vision. The last two sessions of the day will focus on regional First Nations including a presentation from Chief Ken Rea of Old Massett and Chief Don Roberts of Kitsumkalum, with Chief Leighton and Mayor Reece wrapping up the day with a look at economic progress and economic capacity building for the two nations.
The second day of the conference will include workshops on connecting business with LNG opportunities, meeting health and safety requirements, project financing and leasing and one to be determined. The keynote speaker for April 30 will be Mitacs Strategic Enterprises vice-president Duncan Phillips who will be discussing the development of “a holistic program for engaging with Canada’s aboriginal communities”.