The southern part of the NWT is benefitting from diamond mining.
Three mines are in operation. The sector created more than 26,000
person-years of employment between 1996 and 2006, and half of
those jobs went to Indigenous people, McLeod said. During the
same period, diamond mines spent more than $13 billion on
northern businesses, including $5.6 billion on businesses
owned by Indigenous people.
Reconciliation with Indigenous people shows up in many aspects of the federal political agenda. So why is it falling so short on economic reconciliation? Indeed, it seems the federal government’s approach to reconciliation is about giving with one hand and taking from the other.
Bob McLeod, the Metis premier of the Northwest Territories, re-enforced the point last week, joining a growing chorus of Indigenous leaders complaining the federal government is undermining their ability to make a living by going too far on environmental protection based on rigid models designed by the green lobby.
“Full reconciliation can’t just be about political and legal authority, it also has to be about economic power,” McLeod said in a speech to the Vancouver Board of Trade. “It is one thing to have the right to make decisions for yourselves, but if you have to depend on another government to fund their implementation, you have only achieved partial self-determination.”
McLeod was outraged by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s imposition without consultation of a ban on drilling in the Arctic in late 2016, alongside then United States President Barack Obama. Trudeau also announced a ban on oil tankers on Canada’s northern West Coast and made it more difficult for liquefied natural gas and pipelines to go ahead.
All were big wins for the green lobby. The measures put the brakes on development in big parts of northern Canada, where many Indigenous people live and where resource extraction is pretty much the only game in town.