A new protocol unveiled by the Pallister government designed to guide future mining projects, including their impact on First Nations, is a good example of what reconciliation should look like.
Growth, Enterprise and Trade Minister Blaine Pedersen announced the Manitoba-First Nations Mineral Development protocol on Friday. It grants First Nations the authority to decide whether they want mining projects on their land and provides them with a more equitable share of revenues generated from those projects.
Ron Evans, a former chief of Norway House Cree Nation, was the co-chair of the protocol report. He says he’s encouraged to see government’s commitment to getting input from Indigenous communities on mining projects.
In fact, it’s the law for governments to consult with First Nations when projects like mining impact their land or their way of life. The Supreme Court of Canada has ruled repeatedly that governments have a duty to consult with Indigenous communities in a meaningful way, which includes addressing concerns they may have about decisions made by government.
The Pallister governments’ protocol fulfills that obligation. It not only lays out a consultation process with First Nations, it ensures they have full decision-making authority on whether to proceed with a mining project or not.
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