Will B.C.’s new UNDRIP law block the province’s natural gas megaproject? Good question – Editorial (Globe and Mail – January 16, 2020)


In the Canadian Venn diagram of Indigenous reconciliation, resource development and climate change, British Columbia’s Coastal GasLink pipeline lands smack in the hot centre of three political issues.

After a long period of debate and negotiation, major construction on the pipeline is set to begin this summer. There may, however, be one final roadblock: The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

B.C. last year became the first province to enshrine UNDRIP into law. At the federal level, the Trudeau government plans to do the same. That is even though it remains unclear exactly what UNDRIP means, and how it may change Canadian law. The document pledges governments to secure the “free, prior and informed consent” of Indigenous people in a number of situations, including before giving the green light to resource projects.

To the average person, and in other areas of law, the word “consent” has an unmistakable meaning. Without a “yes,” things can’t move forward. No means no – period.

So does UNDRIP give Indigenous groups a veto over resource developments affecting them? B.C. Premier John Horgan, a supporter of both UNDRIP and Coastal GasLink, says no. Some opponents of the pipeline say yes.

For the rest of this editorial: https://www.theglobeandmail.com/opinion/editorials/article-will-bcs-new-undrip-law-block-the-provinces-natural-gas/