Stephen Buffalo is president of the Indian Resource Council; Ken Coates is a senior fellow at the Macdonald-Laurier Institute.
Canada’s new minister of finance, Chrystia Freeland, has mused about the need to reinforce the green economy. The suggestion has some Canadians energized and excited; others are nervous and concerned. Count Indigenous Peoples in both categories.
Indigenous people understand and support taking steps to reduce the country’s carbon footprint. At the same time, many Indigenous communities have worked exceedingly hard to carve out an appropriate place in one of Canada’s most important economic sectors.
Since its election in 2015, the Trudeau government cancelled the Northern Gateway Pipeline, banned oil and gas exploration in the Arctic and oil tankers off the British Columbia coast, brought in complex environmental assessment processes, and appeared to actively discourage investment in the industry.
Under great political pressure, the government also purchased the Trans Mountain Pipeline, supported the Coastal Gaslink Pipeline and allowed the Keystone XL Pipeline to proceed.