Late last year, the federal government introduced legislation — Bill C-15 — to ensure that the laws of Canada are consistent with the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP).
While the affirmation of Indigenous rights is always welcome, the legislation as currently drafted is likely to have negative impacts on the many Indigenous communities that rely on resource development as a source of jobs, business contracts and own-source revenues. Symbolic gestures of reconciliation should not come at the expense of food on the table for Indigenous peoples.
I am not a lawyer, but I have spent my professional life in First Nations administration and the oil and gas industry and know first-hand what happens when federal bureaucracy gets in the way of responsible resource development.
However well-intentioned C-15 is, my discussions with legal experts, industry representatives and investment bankers persuade me it is introducing another layer of uncertainty and risk to development in Indigenous territories.
That is because it adds to the confusion about who has the authority to provide or deny consent on behalf of Indigenous peoples, be it chief and council, hereditary chiefs, or small groups of activists.
For the rest of this column: https://financialpost.com/opinion/dale-swampy-undrip-will-slow-not-hasten-indigenous-development