Archive | Aboriginal and Inuit Mining and Oil/Gas

Quebec, James Bay Cree announce $4.7-billion development deal – by Christopher Curtis (Montreal Gazette – February 17, 2020)

The vision for the program that includes rail networks and wildlife habitat protection “came from us,” a Cree leader says.

Premier François Legault and the James Bay Cree have signed a $4.7-billion deal that will extend rail networks north, protect new wildlife habitats against development and partner on new infrastructure projects.

The Grand Alliance is a “new chapter” in the relationship between both governments, Legault said Monday. An extended rail network means more minerals can be extracted from mines in the boreal forest and shipped to American and German markets. By increasing rail capacity, Legault says Quebec will offer North American and European businesses an alternative to Chinese imports.

“It will create well-paying jobs in the Cree community but also foster a new generation of Cree entrepreneurs,” said Legault, who called the deal a model of nation-to-nation governance. Continue Reading →

Canada steps into ‘Ring of Fire’ debate with Ontario Premier Doug Ford – by Dayna Nadine Scott and David Peerla (The Conversation – February 17, 2020)

Dayna Nadine Scott is the York Research Chair in Environmental Law & Justice in the Green Economy, York University, Canada. This article is co-authored with David Peerla, advisor to Neskantaga First Nation.

The struggle over the mineral deposits in Ontario’s Ring of Fire has taken a surprising turn. With all eyes on British Columbia as events unfold in Unist’ot’en, the federal minister of environment and climate change has said the agency will establish a major regional assessment process for the Ring of Fire.

The region, 500 kilometres northeast of Thunder Bay, is said to hold one of the world’s richest chromite deposits, as well as nickel, copper and platinum. While some First Nations communities support the roads that would lead to the mines, other Indigenous people across the region are concerned they are losing control over the pace and scale of development in their homelands.

Those who support the development of the Ring of Fire will undoubtedly cast the federal decision as meddling by environmentalists and a disaffected First Nation. We see it as Canada finally stepping into the ring with Ontario Premier Doug Ford to restore some integrity to the environmental assessment process. Continue Reading →

Quebec and Cree Nation sign 30-year economic development deal for James Bay territory (CBC News Montreal – February 17, 2020)

The deal is expected to last 30 years, ensure economic stability for the region

The Quebec and Cree Nation governments have signed a memorandum of understanding for a $5-billion, long-term economic development deal for the James Bay territory, known in the Cree language as Eeyou Istchee.

According to the mandate of the “Grande Alliance,” the deal aims to “the Indigenous values of the region,” while allowing several ambitious social and economic projects to proceed.

Those include the expansion of the rail network to reduce the negative impacts of trucking, the electrification of some industrial projects in the region and infrastructure sharing, Quebec Premier François Legault and Cree Grand Chief Abel Bosum announced Monday. Continue Reading →

Enough is enough. Clear the blockades, restore the rule of law – by Derek H. Burney (National Post – February 18, 2020)

Dialogue is no prescription for those who refuse to listen because they believe themselves to be custodians of the only truth

It is times like this when Lucien Bouchard’s claim that “Canada is not a real country” has an eerie ring of truth. Protesters of many stripes have the upper hand in pockets of the country. The rule of law has been parked in the cupboard.

Rail lines are blockaded and services suspended. A provincial legislature was shuttered. The country’s economy is crippled. The national interest has no defender. The preferred solution is not a return to order and apprehension of the offenders.

Rather it is “dialogue” — as remote and amorphous a prescription as the lowest form of sophistry; one that often can be a euphemism for vacillation and the evasion of responsibility. Continue Reading →

The millennial eco-activists stopping trains are the new colonialists – by John Ivison (National Post – February 18, 2020)

While so-called ‘settlers’ protest the pipeline, Indigenous leaders want the project that will bring economic prosperity

The uber-woke protesters who blockaded a CN rail line last weekend would be horrified at being accused of cultural colonialism. But they are as guilty of telling Indigenous Canadians how to live their lives as any Father of Confederation.

The reason 50 of them snuck into the MacMillan Yard north of Toronto and set up camp was to protest the “oppression” of the Wet’suwet’en 4,000 kilometres away in British Columbia — an Indigenous nation whose traditional land they say was “invaded” by the RCMP in an act of colonialist aggression.

Natali Montilla, 27, explained the thinking that shutdown CN’s west-bound line for seven hours on Saturday. She referred to herself as a settler on Canadian land, but one with Indigenous roots in Venezuela. Continue Reading →

Railroading of elected bands betrays progressive hypocrisy – by Jonathan Kay (National Post – February 15, 2020)

The social-justice extremism that has been largely confined to campus life and obscure pubs has metastasized to the world of normal human beings

In late 2019, Ontario’s public broadcaster, TVO, produced a widely circulated video segment in which Indigenous public figures delivered short monologues responding to the controversial claim that Canada was perpetuating an ongoing “genocide” against Indigenous women.

The TVO commentators flatly told viewers that this ongoing genocide is a “fact,” and that any argument to the contrary amounts to “denial.” Moreover, we were told that anyone engaging in such denial is effectively abetting a crime against humanity, because “denial is a tool of genocide.”

If you find yourself astounded by the current situation in Canada, whereby protesters have been allowed to shut down a rail network that remains a backbone of passenger travel and industrial transport (and whose coast-to-coast completion in 1885 became a symbol of national unity), it’s useful to revisit the accumulation of symbolic gestures that have steadily destroyed the moral authority of our governments to push back at any assertion of Indigenous rights and grievances. Continue Reading →

Canada is turning into a mob city while Trudeau remains silent – by John Ivison (National Post – February 13, 2020)

Somebody in Ottawa should be pointing out that along with the right to protest there are certain responsibilities to allow other people to go about their business

Canada is slowly turning from democracy to mobocracy, as the rule of law is tested from coast to coast.

From blocked intersections in downtown Toronto, to journalists and legislators being barred entry to the B.C. legislature; from an obstructed CN line affecting rail traffic out of the port of Prince Rupert, to the barricades impeding Via Rail’s service between Toronto and Montreal, Canada is slowly being choked into submission.

The protests are in solidarity with the opposition to the Coastal GasLink pipeline in northern B.C. by hereditary chiefs of the Wet’suwet’en Nation. But a considerable number of “outsiders” are using the dispute as an excuse for mischief. Continue Reading →

Rail blockades could turn into a full-blown secession crisis — and Trudeau’s government is to blame – by Diane Francis (Financial Post – Feburary 13, 2020)

The illegal road and rail blockades perpetrated by Indigenous radicals across the country are not about pipelines or fossil fuels. It’s an existential threat to Canada and its sovereignty — and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s Liberal government is to blame.

Five years of pandering and subsidizing 632 First Nations leaders has led to this catastrophe, which is being spearheaded by five unelected hereditary chiefs in British Columbia who claim their nation — the Wet’suwet’en — is exempt from Canadian laws and regulations.

They claim sovereignty over a 22,000-square-kilometre swath of land, an area the size of Israel, and have successfully invoked nationwide solidarity protests that have crippled portions of the country’s rail system. Continue Reading →

The question of authority shouldn’t divide First Nations – by Ellis Ross (Vancouver Sun – January 26, 2020)

Ellis Ross is the B.C. Liberal MLA for Skeena and was chief councillor for the Haisla First Nation from 2013 to 2017.

The heated debate over who holds authority over the territory of First Nations — be it hereditary chiefs or elected band leaders — may serve the interests of those seeking to disrupt construction of the Coastal GasLink pipeline, but it does absolutely nothing for the well-being of an average Aboriginal living on reserve.

As an elected councillor for the Haisla First Nation, and later chief councillor, I grew up experiencing dismal employment prospects, children being raised in poverty, tragic suicides, and horrific rates of Aboriginal youth ending up in the prison system.

We’ve always had to cope with outsiders and so-called experts telling us who best represents First Nations, or what we should do within our own territory. Yet none of these people have ever lived on reserve or spent any significant time with the people who actually live there. Continue Reading →

The First World problem of pipeline building – by Kelly McParland (National Post – February 11, 2020)

It is possible, it appears, to build an oil pipeline in Canada.

Though not a 100 per cent, absolute dead certainty — Lord knows what schemes opponents may still have hidden away — this would appear to be the outcome of two recent court cases, one of which ruled that British Columbia can’t stop a pipeline from Alberta just because it makes some of them feel good, the second that Indigenous Canadians do not have an absolute veto over legislation affecting them, despite whatever impression the prime minister may have given, and no matter what the United Nations may think of the situation.

It is a big moment in Canadian history. Other countries have civil wars, coups d’etat, plagues of locusts and demented presidents. In Canada we devote vast resources to arguing over whether one pipelinethat goes to an ocean port can be joined by another pipeline going to the ocean port. Of all First World countries, Canada must have the most spare time to fight over First World problems. Continue Reading →

Teck Frontier oilsands project pits Trudeau’s climate credibility against concerns for Alberta’s economy – by Alex Ballingall (Toronto Star – February 8, 2020)

OTTAWA—Like most everyone with a stake in the quagmire of Canadian climate politics, Colleen Thorpe does not know if the Liberal government will approve the Teck Frontier oilsands project. But she sure is worried it will.

The executive director of Équiterre was among a host of Quebec environmentalists who met Monday with key cabinet ministers to air their thoughts about the massive — and politically contentious — proposed development in northeastern Alberta. Naturally, Environment Minister Jonathan Wilkinson was there.

But so was Steven Guilbeault, the rookie politician installed as heritage minister after he was elected in Montreal last fall. In his prior life, Guilbeault was one of Quebec’s most prominent green activists, a vocal campaigner in the fight against climate change, who co-founded Thorpe’s organization and worked there until less than two years ago. Continue Reading →

EDITORIAL: The Trans Mountain decision just delivered a gusher of legal clarity (Globe and Mail – February 5, 2020)

In August, 2018, after the Federal Court of Appeal quashed Ottawa’s approval of the Trans Mountain oil pipeline expansion, there was a national hue and cry over what seemed like constant setbacks for industrial projects. Some people were saying it had become impossible to get anything built in this country.

That view turns out to have been exaggerated. The 2018 ruling was not a sweeping condemnation of Trans Mountain. Instead, the court largely signed off on the federal government’s approval of the project, except for two specific failings: a failure to weigh the negative impact of oil tankers on marine life, and inadequate Indigenous consultations.

The court’s 2018 decision was, essentially, a paint-by-numbers guide to finishing those two steps, doing so in a reasonable time, and getting the project going. Continue Reading →

In a major victory for Trans Mountain, Federal Court dismisses Indigenous appeal of project’s approval – by John Paul Tasker (CBC News Politics – February 3, 2020)

The Federal Court of Appeal has dismissed an appeal by Indigenous groups challenging the federal government’s approval of the Trans Mountain expansion project — clearing yet another major legal hurdle for the long-delayed $7.4 billion project, which will carry nearly a million barrels of Alberta oil per day to the B.C. coast.

In a unanimous 3-0 decision, the court ruled that Ottawa carried out “reasonable” and “meaningful” consultations with Indigenous peoples affected by the project’s construction before approving the pipeline for a second time.

“This was anything but rubber-stamping exercise. The end result was not a ratification of the earlier approval, but an approval with amended conditions flowing directly from renewed consultation,” the court said. “All very much consistent with the concepts of reconciliation and the honour of the Crown.” Continue Reading →

Teck mine approval could require Alberta to hit net-zero emissions by 2050 – by Vassy Kapelos (CBC News Politics – February 2, 2020)

The federal cabinet is considering approving the Teck Frontier oilsands mine, but with a condition — that Alberta legislate an emissions cap requiring the province to hit net-zero emissions by 2050 — two sources close to the prime minister tell CBC News.

The Liberal cabinet must make a decision on the massive new oilsands project by the end of February, while facing pressure from environmentalists on one side and the Alberta government on the other.

The sources, who spoke on condition they not be named, told CBC News the Teck decision is more difficult than the government’s decision on the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion, but cabinet is leaning toward a plan outlined by former natural resources minister Amarjeet Sohi in the Edmonton Journal last week. Continue Reading →

CANADA: UN, Media Accused of Ignoring Indigenous Support for Pipelines – by Jason Unrau (The Epoche Times – January 29, 2020)

A U.N. committee’s recent call on the federal government to halt three major resource development projects in British Columbia continues to spark outrage among Indigenous leaders who are in favour of the projects.

The First Nations LNG Alliance has now issued an open letter to the U.N. Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD), saying its recommendations should “immediately be withdrawn” and an apology given to the 20 nations that support the Coastal GasLink pipeline, one of the three projects.

“The committee should have been aware that that 20 First Nations participated extensively during five years of consultation on the pipeline, and have successfully negotiated agreements with Coastal GasLink,” the letter stated, while accusing CERD of failing to do its research before taking a position. Continue Reading →