Putting forests to work for Indigenous communities

Governments need to work with First Nations to ensure they have fair access to forest tenure and opportunities for partnerships

Putting forests to work for Indigenous communitiesWhen you think of Indigenous engagement in the natural resource economy, you usually think of opportunities in the oil and gas industry or in mining. However, First Nations are increasingly getting involved in commercial forestry. Certain provinces – including Manitoba – have a sizable forest industry that plays a substantial role in the provincial economy.…

Wet’suwet’en dispute exposes system flaws

Resolving these Indigenous governance issues as well as cleaning up duty to consult policies is good for the First Nations involved as well as Canada

Wet’suwet’en dispute exposes system flawsIn January 2019, a group of breakaway hereditary chiefs from Wet'suwet'en First Nation in the interior of British Columbia erected a blockade on a remote forestry road in protest of the proposed Coastal GasLink pipeline to Kitimat, B.C. Eventually, the issues were addressed, the barricade came down and work on the site resumed. Observers worried…

Indigenous communities should tap into the medical tourism market

The James Smith Cree Nation could create what would be Saskatchewan’s first private-pay MRI facility

Indigenous communities should tap into the medical tourism marketA First Nation community about 70 kilometres southeast of Prince Albert, Sask., hopes to generate profit within five years from a private MRI clinic. The James Smith Cree Nation could create what would be the province’s first private-pay MRI facility. This became possible when the Saskatchewan government passed legislation in 2016 allowing for such facilities…

How to get First Nations onside with resource-related projects

The support of B.C. Indigenous communities for LNG projects provides a working model for agreements

How to get First Nations onside with resource-related projectsThe division and acrimony among First Nation communities over the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project can mask the many examples of Indigenous communities that have reached agreements with resource companies. For example, how many Canadians know that the experience of First Nations on liquefied natural gas (LNG) development has been extremely positive? “While B.C. First…

Focus on the merit of ideas, not identity politics

The Yellowhead Institute, a new think-tank focusing on Indigenous issues, needs to broaden its perspective

Focus on the merit of ideas, not identity politicsFormer U.S. president Barack Obama was in South Africa recently delivering a speech where he was widely praised for issuing a caution to those who embrace identity politics. “We’re able … to get inside the reality of people who are different from us so we can understand their point of view,” Obama said. “And you…

Integrate Canada’s forgotten Indigenous into the urban mainstream

We need to follow the example set by New Zealand, which gave the Māori the help they needed, while allowing them to preserve their culture

In 2013, the people of the small outport community of Little Bay Islands, N.L., had to make a very emotional decision. The local economy had completely dried up. The crab processing plant had closed and the community was far away from government public services. Looking at its bleak prospects, the people of the small community…

Indigenous rights are not absolute

Public policy discourse needs to move away from where Indigenous issues are paramount to where they’re one set among many

Indigenous rights are not absoluteIndigenous people too often seem to think that their rights are absolute or act as if their rights trump everything else. This attitude was seen clearly in a reaction from the Saskatchewan-based Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations (FSIN) after the Saskatchewan government changed the policy regarding when people can hunt on summer pasture lands. All…

Two visions of mining for Manitoba

A path that includes meaningful consultation with Indigenous groups is destined to move development forward

Two visions of mining for ManitobaThere are two visions of engaging with First Nations on mining projects in Manitoba. The first will likely lead to considerable opposition and increased delays. The second focuses on meaningful consultation with Indigenous groups and is destined to move development forward. One can only hope that policy-makers adopt the latter vision and reject the former.…

New hope for Canada’s freshwater fishers

The end of Canada's federal marketing monopoly opens new doors around the world

New hope for Canada’s freshwater fishersMany people expected that the end of the Freshwater Fish Marketing Corp. (FFMC) monopoly would lead to a disaster in Manitoba. It has not, fortunately. In fact, this move by the federal government may revitalize the Indigenous commercial fisheries in the northern part of the province. Manitoba commercial fishers sell about $60 million worth of…

What do environmentalists have against the world’s poor?

They’re only preventing oil and gas products from getting to economies that need them the most

What do environmentalists have against the world’s poor?The last few years have not been good for pipeline projects in Canada. The Keystone XL pipeline continues to be plagued by delays, TransCanada made big news by axing the Energy East pipeline and Kinder Morgan has cut spending on the critical Trans Mountain expansion project to protect its shareholders. After each pipeline setback, oil…