“Handpicked” committee coaxes First Nations to trade rights for oil money


Documents reveal the latest federally-driven efforts to curb First Nations treaties for fossil fuel gains. The Working Group on Natural Resource Development is engaged in contentious talks with the Assembly of First Nations (AFN), pinned with coercing First Nations into supporting pipeline and fossil fuel-driven projects. The federally-backed council, accused of “pushing First Nations to sideline their aboriginal rights in exchange for business opportunities,” began coordinating meetings with Chiefs, oil industry and business sector representatives as early as fall 2014. Heavily criticized by Indigenous grassroots activists, the Harper administration faces numerous accusations of weeding out First Nations interests and fast-tracking proceedings like the application period for Energy East pipeline hearings, which ended yesterday. The highly polluting proposed pipeline would cut through over 50 First Nations territories from Saskatchewan through New Brunswick.



MT @CreeClayton Plz RT! @pmharper government pushing #FirstNations to give up land rights for oil and gas profits http://gu.com/p/469kn/stw


Key Points

  • Implications of pipelines to First Nations and wider communities are far too devastating. Pipeline projects such as Energy East — the largest to ever be built in North America — cuts through over 50 First Nations and the most populated regions in Canada, navigating through many major cities. Energy East also risks generating up to 32 million tonnes of additional greenhouse gas emissions each year in Canada.
  • Rights cannot be leveraged as a bargaining chip when pushing forward fossil fuel projects. Many First Nations raised concerns that the NEB along with other federal bodies have failed to take their concerns into account about the implications pipelines and other fossil fuel driven projects on their communities. By attempting to buy First Nations out with oil and gas money, the Harper administration has failed to understand their needs — guaranteed health and safety for the people and the environment.
  • Climate leadership is more diverse than ever as its moral imperative is thrust forward. Around the world, Catholics are fasting for the climate during Lent, investors are urging big oil to face up to climate risk, and marginalized communities facing the greatest impacts are leveraging their rights to defend society at large. As diverse voices from across the country continue calling on their leaders act on climate this April, provincial premiers will be expected to step up and put their money where their mouth is.



Tools & Resources


Key Quote

  • “The Harper government and resource corporations are keenly aware that Indigenous rights movements are standing in the way of their polluting, destructive projects” – Clayton Thomas Mueller, Indigenous Extreme Energy Campaigner with 350.org

More Tweets

  • @Martin_Lukacs Documents: Harper pushing First Nations to shelve rights, buy-into resource rush | Martin Lukacs http://gu.com/p/469kn/stw