Canada: Thomas Walkom: B.C. pipeline unable to navigate maze of Indigenous politics - PressFrom - Canada

CanadaThomas Walkom: B.C. pipeline unable to navigate maze of Indigenous politics

22:06  10 january  2019
22:06  10 january  2019 Source:

Manitoba snow maze on track to break world record

Manitoba snow maze on track to break world record For the past month, the staff at A Maze in Corn have been crafting their latest challenge -- a 4,200 ft long snow maze. The attraction is set to open Saturday.

Thomas Walkom is national affairs columnist for the Toronto Star. Prior to his current position, he was the Star's Queen's Park columnist covering Ontario politics for eight years, including the governments of Premiers Bob Rae and Mike Harris.

But it is really about the right of Indigenous peoples to override economic development decisions made by elected federal and provincial governments. Canadians like to maintain the useful fiction that their Supreme Court judges ignore politics . Thomas Walkom appears Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

Thomas Walkom: B.C. pipeline unable to navigate maze of Indigenous politics© CHAD HIPOLITO Chief Madeek, hereditary leader of the Gidimt'en clan talks with supporters of the Unist'ot'en camp and Wet'suwet'en people near a checkpoint camp fire off a logging near Houston, B.C., on Wednesday.

Editor’s note: The opinions in this article are the author’s, as published by our content partner, and do not necessarily represent the views of MSN or Microsoft.

When plans were announced last October to build a $40 billion liquefied natural gas project in British Columbia, Justin Trudeau couldn’t contain his glee.

“It is a vote of confidence in a country that recognizes the need to develop our energy in a way that takes the environment into account and that works in a meaningful partnership with Indigenous communities,” the prime minister said in Vancouver.

Manitoba snow maze pushing for world record is officially open

Manitoba snow maze pushing for world record is officially open Manitoba snow maze pushing for world record is officially open

The decision comes at a time when the Trudeau Liberals are struggling with the NAFTA fiasco, Thomas Walkom writes. The Federal Court of Appeal ruled that the government’s National Energy Board failed to take into account the effect of increased tanker traffic on B . C . coastal communities.

The Indigenous and Tribal Peoples Convention, 1989 is an International Labour Organization Convention, also known as ILO-convention 169, or C 169. It is the major binding international convention concerning indigenous peoples

B.C. Premier John Horgan was equally chuffed. “This is a spectacular day for British Columbia,” he said. “I can’t stop smiling.”

Indeed, it seemed that the project’s proponents had managed to successfully navigate the shoals of both Indigenous and environmental politics.

First Nation band councils along the proposed natural gas pipeline route, from northeastern B.C. to Kitimat on the Pacific coast, had given their consent.

And while B.C.’s Greens, who hold the balance of power in the provincial legislature, remained opposed, they were not threatening to bring down Horgan’s minority New Democratic Party government over the issue.

After years of stalemate over pipelines, it seemed that Canada had finally managed to come up with an energy project that could proceed.

Massive Manitoba snow maze vying for world record

Massive Manitoba snow maze vying for world record A massive snow maze just south of Winnipeg may just be the biggest the world has ever seen. The maze, located about 25 kilometres south of Winnipeg near St. Adolphe, officially opened Saturday at A Maze in Corn. "It's been a huge excitement to build it," said Clint Masse, who owns A Maze in Corn with his family and spent the last three weeks with a crew of nine building the structure. The maze was created using roughly 300 truck-loads of snow, and features 4,200-feet of tightly-packed snow walls. Watch as maze-goers try to get through the maze on opening day: And it's big — really big.

The pipelines would cross nearly 800 streams and rivers, and oil tankers would have to navigate rough waters and The Save The Fraser Declaration is a document of indigenous law, banning the Northern Gateway pipeline , and any " Walkom : Northern Gateway pipeline faces 'unbreakable' wall".

But pipelines remain the political focus. That may not be much mathematically. But at a time when Canada is unable to meet its self-imposed carbon-reduction targets, it does represent movement in Even the B . C . government is washing its hands of that pipeline . But Energy East is an easier sell.

But as this week’s events have demonstrated, in the world of Canadian pipeline politics nothing is ever really settled.

A few dozen protestors representing the hereditary chiefs of the Wet’suwet’en set up a blockade on one part of the proposed pipeline route to remind Canada’s governments that while their First Nation’s elected band council may have agreed to accept the project, they had not.

By Thursday, the protestors had come to a tentative agreement with the RCMP to temporarily lift their illegal blockade.

But the fundamental questions raised by their actions remain unresolved. Who speaks for Indigenous communities? What happens when, as in the case of the Wet’suwet’en, elected representatives and hereditary leaders disagree?

And while the Supreme Court has ruled that Indigenous communities do not have a formal veto over resource developments affecting their lands, does the constitutional requirement that they be meaningfully consulted beforehand amount to the same thing?

Indigenous convoys slow Ontario highway traffic in solidarity with B.C. pipeline protest

Indigenous convoys slow Ontario highway traffic in solidarity with B.C. pipeline protest Two convoys of vehicles slowed traffic on stretches of Canada's busiest highway Friday morning in Ontario in a show of solidarity with an anti-pipeline protest in British Columbia. One rolled westbound from the eastern part of the province, while the other began in southwestern Ontario and headed east. Both left before dawn and disrupted traffic during the morning rush hour. One fleet left from the Mohawk Nation at Akwesasne, about 86 kilometres southeast of Ottawa, and travelled about 50 km/h as it moved toward Belleville, Ont.

Before the civil war, two competing pipelines put forward by Qatar and Iran aimed to transport gas to Europe through Syria. It was hoped the pipeline would provide cheaper access to Europe but Syrian President Bashar al Assad refused to give permission for the pipeline to go through his territory.

Like many federal New Democrats, he walks a delicate line on pipelines , praising both Alberta NDP Premier Rachel Notley (who wants a heavy-oil pipeline from Indeed, Singh already appears to have significant support in B . C ., where he is backed by three New Democrat MPs and eight sitting MLAs.

Like many First Nations, the Wet’suwet’en have two parallel political structures. The traditional one is based on clans headed by hereditary chiefs. The elected one, authorized under the Indian Act, is democratically chosen by all First Nation members.

In this case, the hereditary chiefs argue they have jurisdiction over all unceded Wet’suwet’en land outside the reserve’s settlement proper.

The elected council clearly disagrees.

The situation is further complicated by the fact that no treaty has ever been signed between the Wet’suwet’en and the Crown. The Supreme Court ruled in 1997 that the Wet’suwet’en retain Aboriginal title to their traditional lands. But the scope of that title has never been determined.

All of this came to a head last year over plans to construct a new pipeline that would bring natural gas to the B.C. coast. The gas would then be cooled to a liquefied form and loaded on tankers bound for Asia.

The so-called LNG scheme is deemed environmentally superior to the proposed Trans Mountain pipeline expansion, which is designed to bring bitumen from the Alberta oilsands to Burnaby on the Pacific coast.

That’s because any leak in either the gas pipeline or tankers would simply release natural gas into the air, leaving land and water unfouled.

Proponents for the B.C. gas pipeline won the support of all 20 First Nations along the proposed route — or at least thought they had.

As part of the deal, Trans Canada Corp., the pipeline’s builder, tentatively awarded contracts worth $620 million to various First Nation businesses in northern B.C.

But no one got the Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs onside. And now the once-lauded LNG project — Trudeau’s only energy success story — has become a cause célèbre across Canada, painted by critics as yet another example of this country’s ill-treatment of its original residents.

Thomas Walkom is a Toronto-based columnist covering politics. Follow him on Twitter: @tomwalkom

Oilpatch CEOs support Indigenous bid for Trans Mountain.
Some oilpatch CEOs are supporting a bid by Indigenous groups in Western Canada to purchase the Trans Mountain pipeline and the proposed expansion project. Indigenous leaders are in Calgary this week to find consensus on what type of ownership and management system would be ideal. The Indian Resources Council (IRC) is behind the potential bid and said the majority of its 134 member First Nations are interested in an ownership stake.

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