OTTAWA – A new report prepared by the Boreal Leadership Council suggests ways to secure the free and prior consent (FPIC) of indigenous people before beginning development projects in Canada.
Sometimes it seems the courts and aboriginal community are averse to development. Certainly, the withholding of consent can threaten projects. But when all parties stand to benefit, and community rights are respected, new development can profit everyone involved.
Government, industry and the indigenous community have a role to play in moving forward. The Boreal Council’s report makes the following recommendations:
- The federal government can focus on developing, in collaboration with aboriginal governments, a legal framework for strategic level and application level collaborative decision making processes. It can provide consistent funding for the development of capacity for Indigenous communities to strengthen lands stewardship.
- Industry can engage with Indigenous communities to understand and support their preferred engagement protocols, culture, values, and rights. Through this understanding they can build working relationships by establishing impact benefit agreements (IBAs) to guide project development and management. Importantly, they can also support the review of projects through community controlled research, in particular on the traditional knowledge and use of the indigenous peoples in the region or other studies identified as key by the affected Nation.
- Indigenous communities can aim to set their FPIC frameworks collaboratively with the appropriate governments to create clear expectations regarding land use planning or decision protocols, where this is feasible. There is also the need to further strengthen governance capacity internally, creating implementation units or departments to oversee negotiations and project implementation with government and industry.
The Boreal Leadership Council (BorealCouncil.ca) is supported by Goldcorp, Suncor and several First Nations, as well as banking, forestry and environmental groups.
Brian W Raymond, BSc, MSc, PEng retired
All this is another excuse to stall economic development which would benefit all of us. Native indians do not have soul interest “in mother earth”. . All they want is more funding. Their level of expertice is pittifully inadequate resulting in nothing but huge amounts of money being wasted. It is graft and corruption that prevents project development and causes capital to flow from Canada. I worked my whole life building in the coal and oilsands industries only to watch left wing liars destroy jobs. Our governments have left industry powerless to do anything but subscribe to the bullying and bribery.