The UN’s Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination has urged Canada to stop work on three major resource projects – including the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion, the Coastal GasLink pipeline and the Site C dam – until it obtains approval from affected First Nations.
Both the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP) and the Alberta government have responded, noting that the committee is ignoring the fact that Canada has a robust consultation process and that the majority of First Nations groups affected have supported projects such as Trans Mountain Expansion pipeline and the Coastal GasLink natural gas pipeline.
Shannon Joseph, Vice-President of Government Relations issued the following statement on behalf of CAPP:
The statement by the United Nations’ Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination reflects an embarrassing ignorance of Canadian law and consultation processes that have been developed over the past 30 years. Canada has an in-depth consultation process required by law to protect the constitutionally protected rights of Indigenous peoples.
All three projects in question underwent extensive review and consultation in accordance with these Canadian laws.
The UN Committee has also failed to recognize that a significant number of Indigenous communities along the route of the Trans Mountain expansion pipeline and all 20 Indigenous communities on the Coastal Gaslink route have exercised their sole discretion in signing agreements with the project proponents.
These projects are vital to those communities in exercising their right to develop their resources, and provide jobs and economic opportunities for generations to come.
We wish that the UN would pay as much attention to the majority of First Nation groups that support important projects such as Trans Mountain and Coastal GasLink.
First Nations leaders increasingly recognize that responsible natural resource development can serve as a path from poverty to prosperity for their people. Yet this UN body seemingly ignores these voices.
Canada’s duly elected representatives – not unaccountable international committees – are responsible for governing decisions in this country.