First Nations particularly vulnerable to COVID-19

All levels of governments need to work together to develop a detailed strategy for dealing with COVID-19 among Indigenous communities

First Nations particularly vulnerable to COVID-19The federal government has a mixed record on helping Indigenous communities deal with health issues. In the case of COVID-19, Ottawa must get it right. For many reasons, Indigenous communities are a perfect storm for this kind of outbreak. In 2009, during the height of the swine flu epidemic, Health Canada came under hot water…

Churchill pipeline a rare opportunity for Indigenous

Getting communities engaged in a potential project would allow the northern region to take control of its economic destiny

Churchill pipeline a rare opportunity for IndigenousA pipeline to the Port of Churchill would revitalize the long-neglected economies of northern Manitoba and northern Saskatchewan. But the ultimate success of this proposed project to Churchill, Man., will depend on the involvement and support of Indigenous communities in Manitoba and Saskatchewan. This alternate route to get oil to ocean tankers was proposed when…

Killing resource projects hurts Indigenous communities

For economic reconciliation with Indigenous communities, we need consistent and stable policies for the resource sector

Killing resource projects hurts Indigenous communitiesThe decision by Teck Resources to withdraw its application for the Frontier oil sands project could risk future opportunities for Indigenous communities if it leads to more resource companies declining to invest in Canadian resource projects. Although Teck stated officially that the decision to withdraw was prompted by controversies surrounding Canada’s climate policies, Teck’s decision…

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…

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…

Indigenous tourism is relatively untouched but the potential is vast

First Nations should take an inventory of their cultural, spiritual and ecological assets, then develop ways to present them to tourists

Indigenous tourism is relatively untouched but the potential is vastMany years ago, I learned an important lesson about tourism while travelling on Via Rail. As a first-class passenger, I enjoyed sitting in the dome car, where I could get a full view of the countryside. At one point, I zoned out and someone was trying to get my attention. Pointing outside, he gestured at…

Notley’s use of ‘mansplaining’ slurs all men

The Alberta premier really shouldn't be touted as a role model for young girls

Notley’s use of ‘mansplaining’ slurs all menAlberta Premier Rachel Notley must apologize to all Albertans for engaging in sexist gender stereotyping in the legislature. Instead, she’s taking a page from the state representative who seemed to think it best to make light about the perpetuation of anti-Semitic stereotyping in the Oklahoma legislature. In 2013, Oklahoma State Rep. Dennis Johnson got into hot water…

Don’t rely on governments to spur technological breakthroughs

Governments only role should be to ensure that intellectual property (IP) rights are protected

Don’t rely on governments to spur technological breakthroughsHuman ingenuity – often motivated by profit – is generally miles ahead of government regulations in resolving problems in society. Take, for example, the issue of orphan wells in Alberta. In September 2016, the Alberta Energy Regulator said there were 84,100 inactive oil and gas wells in the province. The collapse of oil prices and…

Give First Nations priority access to marijuana industry

Indigenous communities should have the same access that private sector parties are demanding

Give First Nations priority access to marijuana industryThe legalization of marijuana in Canada in July 2018 gives the federal government an opportunity to bring communities – including Indigenous ones – into this lucrative sector in a big way. For example, Manitoba’s Opaskwayak Cree Nation recently took a major stake in a medical marijuana company. OCN purchased $3 million in shares in National…