First Nations spending accountability is essential

Forward-looking Indigenous governments realize that transparency is the only way to improved social and economic conditions

First Nations spending accountability is essentialIt’s distressing that Indigenous activist Harrison Thunderchild has been forced to go to court to make leaders of Saskatchewan’s Thunderchild First Nation disclose expenditures. Parliament passed the First Nations Financial Transparency Act in 2013, when the Conservatives were in power. The law made chief and band council salaries and benefits public information, as well as…

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…

Entrenched dependence one of the worst legacies of the Indian Act

Bands under the oversight of the act should take steps toward financial self-sufficiency now, in preparation for eventual self-government

Entrenched dependence one of the worst legacies of the Indian ActSplitting Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada (INAC) into two departments means one will be in charge of negotiations with First Nation communities and the other will be responsible for service delivery. Presumably that means the negotiating department can focus on signing self-governing arrangements with more bands under the Indian Act. As a result, the economic future…

Indigenous department changes herald an important new beginning

The federal government must ensure that dividing the department into two helps bands negotiate self-government and create own-source revenue streams

Indigenous department changes herald an important new beginningRecent changes at Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada are causing consternation across indigenous communities, and with other Canadians. The decision to split the department in two, one part overseeing Crown-indigenous relations and the other overseeing service delivery to communities, comes right out of the 20-year-old report of the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples (RCAP), which…

Andrew Scheer must put First Nations issues back on the agenda

The new Conservative leader can do much to advance indigenous issues and the national agenda – and get his party elected in 2019

Andrew Scheer must put First Nations issues back on the agendaIndigenous issues didn’t play a large part in the recent federal Conservative leadership race. They were mentioned but took a back seat to other matters. But Conservatives must understand that indigenous issues are of vital concern to all Canadians. For instance, candidates devoted considerable time debating TransCanada’s Energy East and Enbridge’s Northern Gateway pipeline projects. Energy…

B.C. Greens should support Site C dam, for all British Columbians

Aboriginal rights are extremely important but, like any Charter right, they’re not absolute. They must be balanced against other competing critical interests

B.C. Greens should support Site C dam, for all British ColumbiansBy Kenneth Green and Joseph Quesnel The Fraser Institute Given the desire for green energy, you would think a Green Party leader would support more hydro power for Vancouver. Or for export to the United States and Alberta, which would allow Alberta to reduce emissions. That would mean the Site C Dam, a hydroelectric project under development…

Ring of Fire: burning down a rare economic opportunity

First Nations can’t veto development in northern Ontario. They must engage in good faith, just like business and governments, and not squander this opportunity

Ring of Fire: burning down a rare economic opportunityBy Joseph Quesnel and Kenneth Green The Fraser Institute It’s often said that successful First Nations must operate at the speed of business, not the speed of government. That certainly applies to First Nations affected by the Ring of Fire mining proposal. Long delays and lack of communication between governments and the nine First Nation communities…