First Nations need safe drinking water now

The government should be bolder on reform commitments and less grandiose in its promises

First Nations need safe drinking water nowCanada and its Indigenous communities should finally commit this year to making the systemic reforms needed to ensure First Nations drinking water standards are the same as the rest of the country. For starters, Indigenous communities ought to experiment with more regional water authority agreements to deliver safe drinking water. In late 2020, Indigenous Services…

The horrible cost of constantly punting Indigenous claims to court

Governments have more resources and delays can drag on for years. Indigenous peoples pay heavily for the delays in resolving their claims

The horrible cost of constantly punting Indigenous claims to courtAt any given time, the government of Canada is dealing with hundreds of legal matters with Indigenous Canadians. This is inevitable given the complexity of Indigenous rights, the history of Canadian policy and patterns of government ‘lawlessness’ that left the country liable for the administrative misdeeds of the past 150-plus years. The number, diversity and…

Below-normal temperatures lead to soaring spot LNG prices

But opposition to resource development means Canada is being left out in the cold

Below-normal temperatures lead to soaring spot LNG pricesExtreme cold weather and mismatched supply and demand have pushed spot prices for liquefied natural gas (LNG) in Asia through the roof. Bloomberg reports that LNG spot prices went from “almost to zero” in April 2020 to above US$30 per one million British thermal unit (MMBtu), rising “18-fold in less than nine months.” Prices in…

Time to come to terms with Canada’s original sin

Separating one racial group of people from the rest of the nation and expecting a good result was madness then and is madness now

Time to come to terms with Canada’s original sinCanadians are watching protests on American streets that stem in part from their history of slavery. That original sin dogs America and tears at its soul. But Canada, too, has an original sin. And that’s our history with Indigenous people. It’s not that Canada treated Indigenous people poorly. (It did treat them poorly but that’s…

Indigenous communities see ocean of opportunity in oil and gas

Indigenous communities see ocean of opportunity in oil and gasEditor’s note: Indigenous communities across Canada are learning how to prosper in a new era of co-operation in oil and gas development. Setting aside old grievances, industry, government and First Nations communities are working together to ensure that, as equal partners, Canada’s Indigenous peoples enjoy employment and sustainable growth trickles down to them. In this…

First Nations face deep pandemic risks

The terrible COVID-19 experience of Native American communities clearly carries lessons for Canada’s First Nations

First Nations face deep pandemic risksCanadians have seen the harm the COVID-19 pandemic is doing to Native American communities in the United States, knowing it could happen to Indigenous peoples here. The infection and death rates for many Native American communities is much higher than mainstream communities. The American Indian Studies Center at the University of California published a graphic…

Indigenous communities take COVID-19 measures into own hands

Local responses to pandemic are a necessity to protect people at higher risk of infectious diseases – and a strong assertion of sovereignty, says U of A expert

Indigenous communities take COVID-19 measures into own handsOn the federal government’s Indigenous Services web page, the first piece of information about COVID-19 is advice on how to wash your hands if you’re under a drinking water advisory. This highlights the multiple factors that influence Indigenous health outcomes in times of disease, said Jessica Kolopenuk, a researcher in the University of Alberta’s Faculty of Native…

How First Nations communities can balance governance

How First Nations communities can balance governanceThe Indigenous commitment to democracy is at stake in the recent memorandum of understanding signed between the Wet’suwet’en, the province of British Columbia and the federal government. A majority of the elected Wet’suwet’en chiefs were incensed about the agreement, insisting the signing be postponed until they were consulted. While the elected chiefs were justified in…

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…

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…