Canada must re-establish itself as an energy superpower

While the Americans were acting in their own economic self-interest, our leaders were undermining our national energy interests

Canada must re-establish itself as an energy superpowerCanada needs renewed federal leadership to support our energy sector, given its importance to the entire economy. And all provinces and territories must come together in this effort. If not, Canada will continue to see the sector fall behind the United States and other larger powers. We will lose our traditional position as a strong…

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…

We need to liberate Indigenous entrepreneurs

Talented, ambitious and resourceful Indigenous people continue to face systemic obstacles to start businesses

We need to liberate Indigenous entrepreneursA Winnipeg-area Indigenous entrepreneur might hold the key to Indigenous peoples controlling their response to the COVID-19 pandemic. His experience also underscores why it’s so important to unshackle the Indigenous business community and entrepreneurial sector from restrictions imposed by the Indian Act, as well as other non-legislative barriers. Josh Giesbrecht is president and co-founder of…

Let Quebecers decide the fate of a national pipeline

Confederation was designed as an economic union from sea to sea, linked by infrastructure that crosses provincial borders

Let Quebecers decide the fate of a national pipelineDuring the recent French and English language debates for the Conservative leadership, one of the two leading candidates accused the other of wanting to impose an oil pipeline on Quebec without its consent. Erin O’Toole, the Conservative MP for Durham, Ont., articulated his vision for a national energy corridor throughout Canada. He was then accused…

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…

Digital links offer meaningful Indigenous reconciliation

We can adapt the newest technologies to improve the quality of life in the most remote of First Nations communities

Digital links offer meaningful Indigenous reconciliationImproved technology may be the key to improving Indigenous communities in remote regions. Perhaps the next stage in Indigenous reconciliation is a form of digital reconciliation that helps bring these communities much closer to the mainstream economy and society through technology. In fact, observers are seeing the potential of technology intended to assist mainly isolated…

Indigenous communities offer pandemic lessons

The resilience of remote First Nations in the face of outbreaks may encourage changes in how we plan and manage living spaces

Indigenous communities offer pandemic lessonsIndigenous communities have so far been spared from the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic. So Indigenous communities may provide some insights to other Canadian communities on how to avoid the worst of these outbreaks. As of June 2, Indigenous Services Canada reported there were 219 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Indigenous communities across Canada. Official…

Northern Manitoba alienation must be addressed

Pushing for redrawn borders may force the province to address the unique economic and infrastructure needs of the region

Northern Manitoba alienation must be addressedManitoba Premier Brian Pallister recently threw cold water on the notion of Western Canada separation, saying good relationships aren’t built on threats to leave. But Pallister has similar issues on his own doorstep: Northern Manitoba alienation is real and the government must take it seriously. Last year, the Frontier Centre for Public Policy initiated a landmark…

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…

Indigenous communities should tap into the medical tourism market

The James Smith Cree Nation could create what would be Saskatchewan’s first private-pay MRI facility

Indigenous communities should tap into the medical tourism marketA First Nation community about 70 kilometres southeast of Prince Albert, Sask., hopes to generate profit within five years from a private MRI clinic. The James Smith Cree Nation could create what would be the province’s first private-pay MRI facility. This became possible when the Saskatchewan government passed legislation in 2016 allowing for such facilities…

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…