Focus on the merit of ideas, not identity politics

The Yellowhead Institute, a new think-tank focusing on Indigenous issues, needs to broaden its perspective

Focus on the merit of ideas, not identity politicsFormer U.S. president Barack Obama was in South Africa recently delivering a speech where he was widely praised for issuing a caution to those who embrace identity politics. “We’re able … to get inside the reality of people who are different from us so we can understand their point of view,” Obama said. “And you…

Integrate Canada’s forgotten Indigenous into the urban mainstream

We need to follow the example set by New Zealand, which gave the Māori the help they needed, while allowing them to preserve their culture

In 2013, the people of the small outport community of Little Bay Islands, N.L., had to make a very emotional decision. The local economy had completely dried up. The crab processing plant had closed and the community was far away from government public services. Looking at its bleak prospects, the people of the small community…

Indigenous rights are not absolute

Public policy discourse needs to move away from where Indigenous issues are paramount to where they’re one set among many

Indigenous rights are not absoluteIndigenous people too often seem to think that their rights are absolute or act as if their rights trump everything else. This attitude was seen clearly in a reaction from the Saskatchewan-based Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations (FSIN) after the Saskatchewan government changed the policy regarding when people can hunt on summer pasture lands. All…

Two visions of mining for Manitoba

A path that includes meaningful consultation with Indigenous groups is destined to move development forward

Two visions of mining for ManitobaThere are two visions of engaging with First Nations on mining projects in Manitoba. The first will likely lead to considerable opposition and increased delays. The second focuses on meaningful consultation with Indigenous groups and is destined to move development forward. One can only hope that policy-makers adopt the latter vision and reject the former.…

New hope for Canada’s freshwater fishers

The end of Canada's federal marketing monopoly opens new doors around the world

New hope for Canada’s freshwater fishersMany people expected that the end of the Freshwater Fish Marketing Corp. (FFMC) monopoly would lead to a disaster in Manitoba. It has not, fortunately. In fact, this move by the federal government may revitalize the Indigenous commercial fisheries in the northern part of the province. Manitoba commercial fishers sell about $60 million worth of…

What do environmentalists have against the world’s poor?

They’re only preventing oil and gas products from getting to economies that need them the most

What do environmentalists have against the world’s poor?The last few years have not been good for pipeline projects in Canada. The Keystone XL pipeline continues to be plagued by delays, TransCanada made big news by axing the Energy East pipeline and Kinder Morgan has cut spending on the critical Trans Mountain expansion project to protect its shareholders. After each pipeline setback, oil…

Fracking moratoriums hold back struggling provinces

Across Canada, misguided populism is creating bad public policy, preventing the spreading of economic benefits to all citizens

Fracking moratoriums hold back struggling provincesMisguided moratoriums on hydraulic fracturing deny have-not provinces much-needed jobs and revenue, and deny citizens opportunities to relieve too-heavy tax burdens. British Columbia is the latest victim of the frenzy against fracking, a technique used to extract oil and gas from rock formations that has been safely used in Western Canada for more than 60…

Trans Mountain a pipeline to prosperity and stability

First Nations support pipelines, including Trans Mountain. Abandoning the project will be a severe blow to those communities

Trans Mountain a pipeline to prosperity and stabilityBy Joseph Quesnel and Kenneth Green The Fraser Institute Alberta Premier Rachel Notley forgot one group of Canadians when she cheered a recent court ruling relating to the $7.4-billion Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project. “It wasn’t that we won the decision, it was the court wouldn’t even hear it. So, it was a pretty definitive…

The fractured thinking behind Nova Scotia’s fracking ban

The ban on hydraulic fracturing defies science that says the practice is safe. And it means turning away from billions in profits

The fractured thinking behind Nova Scotia’s fracking banNova Scotia's wrong-headed ban on fracking denies the province a golden economic opportunity. Hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, is used to extract oil and gas from deep underground rock formations. Fluid is injected into formations with enough pressure to fracture the oil-and-gas-bearing rock. The Nova Scotia Energy Department has been told that the province sits on…

How to unleash Indigenous entrepreneurial potential

Chief Reginald Bellerose of Muskowekwan encourages First Nations to find the correct balance between politics and business

How to unleash Indigenous entrepreneurial potentialTo Chief Reginald Bellerose of Muskowekwan First Nation in southern Saskatchewan, the wave of the future belongs to Indigenous entrepreneurship. “Our entrepreneurial spirit has been dormant. We must re-ignite that spirit,” said Bellerose, the 13-year chief of the small Anishinaabe community on Treaty 4 territory. For the 49-year-old, the key is changing laws to unleash…

Time to get serious about water quality in First Nation communities

Solving this seemingly intractable problem should be quite simple, but simply increasing funding will only make the problems worse

Time to get serious about water quality in First Nation communitiesPondering the crisis so many First Nations communities face over water quality, you can’t help but think of The Rime of the Ancient Mariner by Samuel Taylor Coleridge: “Water, water, everywhere, Nor any drop to drink.” The ironic dilemma of the mariner is obvious in more than 90 per cent of Canada’s First Nations communities. Most…

Electric vehicles pose a dilemma of conscience

When we consider the source of electricity, the invasive nature of copper mining for batteries and components, and other factors, the jury is out

Electric vehicles pose a dilemma of conscienceIn the push to normalize electric vehicles, many forget it’s not the end of the road as far as environmental impact is concerned. Presumably, those using electric vehicles or hybrids are motivated by a desire to improve the environment, especially by reducing carbon emissions into the atmosphere. Many owners of these vehicles derive satisfaction and…

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…