NDP MLA and aboriginal affairs critic, Doug Donaldson says he agrees with UN special rapporteur, James Anaya who told media this week the federal government “probably” shouldn’t go forward with the Enbridge pipeline.
“I think that’s a black eye [for the government] because we see the UN, especially in their human rights capacity being a well-respected body throughout the world and they are pointing out the issues that first Nations and other in the Northwest have had concerns about for years.”
In his report on the treatment of Aboriginal people in Canada Anaya talked about the need to gain free, prior and informed consent from First Nations before green lighting projects like the pipeline.
Donaldson agrees, he says before any major resource development goes ahead B.C. residents and First Nations need to be effectively consulted.
Anaya did warn that while everyone has the right to consent, no First Nation has the right to block something unilaterally.
Donaldson says it’s true, there is no veto in the constitution for First Nations to reject projects outright but he says many are interested in the right development opportunities for their territories.