First Nations and Right-of-Ways

Blog, Aboriginal Futures, Les Routledge

Dianne Francis has posted an article that calls for expediting the settlement of Aboriginal land claims.

I cannot agree more with this call.  The cost to business, the economy and First Nations from dragging this process out only favours layers and consultants.  Canada should seek to never repeat the 40+ year delay associated with approving projects like the MacKenzie Valley Pipeline.

A former Premier of the NWT makes an important observation when it comes to expediting the approval of significant infrastructure and energy projects like pipelines.

“The Government of Canada has a perfect right to approve a right of way and take the land. Certain people [First Nations holdouts] and special interests will never want to move ahead, but they shouldn’t be able to manipulate the system when everyone else suffers.”

When it comes to key infrastructure corridors, the federal government should take steps to assume full responsibility to consult with Aboriginal communities and reach a fair and equitable settlement.  Taking this action would relieve private business from spending huge sums of money to deal with an issue that rightly belongs in the domain of the federal government.

Once and for all, the Government of Canada has to take immediate steps to clarify title to land rights across the country.  This action should be 100% of their responsibility instead of being offloaded to private companies who are not equipped to deal with that action.