Wednesday, November 27, 2019

British Columbia becomes 1st Canadian province to pass UN Indigenous rights declaration

Driving the Barnet Hwy

While driving the Barnet Highway a couple of days ago I glanced towards the waters of the Burrard Inlet to my right and saw the recent explosion of construction down the mountainside which is the property of the Trans Mountain Pipeline Expansion [TMX].  A construction yard is being cleared from the treed mountainside and pipeline materials are being stacked up and stored.  Everything is good to go for the TMX.

Barnet Hwy runs along the coast at the top of this map

The only fly in the ointment, as my mother would have said, are the pending legal decisions regarding the indigenous appeals to the various decisions granting TMX the right to expand the port into Burrard Inlet to allow a gridlock of huge oil tankers to parade endlessly back and forth from English Bay, through Coal Harbour, under the Second Narrows Bridge and to the TMX Port...then circle around and depart towards the Pacific Ocean the same way.  If this project is allowed to proceed as designed...the Vancouver lower mainland will never be the same.  Goodbye to the marine animals, goodbye to the fish, goodbye to recreational enjoyment of the inlet, including boating and sailing.  It will all be gone forever.

It's not the first time the citizens of Canada looked to the first nations and their rights to save us from an apocalypse.  The last time was the Meech Lake Constitutional "Accord" which would, if passed, have given Quebec "distinct society" [whatever that meant] status within Canada.  There would have been two levels of Canadian citizens.  Thank Gawd that indigenous Manitoba MLA Elijah Harper sat in his seat when the vote was put to the Manitoba legislature.  That lone objection saved Canada.

Now British Columbians are looking again to First Nations to save us from certain provincial death.  Here is the tool that is going to be used as reported in this morning's globalnews.  Please read and I will have more comments to follow:

British Columbia has become the first jurisdiction in Canada to pass legislation implementing the United Nations Declaration on Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP). The legislation, dubbed Bill 41, passed the committee stage and third reading at the B.C. legislature unanimously on Tuesday, to cheers and applause from MLAs on both sides of the house.

Earlier Tuesday, Indigenous leaders urged the opposition BC Liberals to support the bill, after it appeared to be stalled in committee. The legislature is scheduled to end its current session on Thursday, and if the bill did not pass by then. it would have died on the order paper.

The bill must receive Royal Assent, which is expected to take place Thursday, before coming into force. However, its impact will not be felt immediately. The legislation is designed to ensure that all B.C. laws are consistent with the 46 articles of the UNDRIP, a process expected to take some time.

The legislation requires that Indigenous peoples are included in all decision making that impacts their rights.

It also calls for a government action plan on how the objectives of the declaration are being met, which will require annual reporting. 
The legislation, which will apply to all existing and yet to be introduced legislation, was developed in collaboration with the First Nations Leadership Council at the direction of First Nations.

This legislation creates a framework for reconciliation in B.C., in keeping with the Calls to Action of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

Among the most controversial provisions in the declaration is the requirement for all projects on Indigenous territories to receive consent from those communities.
Critics have warned that this provision could amount to a veto on resource projects.

Premier John Horgan has rejected that characterization, saying that the provision is instead an important tool to require conversations and consultation with Indigenous peoples about projects that will affect them."

Greencrow says:  Anyone who pretends that this legislation is not a direct response and challenge to the TMX proposed "mortal wound" project is lying.   As they say: "In politics, Timing is Everything". and that certainly applies here.  It's just weeks if not days before the decisions of the latest Indigenous appeals will be handed down.  Certainly the federal judges tasked with the decision will take into account this latest legislation.  It is interesting to note that this BC decision is NOT yet being reported in the National News.  Can we all say "ostrich"?

What annoys me is how lilly-livered the British Columbian government has been in making its visceral opposition to TMX known to the rest of Canada.  I believe Premier John Horgan thinks he can calmly finesse his way out of this.  Personally, I believe that the Rest of Canada needs to know what a death blow TMX will be to this province.  Perhaps they do know but don't care.  Perhaps that's it.

Alberta is dependant on a dinosaur resource and is ripping its territory and environment to shreds for a few thousand temporary jobs...with most of the profit being shipped, along with the bitumen, to refineries in Texas.  Because of their loud lobbying in Ottawa, including laughable threats to leave Confederation...British Columbia needs to be destroyed.  Not gonna happen, folks.  We've just signed into law a UN declaration...promising the world that it WON'T happen.

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