Oil sands emissions must be tamed

So, a young person by the name of Salina Mathur wrote to the Sudbury Star about Neil Young’s tour and oil sands emissions. Naturally the climate change deniers came out in droves.


I got one post on there, but subsequent replies to people have disappeared so I can only assume they’re not getting past the moderator for whatever reason.

I’m trying to respond to a question from there, here.

“craig” asked “How are we not honouring treaties? And be specific”

Well, Craig…

Your question is almost overwhelming. The problems in Canada are systemic and have been since Canada became a country.

One example is the Manitoba Act, negotiated between the Red River Metis and the government of Canada to bring Manitoba (such as it was at the time) into Canada. Canada failed quite intentionally to fulfil its side of the bargain, the facts of which came out in the Supreme Court case won by the Manitoba Metis Federation earlier this year.

There are many other examples if you care to look. I can’t possibly detail them all for you here.

From CBC news;

“Since 1974, the federal government has paid compensation totalling over $2.6 billion to settle 343 specific claims. Hundreds of other claims are still outstanding.”


343 cases where people had the wherewithal to sue Canada to make it live up to its agreements.  $2.6-billion in settlements.  Aside from the settlements, what are the costs to engage in those cases and the hundreds of cases still outstanding?  And aside from the costs, is this how we want the government that represents us as Canadians to deal with people?  It certainly isn’t how I deal with people, either personally or professionally.

I am from BC, mostly not treaty territory. But to choose just one shameful example from here as a demonstration of the sort of thing that goes on, consider the Cheslatta Carrier Nation.  They were given 2 weeks notice (some sources say 10 days) before their homes were bulldozed and burned to make way for construction of the Murray Dam in 1952.  You can read about it here. (PDF) http://caid.ca/RRCAP1.11.pdf

So that was from the 1950s.  How about now?  Again I’ll use local examples because it’s easy for me, I’m familiar with them so don’t have to look up stuff.

BC just went through a public engagement process for new water laws.  The First Nations submissions to that process unanimously decried the process as failing to meet the standard of consultation.  Clearly something is broken.

My home town, Chilliwack BC, recently approved rezoning of a piece of land for construction of a hazardous waste facility on flood-plain next to the Fraser River.  Having just found out about the proposal on the day of the rezoning decision, a Sto:lo fisheries advisor and Band Councillor asked the city to delay the decision to allow First Nations time to look at it.  The City refused saying that the Municipalities Act does not require them to consult First Nations on rezoning, only on OCP changes.  A few days later an OCP change was before the City and the City decided it did not need to consult First Nations because in the City’s opinion the proposed change would not impact them.  Now, I don’t know about you, but I think that if I step on someone’s toe I do not tell them “That didn’t hurt.”  They will tell me whether or not it hurt.  A slightly silly analogy, but I’m sure you get my point.

If you really want specific examples of failures to live up to treaties there are plenty (at least 343 based on that CBC article).  You may find the situation, if you dig into it, distressing.

Explore posts in the same categories: Environment, Politics

2 Comments on “Oil sands emissions must be tamed”

  1. cea Says:

    With all due respect, and remembering my family is pretty much the United Nations in terms of background, maybe it’s time we stopped looking at treaties and nations and started just being Canadians fighting for the common good. Maybe the way the stolo get back is not be claiming status or privilege but by running for council and then stopping these projects from within. How about getting a referendum going to stop it? I tell my children not to rely on their DNA but their wits to get by in life and to be a part of the solution. My 2c’s FWIW.

    • isjustian Says:

      Treaties are a contract. They don’t have expiry dates or opt out clauses that I know of. If Canada wants to revisit them I suppose the government could bring that up with the other signatories. Until such renegotiation is concluded though, the treaties stand and I expect governments to live up to them honourably just as I would expect them to live up to any other contract.

      Re”just being Canadians”, I suppose that’s up to the First Nations folks. I know that were I Sto:lo (for example) I would not have the label “Canadian” imposed on me. The Sto:lo have not ceded their territory. They had their systems of government before settlers arrived. Being nearly exterminated by disease (in parts of BC a deliberate tactic) around the time of arrival of settlers and after, they were unable to resist the force of numbers and force of arms of settlers.

      One might take the view “Too bad. You were weak, we were strong. Live with it.” That’s not my Canada though and I will resist it.

      For a Sto:lo person to run for city council might be a contradiction. Is the City a legitimate government on Sto:lo land? If it is legitimate, why? By whose say so?

      There are people opposing the hazardous waste project, Sto:lo included.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: