Indigenous Sovereignty

Indigenous Sovereignty

Law professor criticizes Alberta’s land-leasing practices

An Alberta law professor is suggesting the province's gold rush approach of granting hundreds of leases every year on First Nation lands is leaving it vulnerable to constitutional challenge.

Nigel Bankes, chairman of Natural Resources Law at the University of Calgary, is criticizing the Alberta government for its failure to properly consult First Nations before putting their land up for anonymous public auction through the oilsands tenure system.

In what could be interpreted as a sign that the pace of oilsands development is outstripping basic social expectations for government due diligence, he suggests the system is vulnerable to constitutional challenge.

Bankes routinely blogs about oil and gas issues as well as aboriginal issues including the recent court decision ruling against Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation's challenge to the issuance of oilsands leases to Shell Canada.... Read more »

Wooing the aboriginals

CALGARY -- As oil pipeline giant Enbridge Inc. prepared this week to meet with the most militant of the 40 First Nations and Metis in northern British Columbia straddling its proposed Northern Gateway pipeline corridor, it made public an aboriginal benefits offer so rich it should at least get their attention:

More than $1.5-billion in cash, jobs, business opportunities over the next 30 years and a 10% stake in one of Canada’s most strategic infrastructure projects — a pipeline to whisk Canada’s oil-sands crude to the West Coast so it can be sold to new markets in Asia.

In exchange, the company is looking for support from the 50,000 aboriginals (mostly First Nations, with a smaller number of Metis) affected by the $5.5-billion project, which is being reviewed by regulators for approval in the face of fierce aboriginal opposition.

Read the entire article at the link below.

Lhe Lin Liyin of the Grassroots Wet'suwet'en comment on Enbridge launch of 2011 Ride to Conquer Cancer

Mel Bazil, Lhe Lin Liyin of the Grassroots Wet'suwet'en in Northern BC whose community will be directly impacted by the the proposed pipelines to transport tar sands crude to the coast of BC, had the following comment on the Enbridge launch of their 2011 Ride to Conquer Cancer.  (http://www.enbridge.com/InYourCommunity/CommunityInvestment/HealthandSafety/EnbridgeRidetoConquerCancer.aspx)... Read more »

Province vulnerable to oilsands lease lawsuits

The Alberta government is failing in its constitutional duty to properly notify First Nations of oilsands leases on their traditional lands -a practice that could lead to a Supreme Court challenge, says a University of Calgary aboriginal law expert.

Nigel Bankes, who is also the university's chair of Natural Resources Law, said the government's policy of simply posting lease sales online and not going to First Nations directly doesn't stand up to scrutiny.

"I'd say the province isn't doing a good job," Bankes said. "Particularly when it comes to granting oilsands rights, because they basically say, 'We can fulfil our duty simply by posting stuff on our website.' I don't think that's real consultation."

The issue is a part of a number of cases being brought to Alberta's courts by Athabasca River aboriginal communities who are fighting the pace of oilsands development.... Read more »

First Nations lacking notice on oilsands leases

The Alberta government is failing in its constitutional duty to properly notify First Nations of oilsands leases on their traditional lands -- a practice that could lead to a Supreme Court challenge, says a University of Calgary aboriginal law expert.

Nigel Bankes, who is also the university's chair of Natural Resources Law, said the government's policy of simply posting lease sales online and not going to First Nations directly doesn't stand up to scrutiny.

"I'd say the province isn't doing a good job," Bankes said. "Particularly when it comes to granting oilsands rights, because they basically say, 'We can fulfil our duty simply by posting stuff on our website.' I don't think that's real consultation."

   

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