Enbridge, Canada, and “good-faith” negotiations… stop me if you’ve heard this story before…

Well, Joe O. we might have a problem in BC… says Steve-o…

In early December, Doug Eyford, the federally appointed “Special Federal Representative on West Coast Energy Infrastructure” released his report: Forging Partnerships, Building Relationships: Aboriginal Canadians and Energy Development.

In the 7-8 months that it took for Eyford to pull the report together, he suggests he: “travelled across Alberta and British Columbia to meet representatives of Aboriginal communities and organizations, industry, and provincial and local governments.” And the he “met with over 80 groups.”

Three main themes are highlighted in his report: Building Trust, Fostering Inclusion, and Advancing Reconciliation. His final theme is “Taking Action”.

Oddly enough, this quote stands out near the beginning…

Eyford Report – Forging Partnerships, Building Relationships: Aboriginal Canadians & Energy Development

Several years ago, a good fifteen or more, Chief Justice Lamer said the words above. At that time, the vast majority of Treaties in British Columbia remained unsettled, which means that the Traditional Territories of Aboriginal people and communities in BC also remained unceded.

Since then, court challenge after court challenge mounted by Aboriginal groups and communities have worked their way through the Canadian court systems – several of them resulting in favorable decisions from the Supreme Court of Canada. Many of them stating a similar message… ‘get back to the negotiating table and figure this out’ and do it in ‘good faith’…

And, yet… one more lawyerly report to the Federal Government comes out stating the same thing again. “Build Trust” ‘build inclusion’ ‘reconcile’… ‘build trust’, ‘inclusion’ and ‘reconcile’… the ongoing legal mantra… not so much the ‘legislative’…

The response from former investment banker, and now Federal Minister of Natural Resources:

“The themes of the Eyford report — trust, inclusion, reconciliation and action — can guide all parties in building further the relationships that will underpin responsible resource development and the participation of Aboriginal Peoples,” said Minister Oliver. “We will now engage on the report with Aboriginal Peoples, as well as provinces and industry, and identify the most promising avenues for meaningful follow up.”

Sounds ‘promising’…

I can take a wild stab at this… after some 150 years of history… the most ‘promising avenues’ in the relationship between the Federal government and Aboriginal communities, will not include “trust, inclusion, reconciliation, and action”…

They were not very ‘promising’ ten years ago, twenty years ago, and so on… why would they be now?

Plus, now there’s a problem… Eyford’s report suggests, in one of his first recommendations, in the “Building Trust” section:

The sub-title for this section is: “Constructive Dialogue on Energy”

Shouldn’t that have maybe happened before Enbridge proposed the Northern Gateway pipeline? And maybe before anywhere between four to six natural gas pipelines were put on the book in BC, and then Kinder Morgan proposed to twin their oil pipeline to Vancouver…?

Well, this is actually one Eyford’s recommendations a little later on in the “Advancing Reconciliation” section…

page 37

I am wondering though… who’s going to pay for these “conferences, workshops, and community forums”? Are the feds going to pay for isolated communities to get community members to these? What about communication barriers, English literacy challenges…? What sort of timelines?

Whoa… I guess these might be too logical to be asking…? (too complex, too difficult…)

_ _ _ _ _ _ _

Eyford’s report also enters the sticky, complex realm of “Cumulative Impacts”:

page 14

Eyford highlights a quote from a recent court case in B.C.:

He fronts another recommendation:

page 15

This after suggesting:

page 14

So where do we start assessing the ‘accumulation’ of ‘cumulative’… 2005, 1990, 1950, 1900, 1867…1763 (the year of the Royal Proclamation)?

And how is ‘Canada’ (e.g. the Feds) going to undertake this in light that BC is responsible for ‘negotiating’ the Treaties, or other government-to-government agreements? (Bit of a sticky one here…)

_ _ _ _ _ _ _

The final recommendation out of Eyford’s report is a ‘capper’…

page 44

I’m going to keep posted for when that starts for Conservative/Reform MPs, including Joe Oliver.

The combination of the two reports – Eyford’s on ‘Forging Partnerships, Building Relationships’ and the Joint Review Panel’s report on the proposed Northern Gateway Pipeline – create some interesting and curious issues to be watched closely as this all moves along. However, the cynic in me tends to jump on this suggesting I know where these recommendations from Eyford will go… good old responsible, sustainable recycle bin in the PMO. [Prime Minister’s Office].

How’s the old jingle go…?

‘Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.’

Stay posted… however, I smell timelines similar to the proposed Mackenzie Valley Pipeline… what were those? Well, proposed sometime in the 1970s, still not built, and now basically obsolete…

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