Indian Resource Council Urges Senators to Oppose Bill C-69

Proposed energy project review process would harm economic interests of Indigenous peoples

TSUU T'INA, Alberta, Oct. 03, 2018 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The Indian Resource Council (IRC), an Indigenous advocacy organization which represents the oil and gas and associated economic interests of over 130 Indigenous communities in Canada, is urging Senators to oppose Bill C-69.

Bill C-69, which would drastically alter the review process for projects in the energy sector, would harm one of Canada's greatest economic success stories; namely, the emergence of Indigenous communities and companies as major and successful participants in the energy sector.

“Indian Resource Council is urging all Senators to take a stand and oppose Bill C-69,” said IRC President and CEO, and member of the Samson Cree Nation, Stephen Buffalo. “Bill C-69 would wreak havoc on Indigenous economic development in many parts of Canada.”

At the same time, IRC is calling on the Government of Canada to withdraw Bill C-69 immediately, as the consultation process with Indigenous communities was not sufficient or meaningful. 

In order for consultations with Indigenous communities to be meaningful, the Government of Canada must engage with all communities that want to be heard, not just those who agree with their agenda. Their legal and constitutional requirement to consult with Indigenous peoples extends well beyond safe discussions with like-minded thinkers. 

Indigenous peoples must be at the table with the Government of Canada any time major decisions are being made that will have a dramatic impact on their economic future. The Government could provide a vital national service by encouraging Indigenous to Indigenous consultations, in an effort to bring greater understanding to debates about natural resource development.

“Indigenous communities are on the verge of a major economic breakthrough, one that finally allows Indigenous people to share in Canada's economic prosperity,” said Buffalo. “Bill C-69 will stop this progress in its tracks.  New and expanded consultations are urgently required.”

The Indian Resource Council supports environmental sustainability, Indigenous economic development, and reconciliation. IRC has supported many worthy partnerships and collaborations with governments, private companies and between Indigenous communities. 

“We support a balanced response to environmental regulation and insist on comprehensive consultation and engagement with Indigenous communities,” added Buffalo. “Left as it is, Bill C-69 will harm Indigenous economic development, create barriers to decision-making, and make Canada unattractive for resource investment. This legislation must be stopped immediately.” 

For further information, please contact:
Stephen Buffalo, President and CEO Indian Resource Council
(403) 281-8308