Retired captain: How Northern Gateway may ‘consult’ and ‘accommodate’ Aboriginal interests

An interesting theory has been floated in the Vancouver Sun by “an 87-year-old retired West Coast sea captain” about the Northern Gateway pipelines.

In his editorial “Harper gov’t playing ‘shell game’ on pipeline,” Capt. Edward Wray alleges that “the [federal government’s] and Enbridge’s so-called plan” for the ultimate route relies on a diversionary strategy: get people so worked up about the one “egregious and unsavoury” route (ending in Kitimat, B.C.) that they’ll readily settle for another, “safer” option (“most likely” terminating in Prince Rupert, B.C.).

After making his case for this line of argument Wray layers in another piece of speculation, namely, how Aboriginal interests would fare under this scenario:

It is my understanding that in order to pass legal muster in regards to passing this [Northern Gateway project] through First Nations’ territory, the government must both “consult” these communities and “accommodate” their interests. It appears this fall-back may be the “accommodation” necessary to meet that legal test, if the First Nations challenge the decision in court.

Now, in Canadian jurisprudence, the federal/Crown duty to consult and accommodate Aboriginal peoples’ rights under the Constitution and treaties is, shall we say, fluid and evolving. The question is: how vulnerable is this duty to the kind of cynical politicking posited by Ret’d Capt. Wray? Counter-theories and further articulations welcomed.

One thought on “Retired captain: How Northern Gateway may ‘consult’ and ‘accommodate’ Aboriginal interests

  1. Captain Edward Wray makes perfect sense that this Canadian government is using “slide of the hand”, as to create general, yet basic insight to the public; only one without giving proper warning into the true dangers of oil/pipeline-transportation. (I have now seen commercials that advertise the pipeline as a “good thing” for B.C, promoting its usual of “helping the economy for the better”). For me, greedy actions by forms of government, is a joke. Witnessing this government strip, and take the Indigenous lands piece by piece for their own doing, and their own sick minds: that way, they can have more and more money in their wallets, while claiming our Canadian economy is “dying”.

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