On August 13-14, 2017, President Chartier discussed Métis Nation priorities with Canada’s Minister of Natural Resources and provincial counterparts at the annual Energy and Mines Ministers Conference in St. Andrews, New Brunswick.
The role of Indigenous peoples in the environmental and regulatory regime governing major projects figured prominently in the annual conference of Energy and Mines Ministers that was held from August 13-15, 2017 in the seaside town of St. Andrews, New Brunswick.
Métis Nation President Chartier and representatives from the Assembly of First Nations (AFN) and Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami (ITK) met privately with Canada’s Minister of Natural Resources Jim Carr on August 13 to review work on a number of key issues. The first is the federal government’s initiative to overhaul the environmental assessment and regulatory processes for resource development projects that regain public trust, protect the environment, introduce modern safeguards, advance reconciliation with Indigenous peoples, ensure good projects go ahead, and resources get to market.
They also reviewed the work of the Indigenous Advisory and Monitoring Committee (IAMC) that will review and monitor the environmental, safety and socio-economic issues related to the Trans Mountain Expansion Project, the existing pipeline, and marine shipping related to the project. Minister Carr recently approved the Terms of Reference and the establishment of the IAMC and a Secretariat to support it. $64.7 million over five years in new government funding will support the work of the IAMC and capacity of Indigenous groups potentially impacted by the Trans Mountain Expansion Project to participate in it.
Minister Carr and the Indigenous representatives also had an opportunity to look at the role of Indigenous peoples in the development of the Canadian Minerals and Metals Plan for presentation at the 2018 Energy and Mines Ministers’ Conference (EMMC). The goal of the Plan would be to re-establish Canada as the leading mining nation—laying the foundation for lasting Canadian mining success at home and around the world. It would serve as a shared vision, rooted in concrete actions, that draws upon Canada’s numerous strengths and collaboration among governments, Indigenous peoples, industry and civil society.
On August 14, President Chartier along with AFN and ITK met with Minister Carr and his provincial and territorial counterparts to set out their respective natural resource priorities. President Chartier outlined judicial and political developments that have assisted in clarifying and confirming Métis Nation rights and shaping a new legal environment surrounding major projects that hopefully will facilitate the full participation of the Métis Nation in major projects impacting its communities. He reminded the ministers that in the long run, respect for Métis Nation rights and accommodation of Métis communities through collaboration agreements should be viewed not as a barrier to development but as a win-win for Métis people and industry as greater Métis Nation participation in projects will reduce uncertainty which is bad for capital investment and will generate opportunities for Métis communities, workers and businesses.