Alberta Minister of Energy Sonya Savage issued a statement Tuesday responding to a directive by the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination to shut down construction on three major Canadian resource projects.
The committee called on the Government of Canada to immediately suspend construction of the Trans Mountain Expansion, Coastal GasLink Pipeline and Site C Dam, until “free, prior and informed consent” is obtained from all impacted Indigenous communities.
All three projects have undergone years of Indigenous engagement programs and have signed mutual benefit agreements with Indigenous communities, as well as incorporating Indigenous businesses in project supply chains. All three are also being challenged in Canadian courts by First Nations groups.
“With all the injustice in the world, it’s beyond rich that the unelected, unaccountable United Nations would seemingly single out Canada – one of the greatest champions of human rights, democracy and the rule of law. We wish that the UN would pay as much attention to the majority of First Nation groups that support important projects such as Trans Mountain and Coastal GasLink,” Savage said.
“First Nations leaders increasingly recognize that responsible natural resource development can serve as a path from poverty to prosperity for their people. Yet this UN body seemingly ignores these voices. Canada’s duly elected representatives – not unaccountable international committees – are responsible for governing decisions in this country.”