Can Canada meaningfully commit to Free, Prior and Informed consent?

Elizabeth May (Saanich—Gulf Islands)
2021-02-17 18:30 [p.4191]

Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the minister very much for his work in this area. I want to also commend him for acknowledging the extraordinary work of former member of Parliament Romeo Saganash, and all the work that was done when it was a private member’s bill.

I agree with the comment from the hon. member for Winnipeg Centre, but I have a sense, which I want to put to the hon. minister, that we will be disappointed. Article 19 of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples makes it clear that before projects, administrative or legislative changes can happen that affect indigenous peoples, the state party, in this case Canada, must ensure free, prior and informed consent.

We bought the Kinder Morgan pipeline, and knew at the time we bought it that it was opposed in court by the Tsleil-Waututh, the Musqueam and the Squamish. We know that to this day it is opposed by the Tsartlip Nation. I do not know how we can go forward with the notion of free, prior and informed consent when many projects across Canada have been undertaken and, in the case of Trans Mountain, subsidized to the tune of $17 billion in public funds in direct opposition to, and in violation of, the notion of free, prior and informed consent.
I know that, as the Minister of Justice, this is not exactly his responsibility area, but how do we square that circle?