On May 17, 2016, the federal government announced the appointment of Kim Baird, Annette Trimbee
and Tony Penikett to a ministerial panel mandated to collect input
from stakeholders, with a focus on Indigenous groups, on the
proposed Trans Mountain Pipeline Expansion (TMX) project.
review and consider input from the public via an on-line
meet with local stakeholder representatives in communities
along the pipeline and shipping route
meet with Indigenous groups who wish to share their views with
The mandate for the panel is clear that its work is not a
substitute for ongoing federal consultation and sets a deadline of
November 1, 2016 for delivery of its report, which will be made
public. This deadline is consistent with the federal
government's target of December 2016 for a decision on the TMX
The three panelists, whose biographies can be found here, are
all familiar with various aspects of Aboriginal rights and
reconciliation in Canada. British Columbians will be most
familiar with Kim Baird, who was a six-term elected Chief of the
Tsawwassen First Nation and was in office for the negotiation,
finalization and implementation of the Tsawwassen Treaty, British
Columbia's first modern urban treaty.
On its face, the panel is another tool for the federal
government to engage Aboriginal stakeholders in respect of the TMX
project. However, it is important to note that the
panel is not tasked with assessing whether the free, prior and
informed consent ("FPIC") of Indigenous communities along
the pipeline corridor has been achieved. In fact, the federal
government refers only to consultation and accommodation:
"Indigenous peoples will be meaningfully consulted, and where
appropriate, impacts on their rights and interests will be
As discussed in our earlier
blog post regarding the federal government's
commitment to implement the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of
Indigenous People (UNDRIP), successful implementation of UNDRIP
will require the federal government to reconcile the Canadian law
of consultation with the international concept of FPIC. Given
that FPIC does not feature prominently (or at all) in the federal
government's recent material on pipeline reviews, Indigenous
communities should be prepared to bring Canada's international
commitments to the table and insist on a robust discussion of the
role of FPIC in current and future project development.
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Canada is a constitutional monarchy, a parliamentary democracy and a federation comprised of ten provinces and three territories. Canada's judiciary is independent of the legislative and executive branches of Government.
The Government of Alberta recently announced a number of policy changes that will impact the Alberta Electricity Market, composed of its generators, transmitters, distributors, retailers, electricity consumers and wholesale electricity market.
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