Diane Francis, columnist, Financial Post
Time to settle First Nations land claims
The time has come for Canada and the provinces to make timely and responsible resource development the country’s number one national interest. This represents a policy priority that has never existed but is absolutely essential today to protect Canadian living standards and rights.
To date, Canada has behaved like a patchwork quilt of special interests and various levels of government whose leaders have bobbed and weaved but never devised a just or swift means of settling, or rejecting, land claims by First Nations…..
This week, the opening shot of what could be a monumental battle was fired when First Nations representatives from British Columbia came to warn Big Oil in Calgary that they would obstruct any linkage to Asia via pipelines, and presumably, rail lines, through their territory. If joined by others, and this is a given, their obstructionism for gain, or ideology, will financially damage landlocked Alberta, the prairies, the North and therefore the living standards of all Canadians.
Frankly, I don’t blame First Nations for obstructing development because they face a politicized and dysfunctional court system that never settles, never seems to reject new claims, never deals with any expeditiously and never imposes a deadline on requests.
Editor’s note: Read the quote from Financial Post business columnist Diane Francis carefully. In the key paragraph quoted here, she mentions the economy of Alberta, the prairies and the North. Somehow she neglected to mention the economy of the British Columbia, and the impact of the proposed Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline, for good or ill on BC. A conservative columnist, Francis, seems to assume that First Nations are against the pipeline simply for gain or “ideology,” and that settling Land Claims will lead to the construction of the pipeline,