Making co-management a reality with the federal government was among the central points the Indigenous Caucus made in the wake of meeting with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in B.C. this week.
The PM touched down in Chilliwack Tuesday for a meeting on the Cheam First Nation reserve with the Indigenous Advisory and Monitoring Committee of the Trans Mountain pipeline and expansion.
The Indigenous caucus of the IAMC released a five-point list of concerns Wednesday.
“The government’s decision to buy the Trans Mountain system will have huge impacts on Indigenous nations in the pipeline corridor and shipping lanes,” said IAMC co-chair Ernie Crey, Cheam First Nation Chief.
There is no unanimity among First Nations. Some support the pipeline project, others are opposed.
“But all have a shared interest in minimizing the impacts of the TMX expansion and existing pipeline,” said Crey in a release.
Minimizing impacts was the first of five points.
The second point referenced the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP), which paints a picture of co-management between government and Indigenous reps, and as such, the “IAMC must be transformed from advising government to truly co-managing with government, in a manner consistent with (UNDRIP).
“We urged the Prime Minister to work with us on regulatory changes and protocols in order to make co-management a reality,” said Crey.
That’s a clear shift toward a nation-to-nation dynamic.
Also if the pipeline expansion is to go ahead, then it must be built better than Kinder Morgan would have managed, said the group spokesman.
The expansion project must be “safer, more respectful of Indigenous rights and title and treaty rights, and fairer in its distribution of economic benefits to affected Indigenous nations.”
The fourth concern envisions fine-tuning the committee structure so that bureaucratic roadblocks are removed, allowing the IAMC to support the work of the Indigenous Caucus.
The fifth is about consultation and real accommodation.
“Although IAMC is not a consultation body, we took the opportunity to urge the Prime Minister that Indigenous nations must be consulted and accommodated regarding the government’s decision to buy the Trans Mountain system.
“We appreciated the opportunity to have an open and forthright discussion with the Prime Minister. If the Prime Minister wants to bring about real change in the nation-to-nation relationship, we want him to work with us.”