Vancouver Sun

Justin Trudeau promised a new era of nation-to-nation negotiations with First Nations. His mandate letters to each new cabinet minister stressed this point. Given that, it’s hard to reconcile his approvals of the Site C dam, the Kinder Morgan expansion and the Petronas project on Lelu Island, all opposed by First Nations. This is especially concerning since all these issues are before the courts.

There comes a time when a politician just has to do the right thing.

Canada’s wealth has been garnered on the backs of our indigenous peoples whose resources were taken and continue to be taken without compensation. I call this the new colonialism, which is in fact the same old colonialism delivered with sunny ways. It’s long past time to deal justly and fairly with First Nations.

Thanks to Larry Pynn and Vaughn Palmer for reporting on the Site C dam. It seems that C stands for corruption, as laws get broken or changed, and exceptions are made for the powerful, so that lucrative contracts can go to Liberal donors. We need more than hefty fines, though that would be a step in the right direction. We need a government that will stop this wasteful destruction and protect the Peace River for once and for all.

Bravado and bluster are killing a world-class river delta, and wasting $9 billion that should have been spent on renewable solar and wind infrastructure, as well as education and health care. It is heartbreaking that B.C. would destroy a climate resiliency zone like the Peace in order to greenwash fracking and pipelines. We can and must do better.

The Peace is named after a historical peace treaty between the Cree and the Dane Zaa people in the 1700s. Canada must honour this, not violate the Peace in this moment of supposed reconciliation.

I was deeply saddened to hear of Arthur Manuelʼs passing, but even more heartbroken to find this news reported scantily. His photo should have been on the front page and an in-depth article, detailing his incredible contribution to restructuring the fundamental relationship between Canada and the First Peoples of Canada would help all of us reconcile the horrifying history of cultural genocide that is basic to our countryʼs birth. This inadequate reporting and not giving prominence to important indigenous leaders is not only unethical, it shows how disconnected mainstream media often is from reporting fairly all stories of impact, not just the ones that reflect non-indigenous self-interest.

Thank you, Arthur, for your international efforts to realize indigenous rights and title in Canada. I hope all Canadians will read his beautiful book, Unsettling Canada — A National Wake-Up Call, which should be a mandatory textbook, and I hope that one day Trutch Street will be renamed Manuel Street.

Dr. Amie Wolf, adjunct professor, University of B.C. Sauder School of Business, First Nations studies/indigenization of curriculum.