Target: Alberta Minister for Indigenous Relations Richard Feehan
Goal: Applaud the repeal of a law that prevented First Nations people from fully asserting their treaty rights.
A law that made it easier to approve oil sand and other natural resource exploration on First Nations land communities in Alberta will be repealed according to Alberta Minister for Indigenous Relations Richard Feehan. The law established a levy on businesses to fund the consultation process with First Nations peoples and established a centralized authority to oversee the consultation process.
Bill 22–the law in question–was touted by the previous provincial government as a step forward in relations between the province’s First Nations communities and the provincial government. However, the law was written and passed without consulting First Nations leaders in the province and was widely viewed as an impediment to the sovereign right of each community to negotiate on its own behalf.
This was most notably evident in the fact that the Aboriginal Consultation Office that the bill created had the final say in what form consultation took and in judging when companies had done their due diligence. Furthermore, in practice, the process outlined in the law meant that the province could claim to be engaged in consultation with First Nations communities while simultaneously approving projects on and bordering their land. Bill 22 has led to at least two separate lawsuits against the provincial government.
Repealing Bill 22 is an important step toward better relations between the Alberta provincial government and First Nations communities. However, more still needs to be done to ensure that First Nation communities in Alberta can fully exercise their treaty rights and have the autonomy to decide what happens on their lands. Sign our petition and applaud Minister Feehan for repealing Bill 22 and encourage the minister to continue to listen to First Nations communities in the province of Alberta.
Dear Minister Feehan,
I am writing to you in support of the planned repeal of Bill 22. Since its enactment, Bill 22 has been a source of further tension between the provincial government and First Nations communities and I believe that its repeal will ameliorate the relationship between the two.
However, while the repeal of Bill 22 is laudable, reform must not stop there. Under Bill 22, at least two projects were allowed to go ahead against the wishes of First Nations communities. These projects must be halted, and the province must investigate projects approved during the period wherein Bill 22 was provincial law. Furthermore, the province needs to ensure that future legislation affecting First Nations communities undergoes a rigorous process of review by experts on treaty rights and First Nations communities.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: jasonwoodhead23