Dif­fer­ent laws cre­ate dis­sen­sion

Calgary Herald - - OPINION -

North­ern B.C. has just ex­pe­ri­enced an­other case of pro­test­ers sug­gest­ing that a nat­u­ral gas pipe­line will ad­versely af­fect Indige­nous peo­ple’s abil­ity to en­joy a large wilder­ness area. The min­i­mal foot­print of a gas pipe­line has no neg­a­tive ef­fect on hunt­ing, trap­ping, fish­ing, berry-pick­ing or wa­ter qual­ity. To sug­gest oth­er­wise ig­nores 75 years of suc­cess­ful gas trans­mis­sion ex­pe­ri­ence through­out Canada.

The re­sult of the Smithers fi­asco is more neg­a­tive opin­ion about the pro­test­ers and the le­gal in­dus­try that feeds on the Indige­nous com­mu­nity and has ex­posed racist at­ti­tudes across the coun­try. There is a so­lu­tion, but it will take strong lead­er­ship from Ot­tawa to ex­e­cute.

It’s im­prac­ti­cal to ex­pect Cana­di­ans to sup­port a gov­ern­ing regime com­prised of sev­eral hun­dred sets of Indige­nous statutes and reg­u­la­tions in ad­di­tion to fed­eral and provin­cial laws. I pro­pose one set of laws that ap­ply to all Cana­di­ans, pe­riod. It will take a strong man­date and great fore­sight to un­der­take the re­quired con­sti­tu­tional change, but it is nec­es­sary for our fu­ture. R. Chea­dle, Cal­gary

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