On January 27 Natural Resources Minister Jim Carr and Environment and Climate Change Minister Catherine McKenna announced interim measures to supplement National Energy Board (NEB) hearings into two pipelines that will carry oil from the tar sands. While the interim measures are a step in the right direction, promising “deeper consultation” with Indigenous peoples, there is no commitment to a permanent regulatory approval process that includes an explicit commitment to Free, Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC) as required by the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, which the federal government has pledged to respect.
The assemblies of Indigenous chiefs from Quebec and Labrador, Manitoba and British Columbia have rejected the interim measures as falling far short of their rights to FPIC. The chiefs have also criticized the damage that would occur through climate change as the pipelines would lead to expanded production from the tar sands.
While the interim process will allow the government to assess the upstream greenhouse gas emissions from the two pipeline projects, it excludes the greater downstream emissions that will occur when the products they carry are eventually consumed.