meetingplace

This week, the government of Alberta released a draft land use plan for the province’s Athabasca region, an area dominated by oilsands activities. This region is also the traditional territory of a number of First Nations. Aboriginal leaders and ecologists are criticizing the plan for a lack of ecological rigour, as well as a lack of consultation with First Nations in the region. Without a doubt, land use planning in large areas such as Athabasca, where multiple parties have diverse interests in the land and resources, is a complex undertaking. However, Canadian governments – federal, provincial and municipal – should all know by now that First Nations peoples are not simply “stakeholders” or “interest groups” on the land; they have federally enshrined rights to land and resources that must be considered when decisions are made about land use on their territory.