OTTAWA — Lack of consultation with First Nations over proposed resource projects has led to a severe lack of trust between them and the feds, the UN's special rapporteur on indigenous rights concluded in his annual report.
James Anaya underwent a fact-finding mission on the state of Canada's First Nations last year.
He acknowledged that many First Nations rights were protected by a "well-developed legal framework" and noted the federal government's recognition of their right to self-governance.
However, he reports the consultation process for major natural resource projects directly contributed to the current strained relationship between First Nations and government.
"When consultation happens, resource companies have often already invested in exploration and viability studies ... and accommodation of indigenous peoples' concerns requires a deviation from companies' plans," Anaya wrote. "This situation creates an unnecessarily adversarial framework of opposing interests rather than facilitating the common creation of mutually beneficial development plans."