By John Dillon
Ecological Economy Program Coordinator
KAIROS Policy Briefing Papers are written to help inform public debate on key domestic and foreign policy issues
As the newly elected Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau handed mandate letters to all cabinet ministers that stated: “No relationship is more important to me and to Canada than the one with Indigenous Peoples. It is time for a renewed, nation-to-nation relationship with Indigenous Peoples, based on recognition of rights, respect, co-operation, and partnership.” His letter to Dr. Carolyn Bennett, the Minister of Indige- nous and Northern Affairs, also included as a first pri- ority “to implement recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, starting with the implementation of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.”
From the beginning of the new government’s man- date there was always the potential for conflict be- tween these commitments to Indigenous rights and the Liberal Party platform promising “Our plan will de- liver the economic growth and jobs Canadians need, and leave to our children and grandchildren a country even more … sustainable … than the one we have now.”1
The day is fast approaching when Prime Minister Trudeau and his government will have to choose be- tween their promises to respect Indigenous rights and their preference for large resource projects and fossil fuel export pipelines to grow the economy.