‘Indigenous peoples have rights, but they can be bypassed’ (Settler colonial rationales I): Martin Papillon, Thierry Rodon, ‘Proponent-Indigenous agreements and the implementation of the right to free, prior, and informed consent in Canada’, Environmental Impact Assessment Review, 2016
Abstract: Indigenous peoples have gained considerable agency in shaping decisions regarding resource development on their traditional lands. This growing agency is reflected in the emergence of the right to free, prior, and informed consent (FPIC) when Indigenous rights may be adversely affected by major resource development projects. While many governments remain non-committal toward FPIC, corporate actors are more proactive at engaging with Indigenous peoples in seeking their consent to resource extraction projects through negotiated Impact and Benefit Agreements. Focusing on the Canadian context, this article discusses the roots and implications of a proponent-driven model for seeking Indigenous consent to natural resource extraction on their traditional lands. Building on two case studies, the paper argues that negotiated consent through IBAs offers a truncated version of FPIC from the perspective of the communities involved. The deliberative ethic at the core of FPIC is often undermined in the negotiation process associated with proponent-led IBAs.
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