There is truth in the fact that a lack of consultation by this government has hurt us quite a bit. The northern gateway project, for example, had 31 out of the 40 right-of-way communities signed on in support of the project—and not only support, but they were also willing to take on the risk of ownership in this project. We tried to meet with the federal government before November 2016 when they cancelled this project.
I know exactly why they didn't want to meet with us. They wanted deniability, to be able to say, “We heard first nations say that they don't want the pipeline. We didn't hear any first nations say they wanted it.” Well, of course they didn't, because they wouldn't talk to us. They wouldn't return our emails. They wouldn't return our letters. They wouldn't return our calls.
It's an unjust transition that's coming up right now. It's unjust because the government has a purpose in mind and wants to make sure it gets this law passed. UNDRIP itself can become a vehicle to deny projects, allowing the government to be hypocritical. It gives first nations people, because of their treaty rights, the power to deny projects, but it also gives us a right to approve projects. Under UNDRIP, we should be able to build our own resources on our own lands and traditional territories. If we want to do that, we should be allowed to do that.