The Indigenous Resource Network is demanding the federal government change its emissions cap policy and more seriously consider the impact on Indigenous communities.
In July 2022, the federal government announced its emissions cap policy and released a discussion document to guide input on its plan to reduce emissions from the Canadian oil and gas sector by 42 per cent by 2030.
This emissions cap would leave many Indigenous communities economically devastated considering the Indigenous investments already made in existing projects, the network said.
“Indigenous people were not properly consulted on this policy, and we feel that we have been left behind. This emissions cap would be very harmful to Indigenous communities that have successfully pursued ownership in oil and gas projects, and to the thousands of workers and businesses engaged in the sector,” said Robert Merasty, executive director of the Indigenous Resource Network.
The group said the emissions cap policy will also generate higher global emissions by restricting LNG development, and compromise energy security and affordability around the world.
It added that many Indigenous communities are currently developing energy projects from which they plan to generate benefits and revenues, noting as well that the pathway to "real self-determination" is through these projects.
“We are finally becoming owners of projects in our own territories, yet this policy seeks to restrict that,” said Merasty. “This is taking us a step backwards in reconciliation.”
Canada’s proposed emissions cap policy directly contradicts the government’s promises on reconciliation and Indigenous self-determination, including respecting the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, the network said.
“Not only do our communities deserve a chance to pursue economically viable projects on our own territory; we have a right to,” the network added in a press release. “The last thing we need is the government restricting what sectors we can and cannot benefit from.”