How Ottawa can advance both economic reconciliation with First Nations and critical infrastructure development – The Globe and Mail

by ahnationtalk on September 28, 202361 Views

First Nations communities want a piece of the several hundred billion dollars’ worth of infrastructure projects being planned across Canada over the next decade. Builders want to give it to them, but the barriers First Nations face when trying to access financing is holding dealmaking back.

With the fate of both critical infrastructure development and economic reconciliation at stake, the First Nations Major Projects Coalition and the Business Council of Canada have partnered to convene an event Thursday at the Fairmont Royal York Hotel in downtown Toronto they hope will shine light on their proposed solution: a federal loan guarantee program.

Such a program, proponents say, would not only go a long way toward righting historic wrongs perpetrated against the Indigenous peoples of Canada, it would also expand on the success of existing provincial programs while helping to ensure critically needed national infrastructure actually gets built.

Ownership ensures Indigenous communities have a measure of control over every aspect of projects on their land, from conception through design, construction and operation. Beyond the constitutionally required duty to consult, allowing First Nations communities to become equity partners makes it easier for them to say what they want out of any given project and, more importantly, what they don’t want.

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