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Arrested Development

Part 2

For a national daily to completely omit these legal and political benchmarks while in the process of project profiling Indigenous people, puts mainstream media under a fairness cloud. Perhaps not guilty of scapegoating, but the elicited response from readers certainly is that. But it's the notion of keeping things out of sight that I strenuously disagree with, especially where this omission had the unfortunate effect of singling out `aboriginals in particular` as being a drag on the national economy. That's troublesome when in fact natives have land rights and protections that other Canadians don?t have: right in the Constitution. Here's the closest the writers come:

The situation in Canada has also been complicated by an alliance between activists and some aboriginal communities, which have unique legal rights and have leveraged resistance to resource projects to resolve disputes with Ottawa. (my underlining) (Cattaneo, Morgan & Snyder) 

Those `unique legal rights` are in fact constitutional rights and they form a huge component of the `rule of law`. 

The week before the Arrested Development opus ran, the Supreme Court of Canada heard three cases back to back from Indigenous people having to do with: the duty to consult and accommodate, the role of the National Energy Board in applying these concepts to pipeline conversions, to offshore seismic exploration surveys in arctic waters, and to native beliefs as freedom of religion as it applies to a proposed ski resort in the BC interior. Going forward, each case will be decided based upon the laws and principles that the Arrested Development overview downplayed in its simplistic reference to their `unique legal rights`.

A lot of the native legal winning streak happened under the Harper government's tenure. It was blind to the rise of native empowerment and paid a huge political cost. In the span of just one year, Prime Minister Trudeau has succeeded in changing the dial by promoting reconciliation and substantially reversing the negative dynamics that his government inherited in the resources sector. He deserves mainstream media?s support for his overall handling of the Crown Native relationship during this period of transition. Thus Arrested Development, as a media concept, is a term that more properly defines the Harper legacy - not Trudeau's.

As for mainstream media, I reiterate my premise that the rise of native empowerment in the Canadian resource sector remains the biggest underreported business story of the decade. I put into evidence Arrested Development exhibit one.

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