BEYOND THE DUTY TO CONSULT: COMPARING ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE IN THREE ABORIGINAL COMMUNITIES IN CANADA
Rebecca A. McFadgen
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First Nations in Canada have long struggled to participate effectively in resource development decisions. In 2004, the Supreme Court established that the federal and provincial governments of Canada have a duty to consult First Nations in cases where their treaty rights, land claims, or traditions may be adversely affected by government decision-making or third-party development. To determine whether the duty to consult has made an impact on the empowerment of First Nations in these decisions, I assess three case studies using four criteria. This research finds that, while the duty to consult has made a positive impact on the empowerment of First Nations, it still does not go far enough in truly empowering communities to achieve sustainable development on their own terms. This study concludes that the duty to consult may be supplemented with Aboriginal self-government – signaling the potential for positive change in the empowerment of communities seeking environmental justice.