The Truth and Reconciliation Commission has called on all levels of government in Canada to adopt and implement the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) as "the framework for reconciliation” (Call to Action #43).
In Manitoba, the provincial government has not taken appropriate steps to ensure that provincial legislation is in harmony with UNDRIP, especially in the case of Manitoba Hydro.
Hydroelectric power is branded as clean energy but, in fact, Manitoba Hydro dams have damaged the nearby environments and displaced numerous First Nations communities, resulting in serious health risks, ecosystem death and the destruction of impacted communities’ way of life. According to the 2018 Clean Environment Commission report, hydro-impacted communities, “remain impoverished and marginalized, while their traditional lands are the source of power and profits that accrue to residents of southern Manitoba."
The fights for climate and social justice are one. To address the mounting environmental pressures we face, the inherent rights of Indigenous peoples must be respected and upheld.
We ask that the Manitoba government make efforts in line with UNDRIP to protect, remediate, and/or compensate affected Indigenous communities for water pollution and/or mismanagement by companies/Manitoba Hydro. This would extend to addressing the harm from hydroelectric-related flooding and annual regulation of water levels (article 28 and 29).
In addition, pipelines such as Enbridge Line 3 and other industrial projects must attain free, prior, and informed consent before proceeding to threaten Indigenous nations' land and water (article 32).
Indigenous peoples have been pushing for UNDRIP for over 35 years and the issues have not been resolved during that time. It is long overdue that we bring our voices together to answer the call of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and demand the adoption and implementation of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples here in Manitoba.