Sunday, March 23, 2014

Harper needs double-barrelled Ministers?

“Resources Minister Rickford faces aboriginal backlash over Enbridge project.”

So read the headline published in the GLOBE AND MAIL, dated March 21, 2014 and written by a Shawn McCarthy.

Perhaps, the headline should have read, “…continued backlash…?”

As you know, “Following a cabinet shuffle prompted by Jim Flaherty’s resignation, former minister of state for science Greg Rickford has taken over the natural resources post from Joe Oliver, who replaces Mr. Flaherty as finance minister.

As you know too, Prime Minister Stephen Harper once said the proposed Enbridge Gateway project is a “ no-brainer.” Therefore, for the newly appointed (Natural) Resources Minister, the “looming” decision to go-ahead with the National Energy Board’s recommendation to approve the project should also be a no-brainer. I don’t think he will want to contradict or disappoint his leader.

However, one must question the timing of the change to replace Joe Oliver as that move may also indicate the lack of value the Prime Minister has in “Aboriginal” relations regarding resource development especially the proposed Enbridge project?

Replacing Oliver with Rickford is untimely and has certainly added to the aboriginal backlash already well known especially within the BC communities. Now, Rickford will likely need to connect with former Environment and Indian Affairs Minister, Jim Prentice, contracted by Enbridge “ to negotiate with aboriginal communities on its behalf” and try to establish trust and meaningful relationships with potentially affected First Nations.

These two new faces though will likely do little to quell the “continued” backlash that will certainly persist even when the new Minister Rickford approves the go-ahead come July 2014. After all, “…said Art Sterrit, executive director of Coastal First Nations, which represents nine nations on the B.C. coast. “There’s no way anybody in B.C. is going to support that project any time soon.”