Liberals must commit to UNESCO measures

OTTAWA - As joint federal-provincial hearings begin this week in Alberta on Teck Resources’ $ 20 billion Frontier oil sands project, the largest scale bitumen mine to date, NDP MP Linda Duncan (Edmonton Strathcona) has called on the Liberal government to commit to concrete measures [video] to address critical issues raised by Indigenous communities affected.

 “Indigenous rights of Dene, Cree and Metis are impacted by this project. They have long requested a buffer area to protect the threatened Ronald bison herd, caribou and the watershed flowing into the Peace Athabasca Delta. These are measures the government has the power and duty to deliver,” declared Duncan.

 The mine is slated to be developed on the border of Wood Buffalo National Park, a designated world Heritage Site and within traditional Indigenous territory. Yet despite long-standing calls for the designation of a Biodiversity Stewardship Area, as a buffer against these impacts, no concrete measures have yet been committed by the federal government despite clear responsibilities for species at risk, transboundary rivers, national parks and Indigenous rights.

 “It is critical that the strategic assessment and concrete measures called for by UNESCO a year back, yet to be delivered, must be in place well before this or any other major project impacting the area is approved,” added Duncan.