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How Canada can power up reconciliation with clean energy projects

Clean electricity can be a far-reaching tool for reconciliation if Canada lets Indigenous governments lead

For the last century, Canada has leveraged major power-development projects as tools for regional economic development. We believe they should be used as tools for reconciliation with First Nations in Canada.

This may seem darkly ironic, since First Nations have historically suffered more from the construction of hydroelectric dams than other Canadians. These power projects, such as the Peace and Columbia River dams and Alcan’s Kemano project near Kitimat, were justified on the basis of industrial expansion, a means of opening up British Columbia’s substantial forest, mining and aluminum sectors. The economy boomed, but little of the benefit, and much of the environmental cost, landed with First Nations’ communities.

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Build Back Better by investing in Coastal First Nations Great Bear Forest Carbon Project

Business and government can support First Nations in building a sustainable economy while conserving our temperate rainforest

As Canada ties economic stimulus strategies for corporations to its 2050 climate goals, both government and business have an opportunity to invest in a First Nations forest carbon financing model and make a meaningful commitment to address their climate impact.

In early May, the Prime Minister unveiled a new “bridge loan” program to support large businesses recovering from a pandemic economy. Among the conditions, companies must demonstrate how they will contribute to federal climate targets for decarbonization. By encouraging carbon offsetting in the plan, Canada has an opportunity to further reconciliation with Coastal First Nations and ensure our economies are not left behind in the recovery plan.

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