Canadian journalist Donna Laframboise. Former National Post & Toronto Star columnist, past vice president of the Canadian Civil Liberties Association. New posts: Mondays & Wednesdays.
Lecturing democratic nations. How dare they.
Exhibit 1 A headline in this country’s National Post: UN committee warns Canada in letter that B.C.’s Site C dam may break deals.
The news story tells us the UN’s Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination is interfering in our domestic affairs. British Columbia Hydro, the utility company, says the hydro electric dam in question “is crucial to the province’s energy future and will have minimal environmental impact.”
But some First Nations groups don’t approve. Therefore the UN thinks the dam may violate an international racial discrimination treaty we signed back in 1966.
Canada is currently drowning in multiple, costly, time-consuming layers of environmental oversight. Two lawsuits connected to this project are also working their way through the courts.
Canadian critics of this project therefore have plenty of scope to voice their concerns and objections. This matter is none of the UN’s business.
Exhibit 2 A headline about Australia: Adani coal mine should be suspended, UN says, until all traditional owners support the project. That news article tells us:
The UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination last month wrote to Australia’s UN ambassador to raise concerns that consultation on Adani’s Indigenous Land Use Agreement (ILUA) “might not have been conducted in good faith”.
Australia’s admirable, democratic society is being second-guessed by UN officials who will face no consequences should its economy falter. Please note how these matters now get presented:
Australia risking its reputation, legal expert says
Martin Wagner, a managing attorney with US-based legal outfit Earth Justice…said writing to Australia was “not a step the committee takes lightly”.
“I would hope that in being called out in this way, by an international institution that is an expert in international human rights, that Australia would take that seriously,” Mr Wagner said.
Opponents of an Australian coal mine enlist the help of a UN committee – whose actions are then supported by an American environmental law firm. This is an orchestrated campaign to bully a democratic nation into a particular course of action.
Rather than working within Australia’s democratic system, rather than persuading their fellow citizens, coal mine opponents hope the opinions of outside officials will supersede and nullify the views of their fellow citizens.
Resource-rich countries such as Canada and Australia feed families by harvesting their resources. Energy – whether produced by hydro electric dams or coal mines – is necessary for modern life.
It’s unrealistic to expect 100% of any group of humans to agree about anything. The fact that some aboriginal folks disapprove is unfortunate but unavoidable.
If small minorities are given the power to veto resource development, affluent societies with decent standards of living won’t remain so for long.