Day 1 of COP:
Today started out with enthusiasm as the buzz of people from all over the world were all gathering together to get down to business. The CYD got up really early to attend the Canadian Action Network to strategize for the Canadian Stakeholder meeting later on in the day with Louise Métivier, Chief Negotiator for Canada, and Catherine Stewart, Deputy Chief Negotiator. They are no chiefs of mine. CAN-RAK prepared a couple questions, where I emphasized language around inclusion, equity and Indigenous rights.
“We’re pleased to know that the development of the pan-Canadian climate plan is well under way, and we look forward to seeing the final plan embrace the commitment to increased ambition that is the essential theme of this year’s COP. We also see great potential in the effort by Canada, United States and Mexico to coordinate efforts on long-term decarbonisation strategies, and we not that Minister McKenna will be participating in a high-level session next Wednesday November 16 with her US and Mexican counterparts. Can you give us an indication of how well this strategy will align with the 1.5oC long-term target for average global warming, and how the strategy will emphasize inclusion, equity, and particularly Indigenous rights?”
Response from Louise Métiver, “I can’t comment.” She explained that they cannot disclose anything they plan to consider before they negotiate with other countries. I then followed up with a question asking if Indigenous rights would be included specifically within Canada for a National Plan. Response was that it was in the Mandate and Preamble of the Paris Agreement, however did not specify if they would actually fulfill that Mandate and to what extent, and spoke in a way that having Indigenous knowledges be included within the Preamble was something I should be grateful for and be happy that something was included regarding Indigenous peoples. I then did a third follow-up, which I technically wasn’t allowed to but asked anyways. I asked them how they defined Indigenous rights if they were International such as the UNDRIP or solely constitutional recognized Aboriginal and Treaty rights? Response was also “no comment.”
Clearly this is a solid indication that something isn’t right here in terms of Indigenous rights, in particular UNDRIP. I could be jumping the gun, but if Indigenous rights were such a priority for this government, they would have taken more pride in bringing up anything Indigenous rights related as much as they are “Carbon pricing.” But, who am I kidding, clearly these stakeholder meetings aren’t transparent for Indigenous folks within Canada.
Catherine McKenna plans to be at COP for the last week, and will be holding an event on the Wednesday November 16th, literally two days before COP22 concludes. This literally doesn’t give Indigenous peoples adequate time to introduce their priorities during COP22 in a time that is meaningful before any final decisions towards Canada’s climate plan, especially from Indigenous youth who came all this way to be heard.
How are Indigenous youth expected to sit idly by without feeling frustrated that the Canadian government thinks that Indigenous peoples are a last priority in terms to addressing climate change, and have a chief negotiator that refuses to comment on anything Indigenous rights related?
Too be continued…