Brian Lee Crowley

Gender-based Analysis as if *everyone* matters

In the Sun newspapers on 8 June 2018 Sean Speer and I had some fun at the expense of self-righteous government social engineers by pointing out the hypocrisy and double-standards implicit in Ottawa’s policy of “gender-based analysis”. We argue that if GBA is a serious policy, we must look at the differential impact of policies on each sex and seek to mitigate sex-specific harms wherever they may occur. But of course the government thinks that it only matters if *women* are disadvantaged by a policy, not men. A case in point: the many policies currently in place that are placing enormous strain on the natural resource economy. As Sean and I wrote:

“One currently-ignored area ripe for more people-centred analysis, for example, is natural resources and the trade-offs that policymakers are implicitly making between employment and other considerations such as reducing carbon emissions. Proper GBA would reveal that the effects of this policy are relatively minor for women but devastating for men.”

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MLI launches Pod Bless Canada — first 6 episodes

The Macdonald-Laurier Institute has launched a new series of podcasts entitled Pod Bless Canada. Each episode of roughly 30 minutes showcases a chat between an MLI representative and someone knowledgeable about a key issue of the day.  Here are links to the first six episodes:

On 2 Feb. 2018, Sean Speer and I talked debts, deficits and responsible public finances.

On 16 Feb. 2018 Shuvaloy Majumdar and I talked about the Canada-India relationship in the context of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s trip to India.

On 22 Feb. 2018 it was the turn of MLI Sr Fellow Ken Coates to join me to talk about the opportunities for Indigenous people in the natural resource economy.

On 6 March 2018 Sean Speer to discuss the nexus between business and political decision making in Canada.

On 20 March 2018 in one of my personal favourites, Canadian J. Michael Cole, a specialist on Taiwanese affairs, came in to discuss with me China, Taiwan, cross-strait relations, tensions in the Indo-Pacific and more.

Finally, another favourite: on 23 March 2018 Ryerson University history professor Patrice Dutil and I talked frankly about whether Canadians should feel ashamed about Canada’s past.

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The economic value of reconciliation with Indigenous peoples in Canada

In my last column for the ROB’s Economy Lab (in the G&M, 28 Oct.), I made the case for reconciliation with Indigenous people (FNs, Metis and Inuit) not just on grounds of fairness and justice, but in terms of the business case. The legal and bargaining powers of Aboriginal peoples in Canada are here to stay. The only question is whether we will make that power work within the framework of the rest of our institutions (e.g. the rule of law, reliable and predictable settlement of disputes, respect of contracts, etc.) or whether we will let it become an insurmountable obstacle to investment and development, particularly in the natural resource sector. Check out the column for my thoughts on how to make this work.

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Aboriginal Canada and development: Get the narrative right!

Is Aboriginal Canada, mired in poverty and poor education, nonetheless opposed in principle to doing anything to change their circumstances? You might be forgiven for thinking this if you read much of the commentary in the media surrounding the recent decision by one community to turn down over $1-billion in benefits from the proponents of an LNG facility on the west coast. But dig a little deeper and you quickly discover that in fact the reverse is closer to the truth and Aboriginal Canada is thoughtfully seizing many of the opportunities that natural resource development in particular is making available. They just want to make these decisions on their own terms. Read all about it in my latest column for the ROB’s Economy Lab feature in the Globe.

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Duty to consult: What it is…and isn’t

In my column for the ROB’s (Globe and Mail) Economy Lab today I put under the microscope the Supreme Court of Canada’s doctrine of the Crown’s duty to consult and accommodate Aboriginal people when their key interests are engaged, as in e.g. natural resource developments. As I see it, the doctrine leaves intact governments’ ability to act in the larger public interest, but they may only do so after good faith consultations with Aboriginal people. *Both* parties must come to the table and seek agreement in good faith. This means that neither Aboriginal communities nor governments are entitled to decide unilaterally whether adequate consultation has taken place.  Ultimately the courts will arbitrate. Thus this is neither a blank cheque to governments to carry on as before, nor a right of veto for Aboriginal people, but a call by the courts for constructive engagement. The balance is a fine one. Can we make it work?

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Burnt Church and Elsipogtog: What a difference 15 years makes

Those who think the recent confrontations over fracking in Elsipogtog are unprecedented and intractable have forgotten their history. Fifteen years ago the issue was the fishery and Burnt Church was the flashpoint. Fast forward to today and what has emerged is an Aboriginal fishery that obeys the DFO rules, has created over 1500 jobs for Aboriginal people and holds out the prospect of real sustainable economic progress for dozens of First Nations communities in the Maritimes, all at a cost of a piddling $11m a year. Practical solutions exist to the problem of involving Aboriginal people in the natural resource economy. Read my column in the Globe’s ROB.

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Ken Coates and me on the fracking mess in NB

My good friend Ken Coates and I recently published an op-ed in the Globe and Mail about the violent confrontations occurring at the Elsipogtog First Nation reserve in New Brunswick. While Ken and I fervently agree that violence is not to be condoned, the reaction in a great deal of the media betrays once again the extent to which the rest of society has not caught up with the rapidly evolving relationship between Aboriginal peoples and natural resource development.  Fortunately, models are now coming to the fore in which First Nations’ legitimate rights and interests are being taken into account. We have to push farther and faster in this direction or Canada’s economic future will be seriously damaged.

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Brian Lee Crowley
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