By Bob Weber, The Canadian Press
EDMONTON – Simmering disputes over the oilsands between Alberta aboriginals and the provincial and federal governments will break into the open in 2014 as virtually every one of the many recent changes in oversight of the controversial industry comes under legal and political attack.
“All litigation, all the time, is what I see on the horizon,” said Larry Innes, lawyer for the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation.
Over the last 18 months, Ottawa and Edmonton have rewritten the book on resource development. Everything from how aboriginals will be consulted to land use planning to oilsands monitoring to the basic ground rules for environmental assessment has been changed.
Governments say the new regime is more efficient, predictable and transparent. Aboriginals say it violates their rights and ignores their recommendations.
So as aboriginal groups in British Columbia prepare for an expected attack on the Northern Gateway pipeline proposal, Alberta aboriginals are pushing back with a long list of lawsuits either now or soon to be before the courts.