Sunday, 5 June 2016

Sophisticated Marketing, Oil Companies and Indigenous Rights in Canada

With the Canadian government’s announcement that it intends to fully implement the provisions of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP), alongside a 2014 Canadian Supreme Court decision that interprets the principle of  free prior and informed consent (FPIC) as requiring the permission of indigenous groups in most instances, and not simply an exercise in consultation, amidstproposals to extend pipelines,  there is a potent stew of issues that will play out in real life situations. What all of this means for indigenous rights is yet to be seen.

Yet, alongside these developments that are supportive of indigenous rights, oil companies have engaged in increasingly complex marketing and advertising approaches, according to research that was presented by AdamHarmes at the 2016 Congress of Humanities and Social Sciences. For instance: “Oil sector marketing initiatives found employees are more trustedspokespeople than CEOs. Their testimonials spoken before a backdrop of lush,forested areas are effective sales tools.”

As the push continues for permission to expand for instance, the Trans Mountain pipeline, the intersection of indigenous rights developments with oil company campaigns for support will play out in ways that test the strength of what the Canadian government intends in its announcement to fully implement the UNDRIP and the position the Canadian Supreme Court has taken on the meaning of FPIC.

Further information on Professor Harmes' research can be found at this link. 

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