Implications of hydroelectric partnerships in northern Manitoba: do partnership agreements provide social licence?
Over the past century, Manitoba has promoted the construction of hydroelectric dams as a means of producing energy. These projects are produced on Indigenous territory and bring these communities into direct conflict with the province and Manitoba Hydro. Recently, Manitoba Hydro has promoted partnerships with affected First Nations. These partnerships provide communities the “opportunity” to purchase shares of the dams with the goal of gaining profits. Partnerships have been established for two projects as a means of suggesting social licence. Social licence is an informal licence provided by a community to show support and consent for a project in their area. A progressive definition of social licence is when communities provide “free, prior, and informed consent.” Partnership agreements in northern Manitoba do not provide social licence, as the communities involvement in the project, and the means by which the partnership is established do not provide “free, prior, and informed consent.”
Hydroelectric development, Manitoba Hydro, Northern Manitoba