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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Forest development, First Nations and distributive justice in Mackenzie Forest District Dodds, Stephen Walter


This thesis examines the emotionally charged relationship between First Nation representatives and the licensee and government stewards of forest development. It provides an overview of the Mackenzie Forest District, its communities, its First Nations, and its stewards. It then discusses the institutional arrangements that constitute the planning and decision-making milieu. Next it provides an historical and a local overview of issues and events that concern First Nation representatives. Turning to principles of distributive justice (elements of political theory that prescribe how resources, opportunity, and power should be distributed among persons) it explains Ronald Dworkin's (1978 & 1985) principle of equal concern and respect, and Joseph Raz's (1986) principle of autonomy. Those principles are then used to support the issues and concerns raised by First Nation representatives and suggest recommendations that could help to mitigate them. The approach taken differs from most forestry theses. Principles of distributive justice, not environmental or ecological principles, are used as a basis for its recommendations, and its focus is on the validity of normative, as opposed to empirical, claims. As I am convinced that many are not aware that good forest stewardship requires the application of rigorous principles of distributive justice, this thesis was written to demonstrate the utility of this approach.

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