Professors Tony VanDuzer and Melanie Mallet win prize for article examining the intersection between Indigenous rights and international trade

Posted on Thursday, November 4, 2021

Professors Tony VanDuzer and Melanie Mallet have been selected as the inaugural recipients of the Charles B. Bourne Article Prize for their recent contributoon “Indigenous Rights and Trade Obligations: How Does CUSMA’s Indigenous General Exception Apply to Canada?”, published in volume 58 of The Canadian Yearbook of International Law.

Indigenous peoples have struggled to have their inherent and treaty rights recognized and affirmed by Canadian governments. This article examines Canadian commitments under the Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement (CUSMA), which is the first Canadian treaty to include a general exception for measures that a party state “deems necessary to fulfill its legal obligations to [I]ndigenous peoples.” This exception is likely to afford Canada broad, but not unlimited, discretion to determine what its legal obligations to Indigenous peoples require. But there is a residual risk that Canada’s reliance on the exception could be challenged through the CUSMA dispute settlement process. A CUSMA panel would not have the expertise necessary to decide inevitably complex questions related to what Canada’s legal obligations to Indigenous peoples require and would thus risk creating potentially damaging consequences for Canada’s Indigenous relationships.

The article was judged to make an outstanding contribution to international law through its expert, insightful and timely treatment, in the Canadian context, of the understudied intersection between international trade and investment law and the rights of Indigenous peoples.

The Charles B. Bourne Prize is awarded to the authors of an article published in The Canadian Yearbook of International Law that makes an outstanding contribution to international law. The prize was established in 2020 in honour of Charles B. Bourne, founding editor-in-chief of the Yearbook from 1963 to 1992.

Congratulations to Professors VanDuzer and Mallet!

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