Departmental Speaker: Martin Papillon

On October 2nd, Associate Professor Martin Papillon was as a Department Speaker for the Political Science Department.

Papillon is an Associate Professor of Political Science and the Director of the Centre de recherche sur les politiques et le développement social (CPDS). His academic work focuses on federalism and citizenship in the context of Indigenous land claims and self-government agreements. He is currently working on a comparative project on Indigenous peoples’ participation in natural resource extraction and the implementation of the principle of free, prior and informed consent (FPIC) in Latin America, Canada and Scandinavia. He is the author of a number of journal articles and books on Indigenous politics in Canada, especially in Quebec. He is the author of the main reference volume on Indigenous politics in Quebec, Les Autochtones et le Québec: des premiers contacts au Plan Nord. He also edited State of the Federation: Aboriginal Multilevel Governance in Canada with McGill-Queen’s Press.

Title of Talk: Norm Translation and the Performative Politics of Indigenous Consent in Canada.


While it is increasingly recognized as a core element of the emerging international indigenous rights regime, the principle of Indigenous free, prior and informed consent (FPIC) remains a contested norm, especially in the context of land and natural resource development. Building on the literature on international human rights norms translation, I suggest we need to look at FPIC implementation as a political struggle that depends not only on institutional legacies but also on the agency of various actors who seek to appropriate the norm and institutionalize it according to their own interests and worldview.  Looking more specifically at Canada, I suggest that government and industry actors are actively engaged in framing FPIC, but so are Indigenous nations and communities. A number of Indigenous nations have chosen to give substance to the norm by developing their own mechanisms to express their free, prior and informed consent. I illustrate the potential and limits of this strategy of Indigenous appropriation through performative politics using recent examples from mining in Northern Quebec and pipeline politics in British Columbia.


Select Publications:

Indigenous Consent and Natural Resource Extraction. Foundations for a Made-in-Canada Approach, IRPP Insight, no.16, 2017, 2-26 (avec T. Rodon).

Proponent-Indigenous Agreements and the Implementation of the Right to Free, Prior and Informed Consent in Canada, Environmental Impact Assessment Review, volume 62, january 2017, 216–224 (avec T. Rodon)

Structure, Agency and the Reconfiguration of Indigenous Citizenship in Canada,Citizenship as a Regime: Canadian and International Perspectives, M. Paquet, N. Nagels et A-C Fourot (dirs.), McGill-Queen’s Press, 2018.

The State of the Federation 2013: Aboriginal Multilevel Governance, McGill-Queen’s Press, 2015 (dir. avec A. Juneau)

Comparing Canada: Methods and Perspectives on Canadian Politics, Luc Turgeon, Martin Papillon, Jennifer Wallner, Stephen White (dirs.), UBC Press, 2014

Les autochtones et le Québec. Des premiers contacts au Plan Nord, Alain Beaulieu, Stéphan Gervais, Martin Papillon (dirs.), Presses de l’Université de Montréal, 2013.

Adapting Federalism: Indigenous Multilevel Governance in Canada and the United States, Publius: The Journal of Federalism 42(3), 2012, 289-312.

Additional publications by Papillon can be found here.