The Vancouver Sun’s Don Cayo relied on the Macdonald-Laurier Institute’s research on social licence for a recent column.

Cayo, in raising questions about what the term means for British Columbia, cites a recent commentary from MLI Managing Director Brian Lee Crowley.


In the commentary, titled “When Social Licence Demands Become an Attack on Democracy”, Crowley argues that activists and protesters are exploiting the term.

Social licence was originally designed to capture the notion that natural resource and other development companies need to win a measure of public support for projects above and beyond the legal regulatory approvals from government.

Now, he says, development opponents are using the concept to oppose development of any kind and, in the process, undermining democracy and the rule of law.

Cayo writes that the commentary raises a number of questions British Columbia is currently in the midst of confronting.

MLI Senior Fellow Dwight Newman also authored a commentary on the subject. It examined the history of the term and its legal underpinnings.

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