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MLI welcomes call for Aboriginal engagement in resource development

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New report echoes findings from Senior Fellow Ken Coates on the importance of resource revenue sharing in resource development

OTTAWA, March 5 – The Macdonald-Laurier Institute was pleased to see the report of the Working Group on Natural Resource Development, a joint venture by the federal government and First Nations that emerged from the 2013 meeting between Stephen Harper and former Assembly of First Nations Chief Shawn Atleo.

The report, released March 4, 2015, had a number of encouraging recommendations on Aboriginal people and natural resources that echo the work of MLI, particularly the panel’s support for resource revenue sharing.

MLI’s January 2015 report on this subject, Sharing the Wealth, authored by Senior Fellow Ken Coates, examined this issue and recommended provincial and federal government attention to Aboriginal expectations that they be able to participate more equitably in resource revenues.

“Resource revenue sharing is one of the most promising developments in Aboriginal – government relations and Indigenous economic development in recent decades,” says Coates.

Rather than simply calling for more study, the MLI report made clear that resource revenue sharing is a current Canadian reality, with systems operating from Newfoundland to the Yukon and flowing from modern treaties in the North and a new revenue sharing system in British Columbia. Resource revenue sharing is a reality.

MLI’s research leaves little doubt that resource revenue sharing is a suitable and appropriate response to the need for Aboriginal support of natural resource projects. Indigenous Canadians make it clear repeatedly that they are not going to prevent well-planned development that takes their needs and interests into account. It is time for Canadian policy to align itself with the emerging law and with the growing reality of Aboriginal participation in the resource sector.


Ken Coates is a Senior Fellow with the Macdonald-Laurier Institute and a Canada Research Chair in Regional Innovation in the Johnson-Shoyama Graduate School of Public Policy at the University of Saskatchewan.

The Macdonald-Laurier Institute is the only non-partisan, independent national public policy think tank in Ottawa focusing on the full range of issues that fall under the jurisdiction of the federal government. Join us in 2015 as we celebrate our 5th anniversary.

For more information or to arrange an interview with Ken Coates, please contact Mark Brownlee, communications manager, at 613-482-8327 x105 or email at



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