New report stresses the importance of revenue sharing in resource development

by Keith Powell

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.

To read the full paper, click here.

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