MLI has written extensively on the importance of the Northern Gateway pipeline for Canada’s economy and Aboriginal communities.

OTTAWA, June 16, 2014 – Commentators from the Macdonald-Laurier Institute, Canada’s only truly national public policy think tank based in Ottawa, are available to provide insight and analysis on the federal government’s impending decision on the Northern Gateway project.

The federal government is expected to reveal today or tomorrow whether it has decided to approve, reject or further delay a decision on the pipeline.

MLI has conducted extensive research on the Northern Gateway project and its implications for Aboriginal communities and Canada’s economic prosperity. Its experts are available to offer analysis and comment on the implications of whatever decision the federal government makes.

Last year the institute released a paper, titled “The Way Out: New thinking about Aboriginal engagement and energy infrastructure to the West Coast”, extolling the benefits of building the pipeline. The authors, MLI Managing Director Brian Lee Crowley and Senior Fellow Ken Coates, explain the Northern Gateway pipeline would allow Canada to use its oil to meet the demand from energy hungry countries in Asia, such as China.

The project also has the potential to deliver unprecedented prosperity to Aboriginal communities. Properly engaging the First Nations communities that live along the pipeline corridor would not only win their approval but also provide them with an opportunity to become “equity stakeholders” and share in the project’s wealth creation.

"We want to make sure that Canadians understand that Northern Gateway stands at the intersection of Canada's aspirations to be a world energy superpower; environmental standards of 21st century resource development; and the present and future status of Aboriginal/Non-aboriginal relations in Canada”, Coates and Crowley write.

However this is a decision that needs to be made relatively quickly. As Crowley explained in an op-ed published earlier this month by the Globe and Mail, the opportunities from natural resources have a limited life span; Canada cannot dither forever.

Earlier this year, MLI also released a paper by University of Saskatchewan professor Dwight Newman examining the implications of the federal government’s ‘duty to consult’ Aboriginal groups on natural resource projects. Newman argues that this constitutional doctrine should be used as a ‘lever’ to bring governments, Aboriginals and businesses together to reach a consensus on resource development.

The following MLI authors are available to comment:

Ken Coates: Coates is a University of Saskatchewan professor who has authored several MLI papers and op-eds for media outlets (including the Globe and Mail, the National Post and the Toronto Star) on natural resource development and First Nations communities.

Dwight Newman: Newman is a University of Saskatchewan professor who authored a paper for MLI on the federal government’s ‘duty to consult’ with Aboriginals on natural resources projects.

# # #

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.

To arrange an interview, please contact Mark Brownlee, communications manager, at 613-482-8327 x. 105 or email at mark.brownlee@macdonaldlaurier.ca.