Senior Fellow Ken Coates says that meetings are “critical for the Assembly of First Nations and, therefore, for Canada”.

OTTAWA, July 15, 2014 – Experts from the Macdonald-Laurier Institute are available to comment on issues raised during the meeting of the Assembly of First Nations, taking place in Halifax this week.

The AFN leaders are set to debate everything from the Supreme Court’s recent Tsilhqot’in decision, which expanded First Nations’ land title rights, to the ongoing debate surrounding the Northern Gateway pipeline and the federal government’s Aboriginal education policy.

MLI Senior Fellow Ken Coates, who the New Brunswick government recently appointed to an advisory board on First Nations relations, says these are a “crucial” set of meetings for the future of the AFN.

“Given the events of the past months and the crucial issues on the agenda -- Supreme Court decisions, education and relations with the Government of Canada -- the forthcoming meeting is critical for the Assembly of First Nations and, therefore, for Canada”, said Coates.

MLI authors have contributed several recent op-eds and papers on Aboriginal issues:

Coates’ column on the Tsilhqot’in decision, which appeared in several New Brunswick newspapers;

Coates’ column on the federal government’s Northern Gateway pipeline decision, which appeared in the Globe and Mail.

A paper from MLI author Dwight Newman on the federal government’s ‘duty to consult’ Aboriginals;

A paper from Coates and MLI Managing Director Brian Lee Crowley on how natural resource wealth could re-shape relations with Aboriginal people;

A paper from Coates and Crowley on working with Aboriginal peoples on major pipeline projects.

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Ken Coates is the author of several books on Aboriginals in Canada and was recently appointed as an adviser to the New Brunswick government on provincial relations with First Nations.

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 with Ken Coates, please contact Mark Brownlee, communications manager, at 613-482-8327 x 105 or email at mark.brownlee@macdonaldlaurier.ca. On Twitter @MLInstitute