Sean SpeerThis week’s meeting between Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and First Nations groups holds great potential for advancing the cause of Aboriginal Canadians, say MLI Senior Fellows

OTTAWA, March 1, 2016 – The latest meeting between the federal government and Aboriginal groups represents a great opportunity to make progress for First Nations, say two MLI Senior Fellows, particularly in the field of energy development.

Ken Coates and Sean Speer, the authors of a recent paper on using energy infrastructure to benefit Aboriginal communities, are available to provide analysis on this week’s meeting between Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and First Nations groups.

Trudeau will meet with representatives from the Assembly of First Nations, the Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami and the Métis National Council ahead of his March 2 meeting with provincial and territorial premiers in Vancouver.

The gathering could go a long way toward setting a new tone between the federal government and Aboriginal Canadians.

Ken CoatsFor example, said Coates and Speer in their recent paper, energy development projects like pipelines will allow Aboriginal Canadians to find a new economic footing.

Because of these developments, far-flung regions of the country, including many reserves, now have high-paying and stable employment where previously they had none.

Speer and Coates recommend the government find new ways to partner with First Nations. One proposal – for governments to share the revenues from natural resource projects with Aboriginal communities – is already gaining traction.

Coates has detailed that idea, known as resource revenue sharing, in a paper for MLI.

He is also the author of “Unearthing Human Resources”, a look at how to build on the success of Aboriginal Canadians in finding work in the natural resource sector.


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

Sean Speer is a Senior Fellow at the Macdonald-Laurier Institute. He previously served in different roles for the federal government including as senior economic adviser to the Prime Minister and director of policy to the Minister of Finance.

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.

For more information, please contact Mark Brownlee, communications manager, at 613-482-8327 x105 or email at

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