Writing in the Wall Street Journal, reporters Paul Vieira and Chester Dawson note that Canada's new Minister of Natural Resources, Greg Rickford, "immediately takes on one of the biggest challenges facing the Canadian economy: the stalled effort to get approval for Keystone XL". They also note that given the importance of Aboriginal engagement in developing natural resources, Rickford's "experience on the aboriginal affairs file could prove crucial as the country's indigenous people demand greater say on how energy and mining projects proceed".

This is a major area of interest for the Macdonald-Laurier Institute, and the subject of a major project involving Managing Director Brian Lee Crowley and Senior Fellow Ken Coates. The authors of the WSJ article write that "the Macdonald-Laurier Institute, an Ottawa think tank, has warned Canada's goal of becoming an energy superpower hinges greatly on Ottawa's ability to build ties with its indigenous people".

This work includes papers such as New Beginnings: How Canada's Natural Resource Wealth Could Re-shape Relations with Aboriginal People, by Ken Coates and Brian Lee Crowley, Canada and the First Nations: Cooperation or Conflict?, by Douglas Bland, and The Way Out: New thinking about Aboriginal engagement and energy infrastructure to the West coast, by Brian Lee Crowley and Ken Coates.