Writing in the Winnipeg Sun, Aboriginal affairs columnist Joseph Quesnel calls for the Manitoba government “to sit down with First Nations in this province and figure out how First Nations communities are going to receive a share of the province’s resource wealth”.
Quesnel writes about opposition by the Opaskwayak Cree Nation to a proposed hydro transmission project as one example of the failure of the Manitoba government to come to grips with the province’s First Nations. “The time has come to move beyond small-scale impact and benefits agreements and to look at the whole resource revenue pie”, he writes.
Quesnel points out that “in January 2015, Ken Coates of the Macdonald-Laurier Institute, an Ottawa-based think tank, argued in an insightful paper called Sharing the Wealth: How Resource Revenue Sharing Can Honour Treaties, Improve Communities, and Facilitate Canadian Development, that a conversation on this topic was over overdue. Only 20 years ago he wrote this and it was a radical notion. But not anymore”. Quesnel argues that this “idea may even come to transcend ideology”.
“It would be historic if Manitoba could negotiate reasonable and publicly acceptable resource revenue sharing agreements with its First Nations”, writes Quesnel.