The future of Canada’s vast resources is in hands of this country’s Aboriginal population, and the lengthy list of court losses proves it. That was the theme of a presentation by Bill Gallagher, lawyer and author of Resource Rulers: Fortune and Folly on Canada’s Road to Resources. During his speech, presented by the Manitoba Chambers of Commerce and the Treaty Relations Commission of Manitoba, Gallagher painted the picture of how Canada is missing a huge economic opportunity by not working and dealing with First Nations communities and how the court losses will continue to pile up in their favour if a new approach is not taken. Gallagher is hopeful Manitoba will be at the forefront in approaching resource deals in partnership with First Nations and work with them as partners and not adversaries, pointing specifically to the widening of Kenaston Boulevard as a key litmus test.

The crowd also heard an impassioned presentation from Cree business leader and advocate, Christian Sinclair, on how working with Aboriginal groups can be achieved. He was quick to point out the success Cree communities have had in Quebec working with mining companies as the model for future success. Sinclair also spoke about how Aboriginals need to form a united voice and be better prepared and aware of the power they hold when it comes to resources in this country.

(L-R) Christian Sinclair, Treaty Commissioner Jamie Wilson, Bill Gallagher, Manitoba Chambers of Commerce President and CEO Chuck Davidson