Bill Gallagher, Author, Lawyer, Strategist
Resource Rulers: Fortune and Folly on Canada’s Road to Resources
In keeping with my Resource Rulers approach, here are 10 (evolving) events that I profiled over a year ago as having the potential to decide resource sector outcomes:
10. Premiers Dunderdale and Redford both walked-the-plank having run Tory governments that were (are) mired in resources controversy and native litigation. Might it have been different had they paid more attention to that key relationship?
9. As a direct result, Premier Alward lost Redford as his only co-sponsor for Energy East. They were recently in photo-ops together at Canaport & Alberta’s legislature. With NB & NS natives offside, it puts that project in serious need of ‘social license’.
8. Also as a direct result, Premier Clark likewise lost her (oilsands) sparring partner. Thus she’s now left alone to tout her LNG ‘made in BC’ gas export alternative backed 100% by her government – and more importantly by native pipeline entrepreneurs.
7. With interim Premier Hancock now running Alberta (‘back to the future’) it’ll never be admitted by CAPP & CEPA that Redford was the biggest champion the energy sector and pipeline sector had on the international side and export markets.
The ‘Group Think’ high water mark might well have coincided with her abrupt exit.
6. Premier Wynne handed-off the future of the Ring-of-Fire to Deloitte for policy guidance. What does this say about Ontario’s much-touted ability to manage its resources future? What does this say about the cross-piled and ongoing litigation? The ‘Time Warp’ disconnect at Queen’s Park (while improving) is still the problem.
5. Premier Marois might be next to walk-the-plank since she too ignored the native empowerment reality in her own backyard. If Quebec ever seceded it might well be smaller than neighboring New Brunswick. See the Clarity Act Reference for guidance as to how empowered Cree, Mohawk, Innu are when it comes to their homelands.
4. Premier McLeod leads in crown-native resource revenue sharing, just announced as an inducement for natives to support NWT devolution (from Ottawa) April 01. However ongoing industry confusion and (pending) native litigation around the new (supposedly streamlined) SuperBoard – means the region is still ‘Boarded-Up’!
3. A cascade of native litigation descended upon Premier Pasloski in Yukon as a result of his government’s decision to repackage (reduce) the Peel Watershed’s protected areas. As the foregoing examples show, political leaders pay the price.
2. A new batch of native leaders is emerging: AMC’s Derek Nepinak, ACFN’s Allan Adam, FMFN’s Jim Boucher, NuK’s Todd Russell, HN’s Ellis Ross – all pro-business – but guided by the following philosophy (as recently enunciated in Winnipeg): There’s a new generation of leaders in First Nations territories and we aren’t going to miss the next round of nation building through natural resource development on our lands.
1. Yet there’s no national dialogue occurring on the foregoing native empowerment mantra; backed-up as it is by the native legal winning streak now closing in on 200. This political-industry-native vacuum continues to take a serious toll on projects: pipelines, mines, hydropower, forestry, transportation – even resource access!
Resource Rulers is meant as a wake-up call to Canadians to get our resources sector up-and-running. All we have to do is welcome natives into economic partnerships and share the wealth. Since we’re still sleepwalking – it’s even more relevant today.