EDMONTON – First Nations should get some of the money generated by resources on their lands, suggests a report commissioned by the federal government and the Assembly of First Nations.
The report, released Tuesday by the Working Group on Natural Resource Development, says a First Nations resource tax could be a consistent and practical way for mineral and energy wealth to benefit aboriginal communities.
“We strongly urge the federal government, along with the provinces and territories, to come together with First Nations to explore options for resource revenue sharing,” says the report.
“This discussion is long overdue and requires immediate action in order to bring greater predictability to resource development in Canada and establish a long-term pathway to greater First Nations self-reliance.”
The group was struck after a meeting between Prime Minister Stephen Harper and former Assembly of First Nations grand chief Shawn Atleo. Its report was issued after meetings in Toronto and Edmonton between First Nations, governments, industry and non-governmental organizations.
The report also suggests that aboriginals deserve a role in planning resource development, instead of just being asked to comment on projects that have already been finalized.
“We are notified at the 11th hour,” said Cameron Alexis, a co-chairman of the group and regional AFN chief for Alberta.
“The green light for the project has been given and we’ve become just a check mark. We need to be involved at the very beginning.”
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