A biblical lesson in natural resource equity

Go right back to the Bible, Joshua 9:23, and you might find a definition that many hold true of the Canadian economy...

GO right back to the Bible, Joshua 9:23, and you might find a definition that many hold true of the Canadian economy: “Now therefore ye are cursed, and there shall none of you be freed from being bondmen and hewers of wood and drawers of water for the house of my God.”

Which is to say Canadians are forever in servitude to others when it comes to control of natural resources, how they are used and developed and who benefits.

Successive court rulings regarding aboriginal rights and title to land and resources have now elevated that issue in regards to how First Nations can fully and equitably participate in resource extraction and use.

While companies with large projects now routinely make provisions for First Nation businesses and individuals to benefit from either contracts or employment, the challenge has been how to provide the wherewithal for First Nations to not only have a piece of the pie but the bakery which produces it.

Step forward a new body called the First Nations Major Projects Coalition which says one of the drawbacks to First Nations ownership in projects is the inability to secure financing.

Its solution is to have loans backed by federal government guarantees, not an unusual proposition given that governments do this within other economic sectors.

The federal government would do well to consider the idea.



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