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Political Roadkill

Resource Rulers: Fortune and Folly on Canada?s Road to Resourcesv

Another premier has just gone down to defeat in what is a stunning political reversal at the hands of the electorate; an electorate that had native issues on its mind. Yukon Party Premier Darrell Pasloski struck out; losing his own seat, the party leadership, and the right to govern for another four years. His government was routed by the Liberals who were not even official opposition, and who had but one seat in the Territorial Legislature when the election was called. They now have a majority. Here's how the CBC defined the outcome the next day:

Central to the Liberal campaign was the promise of a renewed relationship with the territory's First Nations. The Yukon Party had a famously antagonistic relationship with Yukon First Nations, sometimes ending up in court. (CBC News Nov 7 2016)

There's considerable understatement in that news quote. I know, because I tracked, warned, traveled to, presented at, went on CBC, wrote for Yukon News, warning that Yukon was driving out industry by litigating natives at every turn. By the time of the election, the territory was down to one producing mine. Along the way my book became part of the story; check out this local news clip:

Kaska Deliver Gift to Premier: The chiefs of the Kaska First Nations have made one last point before the holidays to show their displeasure with the Yukon Government. They've presented the premier with a copy of Bill Gallagher's new book Resource Rulers ? Chief Liard McMillan from the Laird First Nation says while he doesn?t expect Darrell Pasloski to read the book, he hopes the gift will inspire more dialogue between the two sides. (CKRW 96.1 The Rush Dec 19 2012)

It's beyond the scope of this article to enumerate the legion of litigation missteps flowing from the Yukon Party's penchant to duke it out with First Nations in court.

But here's how the new Liberal leader first came to my attention as I tracked events: 

Hansard December 2, 2014 Question legal actions against government Mr Silver: The losses in court are piling up. This government lost a major decision at the end of 2012 and it lost an even bigger one today. In December of 2012, a former chief of the Liard First nation presented this premier with a book. It was called resource Rulers, and it was written by Canadian author, Bill Gallagher. The Premier obviously did not even open that book. The author points out in great detail the importance of working with, and not against First Nation governments when making decisions about land and resources. He also detailed First Nation governments? almost uninterrupted winning streak in the courts when it comes to battles over resources. ?. When is this government going to understand that its unilateral approach is creating economic uncertainty?

This exchange came two years after the airport Christmas present, and another two years after this Hansard exchange, we now have we have the result. The envelope please:

Premier Pasloski becomes the latest premier to become political roadkill on the road to resources. Previously, this honour was held by Premier David Alward who paid an identical price after meeting First Nations head-on over hydraulic fracturing at Rexton, New Brunswick. And I publicly predicted both outcomes; able to do so based on the data and trends served up by the native legal winning streak - now at win # 235 and counting. There's a direct cause-and effect link between a premiers legal strategy and their tenure in office. 

When a Globe and Mail reporter flipped me an email congratulating me on my Alberta 'prophesy' ? I bridled on his use of that word. Because I prefer the word 'prediction'. I reiterate that this remains the biggest under-reported business story of the decade, with highly predictable outcomes for anyone who?s prepared to do the investigative reporting. But that doesn't happen any more in mainstream media. 

Which is why this is likely the only article you'll read calling these former premiers 'political roadkill' on the road to resources. 

It's no wonder the new Yukon premier said in his victory speech that he was going to 'reset the relationship' ? 'honour negotiated treaties' ... 'the pathway to Yukon's economic future'. So good luck to Premier Sandy Silver. Because he's figured it out!

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