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Josh Giesbrecht Aboriginal Affairs Specialist Ottawa, Ontario

Josh Giesbrecht has a unique perspective on resource development in Canada. Half Ojibway on his mother’s side, and half Hispanic on his father’s side, he was raised by Mennonites in the Manitoba town of Steinbach, population 13,000.

Today, Giesbrecht is completing a co-op placement at Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada, where he has been attached to the ongoing implementation process surrounding the Nunavut Land Claims Agreement. “Nothing worth accomplishing is easy,” he recently told the Financial Post. “And I don’t think it should be easy. As much as I am pro-development and think it benefits everybody, I do like that they’re actually making real dialogue.”

When it comes to resource development, he believes First Nations and others have a lot more to gain from dialogue and negotiation than the alternatives. First Nations are the fastest growing demographic in the country, with the average age at just 25. “There’s real potential here. If we can benefit from this development right now, it will pay huge dividends for future generations.”

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