GNWT and GTC sign agreements to formalize relationship
AKLAVIK (October 15, 2012) – Government of the Northwest Territories (GNWT) Premier Bob McLeod and Gwich’in Tribal Council (GTC) President Robert A. Alexie signed three agreements on Friday to formalize their government-to-government relationship.
The three agreements were:
- the Devolution Agreement-in-Principle,
- a Gwich’in Tribal Council – Government of the Northwest Territories Umbrella Intergovernmental Agreement Regarding Intergovernmental Cooperation and Coordination, and
- a Memorandum of Understanding for Contracting within the Gwich’in Settlement Area (Contracting MOU).
“The signing of these agreements strengthens the relationship between the Gwich’in Tribal Council and the Government of the Northwest Territories, which is a priority for the 17th Assembly,” said Premier McLeod. “These agreements represent a commitment to the way we will work together as partners to achieve shared priorities that support the Gwich’in.”
“We hope to get three things from these three agreements,” said President Alexie. “A place at the decision table. More economic opportunities in our communities. And control over our own economic and political future. That’s the intent. That’s the goal. We are action oriented. ”
The new intergovernmental agreement lays out a series of formal information-sharing commitments by both governments. This includes the commitment that the members of the GNWT Executive Council and GTC Board of Directors will meet each year in the Gwich’in Settlement Area to establish priorities, identify areas of cooperation and set timelines. The Contracting MOU establishes a process to improve the participation of Gwich’in businesses in GNWT contracting within the Gwich’in Settlement Area.
Today’s event was also an opportunity to formalize the GTC’s return to devolution negotiations through a formal signing of the Devolution AIP by Premier McLeod, President Alexie and the Presidents of the four Gwich’in Councils: Jozef Carnogursky, Danny Greenland, Carolyn Lennie and William Koe. The Devolution Agreement in Principle was agreed to and signed in Yellowknife on September 11, 2012. GTC negotiators have been meeting with GNWT representatives regularly since the signing.
Main table negotiations on devolution are targeted to conclude this year, with devolution planned to take effect on April 1, 2014.
For more information, contact:
Office of the Premier and Executive Council
Government of the Northwest Territories
Tel: (867) 669-2302
Fax: (867) 873-0111
Director of Communications
Gwich’in Tribal Council
Tel: (867) 777-7923
Fax: (867) 777-7919
Memorandum Of Understanding For Contracting Within The Gwich’in Settlement Area – The Contracting MOU establishes a process towards improving the participation of Gwich’in businesses in GNWT contracting. There is a target of a minimum of 50 percent by value of all GNWT contracts in the Gwich’in Settlement Area over the term of the MOU going to Gwich’in businesses through the regular GNWT contracting process. For the overlap communities of Aklavik and Inuvik, it is the intention of the parties that the minimum target of 50 percent of GNWT contracting by value would include both Gwich’in and Inuvialuit businesses. The MOU’s term will be from October 12, 2012 to September 30, 2017. The GNWT will provide lists of planned capital and O&M projects according to a schedule, and will provide a one-time contribution of $20,000 to assist the GTC in updating the registry of Gwich’in businesses. Senior officials from both governments will meet regularly to discuss and review the GNWT’s proposed contracts in the GSA.
Devolution Agreement-in-Principle (AiP) – The Government of the Northwest Territories (GNWT) and the Government of Canada, along with the Inuvialuit Regional Corporation, Northwest Territory Métis Nation, Sahtu Secretariat Incorporated and Gwich’in Tribal Council, are currently in the final stage of negotiations to transfer or ‘devolve’ responsibility for the management of public lands, resources and rights in respect of waters in the NWT from the federal to the territorial government. The Devolution AiP is an important step towards the development of a final agreement, and outlines financial and other terms that the signatories have agreed upon so far. The AiP is not a legally binding document but represents the honourable intentions of the signatories to include these terms in the final agreement. Negotiations are anticipated to conclude in 2012, with the transfer to take effect on April 1, 2014. For more information about how transferring these responsibilities will benefit all NWT residents, business and investors, visit devolution.gov.nt.ca.
Gwich’in Tribal Council – Government of the Northwest Territories Umbrella Intergovernmental Agreement Regarding Intergovernmental Cooperation and Coordination — The Intergovernmental Agreement will enhance government-to-government relations between the GTC and GNWT by strengthening and encouraging interaction, cooperation and coordination. The agreement outlines protocols for communication, commitments for regular meetings and priority areas for discussion between the two governments. It also establishes a formal process for issues to be raised and resolved in a manner that reflects both Gwich’in and public interests.The agreement is for a four-year term with options to review, update and extend.