Legislative Assembly votes to approve Devolution
YELLOWNIFE (June 5, 2013) – The Legislative Assembly has officially approved the Northwest Territories Lands and Resources Devolution Agreement.
“This is an historic day for the Northwest Territories,” said Premier Bob McLeod. “The people of the NWT are ready to take charge of decisions that affect their future, and their democratically elected representatives have given us a clear mandate. I look forward to signing the agreement with our partner governments, the Inuvialuit Regional Corporation, NWT Métis Nation, Sahtu Secretariat Incorporated, Gwich’in Tribal Council, Tłįchǫ Government and the Government of Canada. We continue to reach out to the Dehcho First Nations and Akaitcho Territory Government and are hopeful that they will one day choose to become parties to the agreement, as well.”
The devolution agreement will transfer responsibility for public land, water, and resource management from the federal to the territorial government. The target date for the transfer of responsibilities is April 1, 2014. Previous devolutions have transferred responsibility for health care, education, social services, highways, forestry, and airports.
“I am particularly proud of the process we followed in developing this agreement,” said Premier McLeod. “Aboriginal governments helped to draft the agreement and decided on a process for collaborating on land and resource management and I thank them for their support and leadership. This is the only devolution agreement in the NWT to undergo extensive public engagement before approval, and the only one to be put to a vote by all Members of the Assembly. We are also the only government in Canada to share resource revenues from public lands on this scope and scale with participating Aboriginal governments.”
Since announcing the end of negotiations in March 2013, the GNWT has held more than 45 public and stakeholder meetings in all regions of the territory to answer questions about devolution’s benefits. This is in addition to hundreds of meetings held throughout the territory since the territorial, federal and Aboriginal governments agreed to a memorandum of intent to negotiate devolution in May 2001. Formal consultations with Aboriginal governments will ensure that nothing in the agreement affects Aboriginal or treaty rights.
The Government of Canada and participating Aboriginal governments will undertake their own processes to approve the agreement. A date for the signing of the final agreement has not yet been set.
To learn more about the benefits of devolution for all NWT residents, businesses, and governments, including a report on the recent public engagement process, visit devolution.gov.nt.ca.
For more information:
Government of the Northwest Territories
Tel: (867) 669-2304