News Release: Tłįchǫ Government Signs Devolution AiP
BEHCHOKO (March 8, 2013) – In a public ceremony in Behchokǫ̀ today, the Tłįchǫ Government signed the Northwest Territories Lands and Resources Devolution Agreement-in-Principle (AiP).
“The Tłįchǫ have the Tłįchǫ Agreement that recognizes our self-government, ownership of 39,000 square kilometers of land, and our right to have a meaningful say in development within the Mowfwi area. The Tłįchǫ Agreement is constitutionally protected; devolution will not change what is written in the Tłįchǫ Agreement,” said Grand Chief of the Tłįchǫ Eddie Erasmus. “We think the decision to enter into devolution has the potential to be a great benefit to the Tłįchǫ. It will require the GNWT and Aboriginal organizations to work together in ways they never have before. Devolution provides the opportunity to build a strong and prosperous NWT. The Tłįchǫ Government is ready to do our part to help make the AIP strengthen our communities.”
“We are pleased that the Tłįchǫ have expressed their support for the devolution agreement now being finalized and welcome them as we move forward,” said Premier of the Northwest Territories, Bob McLeod. “The Tłįchǫ are significant land owners in the NWT, and we look forward to working government-to-government with them and our other partners in this agreement to collaborate and cooperate in the management of land and resources.”
“Dene, Métis and Inuvialuit have long played an integral role in the political development of the Northwest Territories,” said the Honourable Bernard Valcourt, Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada. “On behalf of the Government of Canada, I am pleased to see the Tłįchǫ Government seize this opportunity to help shape the future of the territory and share in the economic benefits that will flow from devolution.”
“Northern politics generally runs on consensus and consensus sometimes takes its own sweet time,” said President of the Northwest Territory Métis Nation, Garry Bailey. “The NWTMN happily welcomes the Tłįchǫ to the devolution family.”
“I would like to offer my congratulations to the Tłįchǫ leadership,” said President Robert A. Alexie of the Gwich’in Tribal Council. “All Aboriginal residents of the NWT are better off with the Tłįchǫ government at the table. I look forward to working with them on this important initiative.”
Devolution will transfer responsibility for the management of NWT public land, resources and rights in respect of water from the Government of Canada to the GNWT. The GNWT will also be responsible for the design and delivery of related public programs, and will benefit from the resource revenues collected from mineral and oil and gas development on public land in the NWT. The GNWT has committed to share up to 25% of its new resource revenues with participating Aboriginal governments – a resource revenue-sharing arrangement that is unprecedented in Canada.
Before the final Devolution Agreement is officially approved and signed, the Government of the Northwest Territories, Government of Canada, Inuvialuit Region Corporation, Northwest Territory Métis Nation, Sahtu Secretariat Incorporated and Tłįchǫ Government will share the Agreement with Aboriginal governments, key stakeholders, and the public to explain its content and benefits.
For more information on NWT lands and resources devolution, visit the GNWT’s devolution website at devolution.gov.nt.ca.
For further information, please contact:
Office of the Premier and Executive Council
Government of the Northwest Territories
Tel: (867) 669-2302
Marjorie Matheson Maund
Tel: (867) 669-0163
Backgrounder: Tłįchǫ Sign NWT Lands and Resources Devolution AiP
The Devolution Agreement-in-Principle (AIP) includes a number of provisions that will directly benefit the Tłįchǫ:
- The GNWT has committed to share up to 25% of its resource revenues with participating Aboriginal governments to help them grow, build capacity and meet community needs – a revenue-sharing unprecedented in Canada. If devolution was in place this year, up to $17.5M would be available for participating Aboriginal governments to share.
Note: This is in addition to the resource revenues the Tłįchǫ already receive from development on public land throughout the Mackenzie Valley pursuant to their self-government agreement.
- The Tłįchǫ Government will also be eligible for $628K per year in program funding from Canada, including $200K a year to participate in a Waste Sites Management Committee.
- Approximately $440K in one-time transition funding will also be provided by Canada to the Tłįchǫ Government after signing the final Agreement, to assist with preparing for devolution.
- In addition to these financial benefits, devolution will establish an intergovernmental council for the GNWT and participating Aboriginal governments to collaborate and cooperate in the management of land and resources.
- Devolution will provide opportunity for the Tłįchǫ Government to provide advice to the Government of Canada on its clean up responsibilities for contaminated sites.
- Tłįchǫ people will also benefit from the resource revenues that flow to the Government of the Northwest Territories (GNWT), which will be used to improve quality of life for all residents of the territory.
Before a final Devolution Agreement is approved and signed by the participating governments, it will be shared with the public, Aboriginal governments and key stakeholders to explain its contents and benefits. This period of engagement and consultation may take several months. Other regional Aboriginal governments may sign the AiP or the final Agreement whenever they are ready. The transfer of authorities is expected to take place on April 1, 2014.
For more information on NWT lands and resources devolution, visit devolution.gov.nt.ca.