Prime Minister Stephen Harper today announced that negotiators have reached consensus on the terms for the devolution of lands and resource management from the Government of Canada to the Government of the Northwest Territories. He was joined by Bernard Valcourt, Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development, Leona Aglukkaq, Minister of Health, Minister of the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency and Minister for the Arctic Council, and Bob McLeod, Premier of the Northwest Territories.
“Our Government recognizes that Northerners are best placed to make the important decisions about how to run their economies and how to maximize use of their resources,” said Prime Minister Harper. “Once finalized, this historic agreement will provide the Northwest Territories (NWT) with greater decision-making powers over a range of new responsibilities which will lead to jobs, growth and long-term prosperity across the Territory.”
Devolution in the NWT will mean the transfer of decision-making and administration for land and resource management from the Government of Canada to the Government of the Northwest Territories. The territorial government will become responsible for the management of onshore lands and the issuance of rights and interests with respect to onshore minerals and oil and gas. It will also give them the power to collect and share in resource revenues generated in the territory.
With the conclusion of negotiations today, the Government of Canada will now begin a second round of consultations to gather input from Aboriginal organizations in the NWT and other stakeholders, which will lead to a Final Devolution Agreement.
The milestone announced today builds on the Agreement-in-Principle reached between the parties to the NWT Devolution process in January 2011.
Today’s announcement also follows through on the government’s commitment, set out in Canada’s Northern Strategy, to work with Northern and Aboriginal partners to build a strong and prosperous North.
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