Leaders from the Government of the Northwest Territories and Indigenous governments, who are partners in Devolution, sat down in Yellowknife Tuesday to discuss a range of issues related to lands and resource management at the Intergovernmental Council meeting.
According to a news release from the territorial government, as a key feature of the Devolution Agreement, the creation of an Intergovernmental Council allows governments to cooperate and collaborate on matters related to lands, resources and water management.
The meetings help strengthen the territorial government’s relationships with the NWT Indigenous partners, a main priority of the 18th Legislative Assembly, the release states.
Devolution, signed with then-Prime Minister Stephen Harper, gave the NWT province-like powers over its land, water and resources.
Tłı̨chǫ Grand Chief George Mackenzie says, as always, the Indigenous people that he represents want to strike a balance when it comes to resource development.
“The elders say they want our land protected and looked after. That doesn’t mean we’re against development. We are for development. But the elders say make sure you have a mechanism in place where it protects the land, the animals and the water,” MacKenzie said following the meeting.”
Leaders from the GNWT, Northwest Territory Métis Nation, Sahtu Secretariat Incorporated, Gwich’in Tribal Council, Tłıc̨hǫ Government, Acho Dene Koe First Nation, Salt River First Nation, Denínu Kúę́ ̨First Nation and the Kátł’odeeche First Nation were involved in the meeting and discussed a range of lands, water and resources issues including the federal Bill C-88.
It repeals the amalgamation of the NWT’s regional land and water regulatory boards into one, so-called Superboard.
That was also a Harper-era initiative designed to streamline the regulatory process for resource development.
It never went over well with Indigenous governments and environmentalists who argued it gave too much power to corporations and not enough say to the people who actually live in the NWT.
MPs voted to pass Bill C-88 on Monday.
It now goes to the Senate for final approval.