OTTAWA, Dec. 3, 2013 /CNW/ - Today, the Honourable Bernard Valcourt, Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development, introduced Bill C-15, Northwest Territories Devolution Act, in the House of Commons. This bill delivers on the Harper Government's commitment to give the people of the North a greater say in their own affairs.
"Our Government has made the Northern Strategy a priority and today's historic tabling of the Northwest Territories Devolution Act is another example of our commitment to improving and devolving northern governance," stated Minister Valcourt. "With this legislation, we are giving Northerners greater control over their lands and resources, while unlocking the economic potential of the region, and ensuring that the Northwest Territories remains an attractive place to live, work and invest."
"Devolution is an historic step in the political and economic development of the Northwest Territories," said the Honourable Bob McLeod, Premier of the Government of the Northwest Territories. "It has been a long-term priority for the people and Legislative Assembly of the NWT and will help ensure NWT residents benefit from the responsible development of the North's great resource potential. Devolution will help transform the Northwest Territories economy and create jobs and opportunities for our residents and all Canadians, especially if it is supported by an efficient and effective regulatory system that promotes investment while ensuring resource development occurs sustainably."
The Northwest Territories Devolution Act responds to calls from territorial governments, Aboriginal groups and industry to place decision-making in the hands of Northerners. The Northwest Territories Lands and Resources Devolution Agreement was signed on June 25, 2013. Today's introduction of legislation reinforces the Government's commitment to completing devolution by the targeted effective date of April 1, 2014.
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.
The bill also introduces important improvements to the regulatory process including more predictable, timely environmental reviews of resource development projects, reduced regulatory burden and duplication, and improved environmental protection.
"The 2010 Action Plan and subsequent amendments to legislation and devolution to the GNWT contribute to creating better government for the citizens of the NWT and strengthening the government and economy of Canada as a whole," said Harry Deneron, Chief of Acho Dene Koe First Nation.
The Government of Canada continues to advance the Northern Strategy thanks to the contributions of many partners, including Aboriginal organizations, First Nation and Inuit communities, industry and the Government of the Northwest Territories. The North remains a key priority for the Government.
Backgrounder - Bill C-15, Northwest Territories Devolution Act
Backgrounder - Northwest Territories Devolution
Frequently Asked Questions - Bill C-15, Northwest Territories Devolution Act
This release is also available on the Internet at www.aandc.gc.ca.
SOURCE Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada
Image with caption: "Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development, Bernard Valcourt, and Northwest Territories Premier, Bob McLeod, together in the Foyer of the House of Commons after the introduction of Bill C-15, the Northwest Territories Devolution Act. (CNW Group/Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20131203_C7200_PHOTO_EN_34261.jpg
Image with caption: "Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development, Bernard Valcourt, and Northwest Territories Premier, Bob McLeod, together in the Foyer of the House of Commons after the introduction of Bill C-15, the Northwest Territories Devolution Act. (CNW Group/Government of Canada) (CNW Group/Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20131203_C7200_PHOTO_EN_34263.jpg