This is page numbers 1397 - 1454 of the Hansard for the 14th Assembly, 6th Session. The original version can be accessed on the Legislative Assembly's website or by contacting the Legislative Assembly Library. The word of the day was tlicho.

Topics

Question 432-14(6): Gwich'in Wildlife Harvesting Rights
Item 6: Oral Questions

October 10th, 2003

Page 1415

David Krutko Mackenzie Delta

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, my question is to the Minister of Resources, Wildlife and Economic Development. It's in regard to a notice that was posted by this government in regard to the Dempster Highway one-way closure that was set from September 25th to October 2nd. It basically says that the closure will apply to the Northwest Territories, which is an eight kilometre strip from the Peel River to the Yukon border. Mr. Speaker, one thing that's been kind of shocking this year is that apparently the Yukon government didn't pass this similar regulation to have a similar closure on the Yukon side and we, as the Northwest Territories government, are the only ones who have done that. Mr. Speaker, because the land claim agreements and the wildlife provisions haven't been changed, in the land claim agreement it's clear that the Gwich'in have the right to harvest with any means, can harvest for the purpose and use of equipment to carry out that harvest. Mr. Speaker, that's section 12.4(14) of the Gwich'in agreement. Yet this government continues to pass regulations and restrict hunting rights of the Gwich'in people, especially on the Dempster Highway and from the community of Fort McPherson. This year, very few people were able to get any caribou, and then on top of that there was this one-way closure. I'd like to ask the Minister, would you hold off on signing any more regulations until the wildlife amendments have been concluded and it's brought back to this House and the First Nation claimant groups have the ability to implement those sections of their agreements in territorial legislation?

Question 432-14(6): Gwich'in Wildlife Harvesting Rights
Item 6: Oral Questions

Page 1415

The Speaker Tony Whitford

Thank you, Mr. Krutko. The honourable Minister of Resources, Wildlife and Economic Development, Mr. Antoine.

Return To Question 432-14(6): Gwich'in Wildlife Harvesting Rights
Question 432-14(6): Gwich'in Wildlife Harvesting Rights
Item 6: Oral Questions

Page 1415

Jim Antoine Nahendeh

Mr. Speaker, the regulations that were changed were on recommendations from the different management boards that are up in the Mackenzie Delta, in the Member's riding. It's part of our agreement that whatever they recommend, we do that. I think the idea there was that there was the Porcupine Caribou Herd that was going through and they identified that period of time as when the lead herd is going through. This is the normal practice year to year. I have to check on that, but that's the way I understand the Member's question. Thank you.

Return To Question 432-14(6): Gwich'in Wildlife Harvesting Rights
Question 432-14(6): Gwich'in Wildlife Harvesting Rights
Item 6: Oral Questions

Page 1415

The Speaker Tony Whitford

Thank you, Mr. Antoine. Supplementary, Mr. Krutko.

Supplementary To Question 432-14(6): Gwich'in Wildlife Harvesting Rights
Question 432-14(6): Gwich'in Wildlife Harvesting Rights
Item 6: Oral Questions

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David Krutko Mackenzie Delta

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, as a government we make regulations without really dealing with the issue on the ground. The main herd was not even at the Dempster Highway at the time this thing was going to be passed. The large portion of the herd did not even arrive in that area around the dates that were used, yet they went ahead and closed the highway anyway. I suggest you don't pass any regulations to begin with but, if you're going to do it, at least give the communities an opportunity to give you some advice on what dates are appropriate for them.

Supplementary To Question 432-14(6): Gwich'in Wildlife Harvesting Rights
Question 432-14(6): Gwich'in Wildlife Harvesting Rights
Item 6: Oral Questions

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An Hon. Member

There was a question.

Supplementary To Question 432-14(6): Gwich'in Wildlife Harvesting Rights
Question 432-14(6): Gwich'in Wildlife Harvesting Rights
Item 6: Oral Questions

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David Krutko Mackenzie Delta

Could the Minister work with the communities if he's going to come forth with regulations setting dates for closures and at least try to get the communities on side before you do that?

Supplementary To Question 432-14(6): Gwich'in Wildlife Harvesting Rights
Question 432-14(6): Gwich'in Wildlife Harvesting Rights
Item 6: Oral Questions

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The Speaker Tony Whitford

Thank you, Mr. Krutko. The honourable Minister of Resources, Wildlife and Economic Development, Mr. Antoine.

Further Return To Question 432-14(6): Gwich'in Wildlife Harvesting Rights
Question 432-14(6): Gwich'in Wildlife Harvesting Rights
Item 6: Oral Questions

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Jim Antoine Nahendeh

Mr. Speaker, I only, as the Minister, can follow advice and direction of the Members that are working with my department in regard to the Dempster Highway special management area regulations. The intent is to close the caribou harvesting season in that special area for one week to allow the caribou leaders to pass through the area. That's the intention of this regulation, and I guess part of the conditions and through consultation they've consulted extensively. So I have to check on that. The parties had agreed that a one-week closure would commence once 200 caribou had passed through the Dempster special area. Once that criteria is met, that's when they initiate this regulation. I'm going to have to ask the department on exactly what sequence of events has to happen for this to happen and I'll take the Member's question and see what we can do in terms of not passing any regulations until we have real thorough consultation. Thank you.

Further Return To Question 432-14(6): Gwich'in Wildlife Harvesting Rights
Question 432-14(6): Gwich'in Wildlife Harvesting Rights
Item 6: Oral Questions

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The Speaker Tony Whitford

Thank you, Mr. Antoine. Supplementary, Mr. Krutko.

Supplementary To Question 432-14(6): Gwich'in Wildlife Harvesting Rights
Question 432-14(6): Gwich'in Wildlife Harvesting Rights
Item 6: Oral Questions

Page 1416

David Krutko Mackenzie Delta

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, I'd like to ask the Minister if he can talk with his counterparts in the Yukon because I believe the Yukon is not going forth with establishing restrictions based on the court case that is presently before the court in Dawson City where a couple of local aboriginal men have been charged under these regulations and are challenging it under their land claim agreement. I think it looks like it's a good chance that the Yukon government will lose this case. I think because they know the percentage is high of them losing this case, they did not want to jeopardize having more cases brought forth this year. They did not implement these closures on the Dempster Highway on the Yukon side of the highway. I'd like to ask the Minister, would you consult with your Yukon counterparts and check with your Justice people on the ability of this court case in Dawson City in regard to aboriginal hunting rights?

Supplementary To Question 432-14(6): Gwich'in Wildlife Harvesting Rights
Question 432-14(6): Gwich'in Wildlife Harvesting Rights
Item 6: Oral Questions

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The Speaker Tony Whitford

Thank you, Mr. Krutko. The honourable Minister of RWED, Mr. Antoine.

Further Return To Question 432-14(6): Gwich'in Wildlife Harvesting Rights
Question 432-14(6): Gwich'in Wildlife Harvesting Rights
Item 6: Oral Questions

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Jim Antoine Nahendeh

Yes, we will check with our counterparts in the Yukon and let the Member know about what we find out. Thank you.

Further Return To Question 432-14(6): Gwich'in Wildlife Harvesting Rights
Question 432-14(6): Gwich'in Wildlife Harvesting Rights
Item 6: Oral Questions

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The Speaker Tony Whitford

Thank you, Mr. Antoine. Your final supplementary, Mr. Krutko.

Supplementary To Question 432-14(6): Gwich'in Wildlife Harvesting Rights
Question 432-14(6): Gwich'in Wildlife Harvesting Rights
Item 6: Oral Questions

Page 1416

David Krutko Mackenzie Delta

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, just on a couple of points I made today, that is why the First Nation groups want to be at the table to negotiate changes to these restrictions. They have exclusive hunting rights in our land claim agreements, especially when it comes to being able to have the exclusive right to hunt on their lands. They have exclusive right to certain species and they also have the exclusive right to access. I'd like to ask the Minister, could you have someone within your department or someone at the Department of Justice really look at what has been negotiated in these land claim agreements when it comes to aboriginal rights?