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

Bill 34: Tlicho Land Claims And Self-government Agreement Act
Item 19: Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

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The Chair Paul Delorey

Clause 13. Mr. Roland.

Bill 34: Tlicho Land Claims And Self-government Agreement Act
Item 19: Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

Page 1446

Floyd Roland Inuvik Boot Lake

Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Mr. Chairman, yesterday in asking the questions about this government's authority to deal with this act, the Minister gave me information that in fact right now as a government we don't have the authority to deal with this piece of legislation until the federal act is put in. There is also, and I think it was Mr. Goldney, you referred to ultra vires or something of that nature, that in fact it can sit in there until the federal government has that ability. For clarity sake, the legislation we are passing will sort of sit out there until the federal government deals with their legislation and then it comes into force, correct?

Bill 34: Tlicho Land Claims And Self-government Agreement Act
Item 19: Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

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The Chair Paul Delorey

Thank you, Mr. Roland. Mr. Goldney.

Bill 34: Tlicho Land Claims And Self-government Agreement Act
Item 19: Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

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Goldney

Thank you, Mr. Chairman. The federal settlement legislation will address something of an uncertainty with respect to the GNWT's jurisdiction over Indians and lands reserved for Indians. There is some question as to whether or not the GNWT has the legislative authority to enact legislation such as a settlement legislation that deals with Indians as Indians. With that said, it is not certain that the GNWT doesn't because this is much more than an act dealing with Indians as Indians, this is an act to ratify a solemn treaty that is aimed at the reconciliation of the imposition of Canadian sovereignty on the aboriginal peoples. It was also noted yesterday that previous jurisdictions have introduced settlement legislation, the Yukon territory and also recently, and the legislature of British Columbia passed the Nishga'a Settlement Act.

However, to deal with that question, the Government of Canada has agreed to make amendments to the NWT Act to make it absolutely clear that there is legislative authority and while retroactively less if need be, should someone challenge the authority of this legislature to enact this legislation.

Bill 34: Tlicho Land Claims And Self-government Agreement Act
Item 19: Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

Page 1446

The Chair Paul Delorey

Thank you, Mr. Goldney. Mr. Roland.

Bill 34: Tlicho Land Claims And Self-government Agreement Act
Item 19: Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

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Floyd Roland Inuvik Boot Lake

Thank you, Mr. Chairman, and I thank Mr. Goldney for that response. When I look at clause 13, it is very open, it is a very common one that we do as legislators and as government. But based on the responses from the Minister and his staff, I have considered that to ensure for our government's sake that we don't put something in place that someone can just throw a challenge at. I figure we can tighten it up as far as we can as the Government of the Northwest Territories by making that clause a little more clear to the fact it specifies to the federal legislation. So on that, Mr. Chairman, I do have a motion to amend clause 13, that would reflect the response that we received from the Minister and his staff on this area and I would be prepared to move it at this time.

Bill 34: Tlicho Land Claims And Self-government Agreement Act
Item 19: Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

Page 1446

The Chair Paul Delorey

Mr. Roland, you have a motion to introduce. Mr. Roland.

Committee Motion 144-14(6): To Amend Clause 13 Of Bill 34, Carried
Item 19: Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

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Floyd Roland Inuvik Boot Lake

Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I move that Bill 34, be amended by deleting Clause 13 and by substituting the following:

13. This Act comes into force on the day that federal settlement legislation comes into force pursuant to 4.3.3 of chapter 4 of the Tlicho agreement. Thank you.

Committee Motion 144-14(6): To Amend Clause 13 Of Bill 34, Carried
Item 19: Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

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The Chair Paul Delorey

Thank you, Mr. Roland. The motion is being circulated. There is a motion on the floor. The motion is in order. To the motion.

Committee Motion 144-14(6): To Amend Clause 13 Of Bill 34, Carried
Item 19: Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

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An Hon. Member

Question.

Committee Motion 144-14(6): To Amend Clause 13 Of Bill 34, Carried
Item 19: Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

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The Chair Paul Delorey

Question has been called. All those in favour? All those opposed? The motion is carried.

---Carried

Clause 13, as amended. Agreed?

Committee Motion 144-14(6): To Amend Clause 13 Of Bill 34, Carried
Item 19: Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

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Some Hon. Members

Agreed.

Committee Motion 144-14(6): To Amend Clause 13 Of Bill 34, Carried
Item 19: Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

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The Chair Paul Delorey

We will go back to preamble. Mrs. Groenewegen.

Committee Motion 144-14(6): To Amend Clause 13 Of Bill 34, Carried
Item 19: Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

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Jane Groenewegen Hay River South

Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Mr. Chairman, I apologize that I was absolutely unavoidably absent from the House yesterday and I was not able to speak to this bill under general comments and I would like to make a few remarks on this just at this juncture if I could.

Mr. Chairman, this is a very unique piece of legislation that comes to us for approval very late in our mandate. However, the Government of the Northwest Territories has been at the table and involved with the interests and positions of our government being put forward on a consistent basis. This is just one of three pieces of legislation that our government will need to deal with as part of the ratification process for the future agreement.

We do have a process for taking legislation such as this out to public consultation and I believe the these public hearings are sometimes as much about creating awareness as they are about receiving feedback. Many times legislation is complex and it would be unreasonable to expect the average person to have the resources at their disposal to consider it in great detail. It would be more likely to receive support or non-support for the principle and the intention of the legislation.

I am here in this Legislative Assembly first and foremost to represent the interest of my constituents in Hay River South and I was able to speak to several of them about this particular piece of legislation, but as Members a large part of our work calls upon us to look at decisions and legislation that affects our people on a territorial basis. So it is important, while having a focus on our own constituency, to also view our decisions through the lens of a territorial-wide perspective.

I fundamentally believe that a treaty such as the one signed by the Tlicho was an agreement between the federal government and the Tlicho people. Although the outcomes of meeting the obligations of the treaty may have an impact on our government and how we will do things in the future, we are essentially not a direct party to the agreement. We are being called upon to pass legislation which says that this government recognizes, affirms, validates and understands and agrees to the way in which this agreement will consequentially affect us. In this way, it is not a typical piece of legislation drafted, crafted and brought forward by our government. It is more amply described as a response to a federal government making good on a long-outstanding commitment as outlined in a treaty, and as much as it impacts us, I believe it has been good that we have been afforded representation at the negotiating table throughout the process.

With respect to the issue being raised by the North Slave Metis Alliance, there are many outstanding issues of rights and land and self-government which will be negotiated and signed in the future, and I am not comfortable with our government being put in a position of having to referee or being put in the middle of disputes as to whether one agreement infringes on another group's right. I believe that this is a case that needs to be taken up with the federal government and I am not in a position to make a judgment on those complexities. The North Slave Metis are asking for time. The ratification legislation required to be passed by the federal government hasn't progressed yet so I think that there is time to put their case forward.

So, Mr. Chairman, our government does have a process of taking legislation to public hearings, I respect that process and the commitment of Members who have spoken to that process. Everyone has agreed, however, that after 12 years and $28 million invested in negotiations, it isn't likely that this legislation is going to be significantly altered. This is just one of three pieces of legislation our government is going to need to pass. I would like to suggest that in preparation for public consultation that will occur on the next two subsequent pieces of legislation, that perhaps the territory-wide information and awareness initiative be undertaken by our government to inform anyone who is interested as to the substance and implications of the Tlicho agreement or any other land claims and self-government impacts generally for that matter.

Mr. Chairman, I do not believe that there is a great deal of risk for the Tlicho people if this legislation were deferred. However, I do believe that the passage of it today is as much symbolic as anything else, and it sends a message of support for this and many other aboriginal government partners that our central public government will work with it in the future as claims and self-government commitments made by our federal government are acted upon.

So for all of these reasons, Mr. Chairman, I have tried to express here today, I wanted to say that I won't be supporting third reading of Bill 34 today. Thank you. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

Committee Motion 144-14(6): To Amend Clause 13 Of Bill 34, Carried
Item 19: Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

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The Chair Paul Delorey

Thank you, Mrs. Groenewegen. Mr. Bell.