This is page numbers 15 - 30 of the Hansard for the 17th Assembly, 1st 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 premier.

Topics

Question 4-17(1): Relationships With Aboriginal Governments
Oral Questions

October 28th, 2011

Michael Nadli Deh Cho

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I would like to congratulate the Premier and the Cabinet for being selected our leaders.

At the 17th Assembly, as we start defining our

course, pathing out our approach and trying to determine the best trail to take our people forward into the next four years, I’ve heard the Premier speak of working together, collaboration, all key fundamental aspects of ensuring that we uphold the principles of consensus. I’d like to ask the Premier if he has confirmed a forum or a date to follow up on the historic October 21st meeting with the Aboriginal

groups. Mahsi.

Question 4-17(1): Relationships With Aboriginal Governments
Oral Questions

The Speaker Jackie Jacobson

Thank you, Mr. Nadli. The honourable Premier, Mr. McLeod.

Question 4-17(1): Relationships With Aboriginal Governments
Oral Questions

Bob McLeod Yellowknife South

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. We’ve only had two meetings, one before we were sworn in and one since we’ve been sworn in, so we haven’t had an opportunity to discuss it yet, Mr. Speaker.

Question 4-17(1): Relationships With Aboriginal Governments
Oral Questions

The Speaker Jackie Jacobson

The Member for Sahtu, Mr. Yakeleya.

Question 5-17(1): Relationship With Federal Government
Oral Questions

Norman Yakeleya Sahtu

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. My line of questioning is with the Aboriginal government that we had this historic meeting last Friday, and also that the biggest issue, I guess, on the people’s minds is the working relationship and the Devolution and Resource Revenue Sharing Agreement that was signed in the 16th , and the time

frame to conclude that agreement with the federal government.

This territorial government indicated that Members had talked about the amount of dollars that are leaving the North. They talked about the control being yet in Ottawa, with some still staying in the Northwest Territories.

I want to ask the Premier, with the time frames that we signed a deal, we have not had a good response from the Aboriginal governments, except the Inuvialuit and the NWT Metis Nation at the table signing, and shows a very weak sign of support for this deal. The major other five Aboriginal governments are not all there together. I want to ask the Premier his relationship with the federal government and John Duncan. This is the guy that would not meet with the Aboriginal governments when he came to the Northwest Territories, yet he is supposed to be the man to represent the Aboriginal people.

Can the Premier indicate, in his phone call with Duncan, that things have changed or it’s different versions of how the North is going to be strong, free and wealthy and what’s a good potential? Can the Premier tell me what type of discussion he had, that maybe we’ve got a chance with Duncan to maybe consider meeting with the chiefs when he gets to the North again?

Question 5-17(1): Relationship With Federal Government
Oral Questions

The Speaker Jackie Jacobson

Thank you, Mr. Yakeleya. The honourable Premier, Mr. McLeod.

Question 5-17(1): Relationship With Federal Government
Oral Questions

Bob McLeod Yellowknife South

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I had a very good discussion with Minister Duncan and I told him about how we, as a Caucus, had met with the Aboriginal governments, and that I had been on the phone talking to the majority of the Aboriginal government leaders and it was my intention to talk to all of them either by today or early next week. He indicated that he was prepared to come north and to meet with the Aboriginal leaders at some appropriate time in the future, so I believe that it is his intention to do so. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Question 5-17(1): Relationship With Federal Government
Oral Questions

Norman Yakeleya Sahtu

Hopefully, somewhere between now and whenever Minister Duncan comes north and meets with all the Aboriginal leaders to discuss this important issue, being a former chief negotiator of the land claim and self-government, that the federal government tag the amount of money to conclude a deal with the benefits if we go ahead to sign or not to sign.

With the devolution we have an 18-month time frame. I want to ask the Premier, in his discussions so far with the Aboriginal governments, the federal government, if that 18-month time frame is something that we’re working towards or something that could be maybe stretched or could be something that would give us enough time to get a deal signed with the Aboriginal governments, all of them, to make this a deal that’s worthwhile to stand up and say, yes, it’s a maiden deal or something that Minister Duncan is going to show again by demonstrating his actions at the take-it-or-leave-it deal, and that is the way that he seems to be operating. Is the Premier willing to consider those options?

Question 5-17(1): Relationship With Federal Government
Oral Questions

Bob McLeod Yellowknife South

My understanding of the dates or timelines that you’re quoting is that those are just guidelines. In our discussions with the Aboriginal governments, we are not talking about those kinds of specific details at this time. We’ve been talking about how to try to find ways to find some common ground and to start working together, and we’re hoping to be able to start to do that and to follow up on the meeting in Dettah by getting together again soon, hopefully before Christmas.

Question 5-17(1): Relationship With Federal Government
Oral Questions

Norman Yakeleya Sahtu

Certainly, I hope that the Cabinet or the Premier is looking at some guidelines, because that’s how the system works.

I know when I was the chief negotiator, again, that the Treasury Board gave us a guideline and this is the amount, this is the agreement, you reach it and when you get there, you go to your people and ask if you want to accept the deal or not. The other part of it goes into implementation.

Would the Premier look at, with the Aboriginal governments, a timeline. I heard it from your other Cabinet Ministers that the amount of money that’s leaving the Northwest Territories, there’s a deal signed.

The federal government is a majority government. They have the ability to say take it or leave it. Can the Premier look with his team to see how they could get the Aboriginal government onside, on common ground within the guidelines of 18 months or they can do it within two or three years and take it to the people so that the people can all vote and say this is what we want, rather than keep it with a select few in the House here?

Question 5-17(1): Relationship With Federal Government
Oral Questions

Bob McLeod Yellowknife South

It is our intention to work with the Aboriginal leaders to find some common ground and at that point they’ll look at timelines. Thank you.

Question 5-17(1): Relationship With Federal Government
Oral Questions

Norman Yakeleya Sahtu

Can the Premier tell us how he’s going to involve this Assembly? How do we staff the right person? Are we going to have some staff in Ottawa that would help us bridge the link between us and the Minister’s office to strengthen the agreement with our Aboriginal partners on this important issue and other issues in the North such as the Mackenzie Valley Highway? How are we going to evolve and determine the staffing if we are going to have a staff in Ottawa to help us get our financial, political, economic situation here in the Northwest Territories, and most importantly, our relationship with the federal government?

Question 5-17(1): Relationship With Federal Government
Oral Questions

Bob McLeod Yellowknife South

Thank you. Normally staff from Ottawa don’t really become involved until such time as we get fairly close, because we need staff from Ottawa to write the Cabinet decision papers and also when we get closer to the actual transition to have federal staff to help with implementation. So I’m not sure what the Member is leading to when

he’s asking for having federal staff involved, because normally they’re involved at the negotiating table and we have our negotiating people as well. So if you’re suggesting to use federal people to reach common ground with Aboriginal governments, then we could do that as well. Thank you.

Question 5-17(1): Relationship With Federal Government
Oral Questions

The Speaker Jackie Jacobson

Thank you, Mr. McLeod. Short supplementary, Mr. Yakeleya.

Question 5-17(1): Relationship With Federal Government
Oral Questions

Norman Yakeleya Sahtu

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Just for clarification, I’m asking about our own staffing, I’m not asking about the federal staffing. That is the post-evolution and post-impact agreement. I’m asking about our people, how we’re going to get our people here working with us as an independent office, or an office that we could use in Ottawa.