This is page numbers 6849 - 6882 of the Hansard for the 16th 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 safety.

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Committee Report 7-16(6): Standing Committee On Economic Development And Infrastructure Report On Bill 9, Wildlife Act
Reports of Standing and Special Committees

David Ramsay Kam Lake

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Your Standing Committee on Economic Development

and Infrastructure is pleased to provide its report on Bill 9, Wildlife Act, and commends it to this House.

Introduction

Bill 9, Wildlife Act, was the product of more than 10 years of work to replace the existing legislation which dates back to 1978. The committee conducted extensive public hearings on it and had several amendments prepared to address specific concerns brought forward by Members of the public. Members are mindful of the substantial time and money invested in the development and consideration of this bill, and our decision to report it back as not ready for consideration by Committee of the Whole was a difficult one to make. Nonetheless, after careful deliberations, the committee has determined that the bill should not proceed at this time for the reasons set out below.

Bill 9 was referred to the Standing Committee on Economic Development and Infrastructure on March 10, 2011. Between April and June 2011 the committee held public hearings in Yellowknife, Fort Smith, Ulukhaktok, Aklavik, Inuvik, Hay River, Whati, Dettah, Deline, Norman Wells, Fort Good Hope, Fort Liard, Jean Marie River, and Fort Simpson. The committee heard from many individuals, organizations, Aboriginal governments, and renewable resource boards and councils during the public review process, both at our hearings and via written submissions. We’d like to thank all the participants in those public hearings.

Overall Readiness of the Bill

Committee members are concerned about the overall readiness of this bill for enactment. During the public review process we heard from some individuals and organizations that the bill is long overdue and should proceed. However, other individuals and groups indicated that they had not had sufficient opportunity to participate in its development. Some also commented that they felt the bill was being rushed. The government itself was still conducting legal reviews months after the bill was introduced and brought forward over 30 proposed amendments to address issues it had identified. Further, as the next section of this report describes, no agreement has been reached on provisions to create a wildlife management conference, which is an essential component of the bill.

The Conference

The composition of the proposed Northwest Territories Wildlife Management Conference was a concern that was brought to the committee’s attention early in the public review process. The conference was to be an advisory body similar to that created in the Species at Risk NWT Act, and its roles were to include addressing wildlife management issues of common interest, reporting annually to the Minister, and providing reports to

assist the Legislative Assembly in its review of the act which were to take place every seven years.

In November 2010 the government released a consultation draft of the bill. In this draft the conference membership included renewable resource boards established under land claim agreements: the Inuvialuit Game Council, the Tlicho Government, the GNWT, and Canada. The draft also included a provision allowing representatives of Aboriginal or treaty rights holders from unsettled claim areas to be invited to participate in conference meetings. It is the committee’s understanding that this was the composition agreed to by the settled land claim area members of the working group which collaborated on the bill’s development and was made up of representatives from the GNWT, the Tlicho Government, the Inuvialuit Game Council, the Gwich’in Tribal Council, the Sahtu Secretariat Incorporated, the Northwest Territories Metis Nation, and the renewable resources councils from the four settled land claim areas.

When the Minister introduced Bill 9 in March 2011, the provisions had changed from the draft to include Aboriginal representatives from unsettled claim areas in the conference membership: the Dehcho First Nations, the Northwest Territories Metis Nation, and the NWT Treaty 8 Tribal Corporation. The committee heard objections to this change from the Inuvialuit, the Gwich’in, the Sahtu, and the Tlicho representatives. A key concern was that the new board composition included a mixture of political governments and members representing authorities with legislated wildlife management responsibilities. Some felt that this structure would be unworkable and strayed from the original intent of the conference agreed to by the working group, which was to create a forum for wildlife management authorities. Some suggested that a separate political forum could be established if necessary.

The NWT Wildlife Federation also objected to the lack of representation for non-Aboriginal harvesters on the conference. The Minister has suggested, and some committee members agree, that the federation can be represented through the GNWT-appointed members; however, the public raising the concern want the bill to reflect an agreed upon process that clearly identifies how those without treaty and Aboriginal rights will have input.

The committee carefully considered all of the concerns raised, and proposed to the Minister that an amendment be made to the bill that would retain the membership as outlined in November 2010 consultation draft but that would make it a requirement that the conference invite the participation of representatives from unsettled claim areas as well as prescribed organizations representing persons with an interest in wildlife

management and harvesting in the NWT. Unfortunately, the government also released the committee’s proposals to some working group members without the committee’s knowledge or consent, which added to the confusion and bad feelings surrounding the bill. Those without a process to be involved were not consulted at all.

Although some of the committee felt that the proposed amendment was a reasonable compromise, the Minister rejected it twice. Instead, the committee has been advised that the Minister proposes to remove the conference provisions altogether, allowing the matter of the conference membership to be addressed by amending legislation in future years. With respect, the committee cannot agree to this approach which will leave a significant gap in the bill and the wildlife management regime in the Northwest Territories. The issues that have made the conference provision so contentious will not be any easier to resolve in the future, and if we as the legislators of today cannot see our way to address them, then it is the committee’s position that this bill is not ready to proceed at this time. If it is the intent of some committee members to reintroduce our proposed amendment to the conference provisions during Committee of the Whole deliberations and should that motion pass at that time, some members may be able to support the bill going forward.

Conclusion

The committee is well aware of the importance of new wildlife legislation to Northerners and would have liked to see the initiative completed during the life of the 16

Assembly. However, the impending

dissolution of this Assembly is an artificial deadline and is no reason to enact a bill that is not ready. Should the bill not pass during this sitting, committee members are confident that the Assembly will be able to build on the significant work already undertaken and see it through to completion, and we would strongly urge them to do so in the first year of that mandate.

Mr. Speaker, that concludes the report of the Standing Committee on Economic Development and Infrastructure on the review of Bill 9, Wildlife Act.

Motion To Receive Committee Report 7-16(6) And Move Into Committee Of The Whole, Carried
Reports of Standing and Special Committees

David Ramsay Kam Lake

Therefore, I move, seconded by the honourable Member for Nunakput, that Committee Report 7-16(6) be received by the Assembly and moved into Committee of the Whole for consideration. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Motion To Receive Committee Report 7-16(6) And Move Into Committee Of The Whole, Carried
Reports of Standing and Special Committees

The Speaker Paul Delorey

Thank you, Mr. Ramsay. A motion is on the floor. The motion is in order. To the motion.

Motion To Receive Committee Report 7-16(6) And Move Into Committee Of The Whole, Carried
Reports of Standing and Special Committees

Some Hon. Members

Question.

Motion To Receive Committee Report 7-16(6) And Move Into Committee Of The Whole, Carried
Reports of Standing and Special Committees

The Speaker Paul Delorey

Question is being called.

---Carried

Motion To Receive Committee Report 7-16(6) And Move Into Committee Of The Whole, Carried
Reports of Standing and Special Committees

The Speaker Paul Delorey

Committee Report 7-16(6) will be moved into Committee of the Whole for further consideration.

Item 13, reports of committees on the review of bills. Item 14, tabling of documents. Mr. Roland.

Tabled Document 60-16(6): Northwest Territories Health Status Report - August 2011
Tabling of Documents

Floyd Roland Inuvik Boot Lake

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I wish to table the following document entitled Northwest Territories Health Status Report, August 2011. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Tabled Document 60-16(6): Northwest Territories Health Status Report - August 2011
Tabling of Documents

The Speaker Paul Delorey

Thank you, Mr. Roland. The honourable Member for Yellowknife Centre, Mr. Hawkins.

Tabled Document 61-16(6): Letter From Auditor General Of Canada Regarding Performance Audits Of Crown Corporations
Tabling of Documents

August 22nd, 2011

Robert Hawkins Yellowknife Centre

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I have a letter sent to me from the Auditor General of Canada, dated the 26

of February 2007, and it’s

regarding my issue of concerns for performance audits on northern corporations. Thank you.

Tabled Document 61-16(6): Letter From Auditor General Of Canada Regarding Performance Audits Of Crown Corporations
Tabling of Documents

The Speaker Paul Delorey

Thank you, Mr. Hawkins. The honourable Member for Nunakput, Mr. Jacobson.

Tabled Document 62-16(6): Package Of Letters Concerning Proposed Changes To Bill 9, Wildlife Act
Tabling of Documents

Jackie Jacobson Nunakput

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I’d like to table six letters before the House today, all with concerns with the recent changes to the Wildlife Act.

Mr. Speaker, the first letter is from the Gwich’in Renewable Resource Board to the chair of the Standing Committee on Economic Development and Infrastructure on Bill 9, the Wildlife Act.

The second letter, Mr. Speaker, is the Wildlife Management Advisory Council of the Northwest Territories, dated July 29, 2011, Minister of Environment and Natural Resources, Wildlife

Management Advisory Committee on Bill 9, the Wildlife Act.

Mr. Speaker, the third one is the Inuvialuit Game Council, dated August 3, 2011, to the Minister of Environment and Natural Resources, Bill 9, NWT Wildlife Act.

The fourth, Mr. Speaker, is the Gwich’in Tribal Council, dated August 15, 2011, to the Minister of Environment and Natural Resources regarding the completion of the Wildlife Act project.

Mr. Speaker, the fifth is the Tlicho Government, dated August 17, 2011, to the Environment and Natural Resources, Government of the Northwest Territories, Tlicho Government’s position on proposed changes to Bill 9, the Wildlife Act.

Mr. Speaker, also, the sixth letter is the Gwich’in Tribal Council, dated August 3, 2011, to the Minister of Natural Resources regarding Bill 9, NWT Wildlife Act. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Tabled Document 63-16(6): Annual Report Of The Equal Pay Commissioner For The Northwest Territories For The Period July 1, 2010, To June 30, 2011
Tabling of Documents

The Speaker Paul Delorey

Thank you, Mr. Jacobson. Pursuant to Section 40.23(2) of the Public Service Act, I wish to table the Annual Report of the Equal Pay Commissioner for the Northwest Territories for the period July 1, 2010, to June 30, 2011.

Item 15, notices of motion. The honourable Member for Nahendeh, Mr. Menicoche.

Motion 11-16(6): Devolution Negotiations
Notices of Motion

Kevin A. Menicoche Nahendeh

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I give notice that on Wednesday, August 24, 2011, I will move the following motion: Now therefore I move, seconded by the honourable Member for Tu Nedhe, that this Legislative Assembly strongly recommends that the GNWT suspend devolution negotiations for 12 months, or until such time as a general agreement to proceed has been reached;

And further, to accomplish this goal, that the GNWT establish an Aboriginal devolution commission, comprised of representatives of all the NWT’s Aboriginal governments of land claim organizations;

And furthermore, that the Aboriginal devolution commission’s mandate be a review of the current agreement-in-principle on devolution to assess the benefits for Aboriginal groups, and to make recommendations to the GNWT respecting a fully cooperative process of reaching a final agreement within 12 months of the commission’s establishment. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Motion 11-16(6): Devolution Negotiations
Notices of Motion

The Speaker Paul Delorey

Thank you, Mr. Menicoche. The honourable Member for Weledeh, Mr. Bromley.

Motion 12-16(6): Mental Health Court Diversion Program
Notices of Motion

Bob Bromley Weledeh

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, I give notice that on Wednesday, August 24, 2011, I will move the following motion: Now therefore I move, seconded by the honourable Member for Frame Lake, that the Government of the Northwest Territories begin research to examine options and potential benefits for introduction of a mental health court diversion program as an adjunct to the new court system;

And further, that this government make note of this initiative as a recommendation included in the transition advice being offered to the 17

Legislative Assembly. Mahsi.