This is page numbers 4285 - 4326 of the Hansard for the 17th Assembly, 5th 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 public.

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Consideration In Committee Of The Wholeof Bills And Other Matters
Consideration In Committee Of The Wholeof Bills And Other Matters

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The Chair Jane Groenewegen

I'd like to call Committee of the Whole back to order. The report of the Standing Committee on Priorities and Planning, the Report of Bills 1, 2, 3 and Other Legislation to Implement Devolution of Lands and Resources Responsibility to the GNWT has already been read into the record. Ms. Bisaro.

Consideration In Committee Of The Wholeof Bills And Other Matters
Consideration In Committee Of The Wholeof Bills And Other Matters

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Wendy Bisaro Frame Lake

Thank you, Madam Chair. Are we doing comments or are we going right to the motion?

Consideration In Committee Of The Wholeof Bills And Other Matters
Consideration In Committee Of The Wholeof Bills And Other Matters

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The Chair Jane Groenewegen

If you'd like to do general comments, please. I thought... Yes, general comments. Ms. Bisaro.

Consideration In Committee Of The Wholeof Bills And Other Matters
Consideration In Committee Of The Wholeof Bills And Other Matters

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Wendy Bisaro Frame Lake

Thanks, Madam Chair. I just thought there might be some Members who might like to make a few comments on the process and so on.

The report lays out pretty well, I think, and in a fair bit of detail the process we had to follow. Bills 1, 2 and 3 followed our normal process. They were read in the House to second reading and then referred to committee, and committee held a public hearing and asked for comment from the public, then held a public hearing and then reported it back to the House as ready for third reading.

But the other seven bills, the process has been kind of hijacked, I guess, is the best way of putting it. We didn't do it willingly, I guess. It's a matter of time. We didn't have the time in which we could properly consider these other bills; we didn't have time to refer them to committee; we didn't have time for public consultation. We agreed, as committee, that we would have these bills go directly into Committee of the Whole and bypass the consideration by committee at that stage.

I think the major concern for me, and I think for committee as well, and I think it's expressed in the report, is that even though these are mirror bills, there is an interest on the part of the public and there is an interest on the part of Members to look at the NWT bills and to determine whether or not there are some gaps in these bills, whether or not there are some statements in these bills that maybe we don't agree with from a territorial perspective. They may work in a federal perspective, but if they're going to be ours, do we totally agree with what's in this legislation? Not to change it at this point but to have some things on the record so that in future, when we are looking at the legislation, we can go back and say, well, in 2014 we did have representation from various people who said this is not quite what we want in legislation, this is not quite what we want in this piece of this legislation and we then have a bit of a base on which to start and look at changes to the legislation.

The fact that we couldn't do that while we're considering the bills is a bit of a concern. There is a recommendation in the report, in a motion that I will read shortly, that specifically recommends that we have a very public review and a very broad review across the territory for all these pieces of legislation, which we haven't been able to review as a comment. We can't do that until after April 1st. But as of April 1st when the bills become ours, we can then start the process of reviewing them in consultation with the public and come up with some potential amendments.

I don't know, Madam Chair, if you want me to read this motion now, or if we go to other comments from people.

Consideration In Committee Of The Wholeof Bills And Other Matters
Consideration In Committee Of The Wholeof Bills And Other Matters

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The Chair Jane Groenewegen

Thank you, Ms. Bisaro. General comments. Mr. Dolynny.

Consideration In Committee Of The Wholeof Bills And Other Matters
Consideration In Committee Of The Wholeof Bills And Other Matters

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Daryl Dolynny Range Lake

Great. Thank you, Madam Chair. I appreciate the opportunity to clarify a little bit. Some Members have already asked me, what was the intent of the Standing Committee on Priorities and Planning to read this report into the House? What merit will it perform? I think it says it and summarizes it best: the process itself, the reviewing process and the implementation of these 10 devolution bills was very unusual. To accept mirror legislation typically isn't something of a norm. A lot of the processes that normally go into bill legislations - consultation, line-by-line, clause-by-clause - were somewhat triturated for ease of providing these acts in a timely fashion for a deadline date.

Committee felt that because there were some constraints by the committee and we also knew there were some constraints by the government that were beyond our control, as was indicated inside the report. So it was important for Members to make sure that that was clear and concise and transparent for the public to understand that we were under a little bit of a different constraint than normal, and that we had very challenging limits to work towards and trying to get April 1st as the agenda deadline for the devolution implementation.

So we did our best to scrutinize the bills and to seek as much public input to, what we said, the greatest extent possible, and we did get a number of submissions. A number of Members were able to gather, collect. All this information was meant as setting the expectation of what is to move on a forward basis. It was important for Members to make sure that point was valid and brought forward, and hopefully by this whole exercise that we actually are creating a baseline of information so that whether we review this within the life of the 17th Assembly or we're doing this for ease and operation of Members for the 18th Assembly, we felt it was our due diligence to provide that type of information, that type of feedback at the moment, the moment when these bills came into our being that these bills came into, I guess, our jurisdiction for review, and we felt that this was the best course of action to undertake, given the very unique circumstances of the House. Thank you, Madam Chair.

Consideration In Committee Of The Wholeof Bills And Other Matters
Consideration In Committee Of The Wholeof Bills And Other Matters

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The Chair Jane Groenewegen

Thank you, Mr. Dolynny. General comments. Ms. Bisaro.

Committee Motion 39-17(5): Public Review Of Devolution-related Legislation, Carried
Consideration In Committee Of The Wholeof Bills And Other Matters

March 10th, 2014

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Wendy Bisaro Frame Lake

Thanks, Madam Chair. I move that this committee recommends that the Premier initiate a broad and thorough public review of all devolution-related legislation as soon as it is within the jurisdiction of the Government of the Northwest Territories. Thank you.

Committee Motion 39-17(5): Public Review Of Devolution-related Legislation, Carried
Consideration In Committee Of The Wholeof Bills And Other Matters

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The Chair Jane Groenewegen

Thank you, Ms. Bisaro. The motion is in order. To the motion.

Committee Motion 39-17(5): Public Review Of Devolution-related Legislation, Carried
Consideration In Committee Of The Wholeof Bills And Other Matters

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Some Hon. Members

Question.

Committee Motion 39-17(5): Public Review Of Devolution-related Legislation, Carried
Consideration In Committee Of The Wholeof Bills And Other Matters

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The Chair Jane Groenewegen

Question is being called. The motion is carried.

---Carried

Thank you. Does the committee agree that we have concluded consideration of Committee Report 3-17(5)?

Committee Motion 39-17(5): Public Review Of Devolution-related Legislation, Carried
Consideration In Committee Of The Wholeof Bills And Other Matters

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Some Hon. Members

Agreed.

Committee Motion 39-17(5): Public Review Of Devolution-related Legislation, Carried
Consideration In Committee Of The Wholeof Bills And Other Matters

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The Chair Jane Groenewegen

Agreed. Thank you. We're moving on to Bill 10. Could I ask the Minister responsible to please provide us with his opening remarks. Premier McLeod.

Committee Motion 39-17(5): Public Review Of Devolution-related Legislation, Carried
Consideration In Committee Of The Wholeof Bills And Other Matters

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Bob McLeod Yellowknife South

Thank you for the opportunity to speak to Bill 10, Northwest Territories Lands Act. The passage of this legislation is an important step towards implementing the Northwest Territories Lands and Resources Devolution Agreement.

The Northwest Territories Lands Act is a mirror of the federal Territorial Lands Act, which Canada will make inapplicable on Territorial lands on April 1, 2014.

Under the Devolution Agreement, the GNWT is committed to “substantially mirror” Canada's legislation that is repealed or made inapplicable to public lands transferring to the GNWT through devolution.

The mirroring exercise means that the new GNWT laws will address the same matters, in substantially the same way, as federal laws do now.

The mirroring process also required that the GNWT limit changes to addressing issues such as correcting outdated language and applying GNWT drafting standards.

Mirrored legislation is a practical first step to ensure a continued delivery of services on April 1, 2014. Mirrored legislation also ensures that there are no legislative gaps or overlaps between the GNWT and Canada.

The parties to the Devolution Agreement entered into a Protocol for Review of Devolution Legislation. Under this protocol, all parties have been able to review and comment on this legislation before it was introduced in the Legislative Assembly. We have considered these comments carefully in preparation of the bill before you.

The Northwest Territories Lands Act will provide the Government of the Northwest Territories with authority related to the disposition and use of land, including the disposition of subsurface minerals.

This legislation will form part of an integrated regulatory system of land and water resource management in the Northwest Territories with the new Waters Act and the Mackenzie Valley Resource Management Act.

The authorities set out in the Northwest Territories Lands Act will be the responsibility of the new Department of Lands, with the exception of the administration of subsurface minerals which will be administered by the Department of Industry, Tourism and Investment.

The bill provides the GNWT with the authority to lease and sell land, and sets out prohibitions on trespass and the unauthorized use of public lands.

Regulations made under the Northwest Territories Lands Act will also govern the issuance of land use permits in the Inuvialuit Settlement Region.

I would be pleased to answer any questions Members may have. Thank you.

Committee Motion 39-17(5): Public Review Of Devolution-related Legislation, Carried
Consideration In Committee Of The Wholeof Bills And Other Matters

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The Chair Jane Groenewegen

Thank you, Premier McLeod. I would like to ask the Premier if he would like to bring witnesses into the Chamber.