Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, one of the most important and far-reaching mandate commitments the 18th Assembly agreed on when we started out was the commitment to resolve land rights agreements. When Members on this side have raised this commitment with the Premier, we have been told that progress is being made, that he remains confident that these discussions can be resolved in the life of the 18th Assembly.
Mr. Speaker, the clock is ticking. The 18th Assembly is in its final months, and to date, we have the Premier's confidence, but not much else.
Mr. Speaker, the fair resolution of land rights discussions may be the most pressing thing on our list. Our other priorities cannot be advanced until land rights are resolved. Certainty is essential in order to achieve our mandate of economic growth. It is necessary to achieve our goals in health, social justice, and education. It is necessary to support small business, develop renewable energy, and minimize our carbon footprint. All of these crucial priorities depend on the successful and fair resolution of land rights.
These questions have a direct impact in my riding of Yellowknife North. How do we determine the distinction between traditional indigenous land use and unauthorized squatting? How do we reassure born-and-raised Northerners we are seeking fee simple ownership of their homes? How do we respond to the interests of the burgeoning tourism industry when lands are frozen? How do we move forward with the Yellowknife Periphery Recreational Land Use plan?
As of today, with just months left in the 18th Assembly, the answer is: we don't know.
With certainty on land and rights and self-government in place, communities and regions will be able to establish their own priorities, develop their own economies, and employ their own people. Our system of governance must support and empower Indigenous governments with responsibility and authority for self-determination. This will allow communities to flourish and grow on their own terms.
Mr. Speaker, it remains my sincere hope that, in this Assembly, we can take this important step forward and create a lasting legacy of fairness and certainty. Only with that certainty can we move ahead as Northerners together. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.