This is page numbers 6187 - 6288 of the Hansard for the 18th Assembly, 3rd 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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Recorded Vote
Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

August 21st

Page 6266

Wally Schumann Hay River South

Comment noted.

Recorded Vote
Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

August 21st

Page 6266

The Chair R.J. Simpson

Mr. McNeely.

Recorded Vote
Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

August 21st

Page 6266

Daniel McNeely Sahtu

Thank you, Mr. Chair. As I mentioned earlier, balancing transparency and confidence and certainty are all words of the intent that we're trying to achieve in the bill here. The NWT is a very diverse region, with many cultures, land titleship, therefore there must be a designed legislation and regulation to allow flexibility for those accommodations for those diverse areas. We have a land claim which spells out an enormous amount of comfort to the words "access" and "benefits." Other areas don't, so there has to be some flexibility for this institution to lead toward creating those benefits that some areas may be so vague in guaranteeing benefits when a developer walks in the door.

As it stands now, I'm comfortable with the way it's worded, and I'm comfortable with the regulation. Thank you, Mr. Chair.

Recorded Vote
Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

August 21st

Page 6266

The Chair R.J. Simpson

Thank you. To clause 51. Mr. Nakimayak.

Recorded Vote
Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

August 21st

Page 6266

Herbert Nakimayak Nunakput

Thank you, Mr. Chair. As a previous speaker mentioned, there are a lot of different Indigenous groups in the territory; some signed, some unsigned. There may be an administration part of this so that we can have a body for this to work with all Indigenous governments across the territory. Thank you, Mr. Chair.

Recorded Vote
Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

August 21st

Page 6266

The Chair R.J. Simpson

Thank you. To clause 51. Mr. O'Reilly.

Committee Motion 228-18(3): Bill 34: Mineral Resources Act - Delete and Replace clause 51, Defeated
Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

August 21st

Page 6266

Kevin O'Reilly Frame Lake

Thanks, Mr. Chair. I move that Bill 34 be amended by deleting clause 51 and substituting the following:

51(1) The Commissioner, on the recommendation of the Minister, may prescribe requirements in respect of measures that provide benefits to the people of the Northwest Territories that the holder of a mineral lease must meet before being granted a production license.

(2) Benefits in the measures referred to in subsection (1) may include, but are not limited to, particulars in respect of the following:

(a) employment practises;

(b) human resource development;

(c) business development;

(d) social well-being;

(e) cultural well-being;

(f) monitoring and reporting;

(g) engagement between the parties;

(h) dispute resolution;

(i) any other matter that the Minister considers in the public interest.

(3) The Minister may change the benefits required of a holder of a production license if there is a material change as prescribed in the project authorized by the production license.

Thank you, Mr. Chair.

Committee Motion 228-18(3): Bill 34: Mineral Resources Act - Delete and Replace clause 51, Defeated
Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

August 21st

Page 6267

The Chair R.J. Simpson

Thank you. There is a motion on the floor. The motion is in order. To the motion. Mr. O'Reilly.

Committee Motion 228-18(3): Bill 34: Mineral Resources Act - Delete and Replace clause 51, Defeated
Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

August 21st

Page 6267

Kevin O'Reilly Frame Lake

Thanks, Mr. Chair. The intent of this motion is to provide the kind of clarity that the Minister has not been able to do in debate so far. What this does is actually codify the intentions that the Minister has already spoken about, of providing benefits for people of the Northwest Territories. Those benefits can take many forms. It could be a benefit agreement. It could be prescribed by regulations. It is all at the discretion of the Minister, but what this does is establish a clear trigger of a production licence. There is an end point here. This is when the benefits would kick in.

Furthermore, it would be only be for whatever the Minister prescribes by regulations. It might be mining projects over a certain value, $50 million. Whatever it might be, it is all prescribed at the Minister's discretion. This would establish a clear trigger, and in fact, it is the trigger that the Minister has already talked about. We want to get benefits from mines that go into production. That is what this is about.

The second part is a non-inclusive list of what may be considered as benefits. This list was not dreamed up out of thin air. This is a list of the table contents of the NICO socio-economic agreement, the last socio-economic agreement signed by this government during this Assembly. That is where this list comes from. It sets out an expectation that, gee, when we are talking about benefits, here are the things that we are starting to mean. Of course, it is all, again, at the discretion of the Minister, as it says the Minister "may include" these things, and then whatever else the Minister considers in the public interest.

The last part here, (3), is, if there is a change to the project in some way after the benefits arrangement has been put in place, the Minister could reconsider those benefits and reopen that. We already find that provision in the next part of the bill that we are going to deal with in terms of the Indigenous government agreements. This just includes that here so it gives the Minister the option of reopening the agreements as prescribed by regulations. Those thresholds and definitions of what a material change may be can be set out by regulation.

What this does is set out in language what the Minister has already said he intends to do. This provides the kind of clarity and certainty that the Minister has already talked about and gives him, or her, in the future, the flexibility to go off and decide these things at their discretion by regulation. This accomplishes what the Minister has already said that he intends to do, and I think that it provides the kind of clarity and certainty that industry has asked of us.

I look forward to my colleagues supporting this in the effort to provide certainty and clarity and to accomplish the things that the Minister has actually said he intends to do. Thank you, Mr. Chair.

Committee Motion 228-18(3): Bill 34: Mineral Resources Act - Delete and Replace clause 51, Defeated
Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

August 21st

Page 6267

The Chair R.J. Simpson

Thank you. To the motion. Mr. Vanthuyne.

Committee Motion 228-18(3): Bill 34: Mineral Resources Act - Delete and Replace clause 51, Defeated
Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

August 21st

Page 6267

Cory Vanthuyne Yellowknife North

Thank you, Mr. Chair. In reviewing this when we had this before committee, this is how I would have expected to see a clause like this laid out. When you want to put benefits into legislation, remind folks that clause 51(1) is a "may" clause, sub (2) is a "may" clause, and sub (3) is a "may" clause. There is no "shall" here at all, so there is no absolute obligation on the Minister.

What this does is this clarifies, to some degree, what one might expect to see when they go to this clause and read it. It outlines some of, not necessarily all, the benefits, and it doesn't leave one wondering or questioning what the clause was expected to do for benefits for people of the NWT. I will be in support. Thank you, Mr. Chair.

Committee Motion 228-18(3): Bill 34: Mineral Resources Act - Delete and Replace clause 51, Defeated
Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

August 21st

Page 6267

The Chair R.J. Simpson

Thank you. Mr. Testart. To the motion.

Committee Motion 228-18(3): Bill 34: Mineral Resources Act - Delete and Replace clause 51, Defeated
Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

August 21st

Page 6267

Kieron Testart Kam Lake

Thank you, Mr. Chair. I think that this is a commendable effort to improve, again, a section that is far too vague. Part of me very much wants to see this kind of certainty and specificity added to the legislation, especially after the debate that we have had on the floor so far where we couldn't even get a straight answer that this is just going to enshrine best practices and move forward along that basis. That being said, my concern is that, unlike section 52, I am not sure if industry has been properly consulted on this.

Even though this is a discretionary clause, I would like to know firmly that all stakeholders who are engaged in this have an opportunity to weigh in on it and cooperatively develop how this is going to look. There may be an opportunity to do that in regulations, but there certainly wasn't an opportunity to do that in statute.

I think that the only remedy for clause 51 is to delete the clause and let the next government work on building a better clause. Although I am sympathetic to why this is before us, I am not in a position to support it today, but I do truly commend the efforts of Members to bring this forward. I think that it is their best efforts to correct a very flawed component of this legislation. Thank you, Mr. Chair.

Committee Motion 228-18(3): Bill 34: Mineral Resources Act - Delete and Replace clause 51, Defeated
Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

August 21st

Page 6267

The Chair R.J. Simpson

To the motion. Mr. Blake.

Committee Motion 228-18(3): Bill 34: Mineral Resources Act - Delete and Replace clause 51, Defeated
Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

August 21st, 2019

Page 6268

Frederick Blake Jr. Mackenzie Delta

Thank you, Mr. Chair. Just briefly, I know that when we have any development, like, say, in the Gwich'in settlement area, we have Gwich'in Tribal Council who is responsible for our economics benefit agreements. Any time we have ever had any, whether it is oil and gas or pipeline work, they have had agreements with the Gwich'in. They look after the best interests of the GSA. Same with the Inuvialuit.

Also, we have heard the Premier and Minister, when they travelled to Vancouver for the mineral expo there, there were investors that looked at this territory and the benefit agreements that we have with Indigenous governments, and they were really impressed with how things are operating.

I do commend the Member for bringing this forward, but I think that what we have in place at the moment is doing well for Indigenous governments. A good example is the Tlicho, the Det'on Cho. They seem to be really doing well here in this area. This is the busiest area in the territory at the moment.

It always could be amended through our policies, but to put this into legislation, not at this time. I am not willing to support this at the moment. Thank you.