Thank you, Mr. Speaker. On June 22, 2002, the Salt River First Nation treaty land entitlement claim was signed by several signatories, which includes both the Government of Canada and the Government of the Northwest Territories. The Salt River land entitlement claim was signed 18 years ago; yet its full implementation remains undone. This is not okay, Mr. Speaker. In fact, it is unacceptable. This is clearly an outstanding matter that the people of Salt River and Fort Smith have been waiting to see fully implemented after nearly two decades of constant delays, excuses, and trilateral negotiations that amount to nothing.
As former Salt River chief, I can attest personally to these roadblocks because I had to deal with them for 12 years while in leadership there. Salt River has faced endless roadblocks in implementing provisions of their agreement, which has strained good faith negotiations between Salt River and the Crown and has halted advances on infrastructure, housing, wellness, and other potential services on reserve lands. For example, the stalling of this claim has prevented Salt River from developing basic and critical infrastructure, such as water and sewer and filtration, among others. This means that, despite Salt River being shovel-ready to build critical infrastructure, they aren't able to because the federal and territorial governments have stopped it from happening.
Therefore, Mr. Speaker, since the territorial government is an equal signatory to the claim, they have the judiciary responsibility to carry out this claim in a timely manner, in good faith, and to push the federal government to do the same. Furthermore, Mr. Speaker, listed number one on the top of the 19th Assembly's list of 22 priorities is "settle and implement treaty, land, resources, and self-government agreements." That is also re-affirmed in the 2019-2023 mandate of the Government of the Northwest Territories. Thus, we in this 19th Assembly have a mandate to implement the several outstanding Indigenous land entitlement claims and other self-government agreements that have been ongoing in the NWT for many, many years. I will have questions for the Premier later today. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.