Thank you, Mr. Speaker. In my reply to the Commissioner's opening address, I mentioned my support of the NWT Metis Nation's Land, Resource, and Self-Government Agreement, as they are my constituents. The parties of this agreement include the NWT Metis Nation, which represents the Fort Smith, Hay River, and Fort Resolution Metis Councils, along with the Government of Canada and the Government of the Northwest Territories. In 1996, these parties agreed to have negotiations take place in two phases. As of July 29, 2015, the NWT Metis Nation Agreement-in-Principle was signed, which officially began phase 2 of negotiations. Phase 2 will address self-government and the move towards a Final Agreement.
Mr. Speaker, as MLA for Thebacha, I consider it a priority of mine to support the NWT Metis Nation in advancing their Claim into the final stages of its implementation. As MLA, I will do my best work to work with the territorial government and help advocate for the NWT Metis Nation as they continue to negotiate. Moreover, there is one aspect of these ongoing negotiations that I would like to comment on. Over the years, in talking with various Metis leaders, I've heard numerous times of people describing the territorial negotiating team as a very difficult team to work with, particularly after devolution came into effect on April 1, 2014. I'm told that the territorial negotiating team became much more adversarial rather than conciliatory than before Devolution. Also, the chief negotiator of the federal government is no better. It seems that both the federal and territorial chief negotiators always hide behind the excuse of having "no mandate," thus the inability to say "yes" or "no" for a decision on anything at the negotiating table. Because of this, negotiations are always stalled and nothing gets done. This has got to change.
Mr. Speaker, during the life of this 19th Assembly I would like to see this Land, Resource, and Self-Government Agreement make good headway with positive outcomes for the NWT Metis Nation. Mr. Speaker, I seek unanimous consent for my statement.
---Unanimous consent granted