Statement by Minister Valcourt and Premier Bob McLeod on First Anniversary of Northwest Territories Devolution

OTTAWA, April 1, 2015 /CNW/ - The Honourable Bernard Valcourt, Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development, and Premier Bob McLeod of the Northwest Territories joined residents of the territory in celebrating the one year anniversary of Devolution.

"It is a pleasure to mark today an important milestone in the history of the Northwest Territories," stated Minister Valcourt.  "One year ago today, on April 1st, 2014, the Northwest Territories Devolution Act came into force, marking the final step in the territory's devolution process." 

Devolving responsibility of land and resource management from the federal government to the Government of the Northwest Territories was a challenging, complex exercise. We owe our thanks to the thousands of people, from First Nations communities, federal and territorial employees, legislators at all levels, and Northerners themselves, whose contributions helped to make Devolution a reality.

Devolution has given Northerners more control over their own economic and political destiny by placing decision making about land and resources in Northerners' hands. It is increasing the prosperity of the NWT by giving the territorial government the power to collect and share in resource revenues. Through a unique revenue sharing plan, it also opens up tremendous opportunities for the five regional Aboriginal organizations and four First Nation communities that have joined the Devolution Agreement to benefit directly from the responsible development of the region's resource potential.

Northwest Territories Devolution is an important element of Canada's Northern Strategy. Its completion and ongoing success will help to ensure the Northwest Territories remain an attractive place to invest, work, grow and live for generations to come."

Northwest Territories Premier Bob McLeod also celebrated this milestone, stating "Devolution was one of the most significant steps in the ongoing political evolution of the Northwest Territories made in my lifetime. Gaining northern control over decisions on land and water that directly affect NWT residents and their future was a priority for the people and Legislative Assembly of the NWT for decades. I am pleased to have been a member of the government that made it a reality in partnership with the Government of Canada and our Aboriginal Government partners.

We have spent our first year managing the transition and beginning to exercise our new authorities on behalf of NWT residents. Moving decisions about protecting our environment and responsibly managing the pace, scale and intensity of resource development closer to home and places more power over land and resources in the hands of Northerners. This will allow us to support a strong Northern economy and create jobs and opportunities for our people."

This statement is also available on the Internet at www.aandc.gc.ca.

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SOURCE Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada

For further information: Minister's Office, Emily Hillstrom, Press Secretary, Office of the Honourable Bernard Valcourt, 819-997-0002; Media Relations, Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada, 819-953-1160; Premier's Office, Roya Grinsted, Communications Officer, Government of the NWT, 867-669-2308


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