The territorial government became the first in Canadian history to finalize a resource revenue sharing agreement with Aboriginal governments for royalties garnered from development on public lands through devolution.
The GNWT signed its intergovernmental agreements on revenue sharing and land/resource management with the Inuvialuit Regional Corp., NWT Metis Nation, Sahtu Secretariat Inc., Gwich’in Tribal Council and Tlicho Government last week.
“When resource revenues are collected by the government of the Northwest Territories, Aboriginal government partners will receive a direct share of the benefits of resource development,” Premier Bob McLeod said. “We are setting a new standard for collaboration here in the Northwest Territories. Nowhere else in Canada have revenues from public lands been offered to Aboriginal governments at this level.”
The agreement sets out terms and conditions for sharing resource revenues from public lands. The GNWT has committed up to 25 per cent of its resource revenues with Aboriginal parties to the devolution agreement.
“Resource revenue sharing offers the promise of further fiscal capacity to Aboriginal governments,” McLeod said. “Gone are the days when resource development in the NWT offered little opportunity to Aboriginal people. Today, resource development should mean jobs and investment opportunity for all residents and business in the NWT.”
The land and resource management agreement establishes an Intergovernmental Council to facilitate coordination and cooperation between the GNWT and Aboriginal governments following devolution.
“The Intergovernmental Council is not intended to be a forum for discussing constitutional development or issues,” McLeod said. “It will not restrict or diminish the legislative authority of this Assembly, or the authority of Aboriginal governments. It will, however, give us further opportunity to work constructively together. It allows us to build upon the best practices of this government as we assume the responsibility for the management of public lands and waters.”
Both the Akaitcho and Dehcho First Nations, who aren’t party to either agreement, continue to negotiate with the GNWT on devolution. Both are expected to sign in the near future and have until Apr. 1, 2015 to do so.1 comment