Minister of Environment and Natural Resources, the Honourable Robert C. McLeod and Chair of the Standing Committee on Economic Development and the Environment, Mr. Cory Vanthuyne, are announcing today, that in the spirit of consensus government, an agreement has been reached to provide for the expedited review of Bill 38: Protected Areas Act during the May/June sitting of the Legislative Assembly.
In moving ahead with this legislation, the Minister and Committee members recognize the importance of the Protected Areas Act to the people of the Northwest Territories and the broad support the Act has from Indigenous Governments and organizations.
"I would like to thank the Committee for recognizing the need to pass the PAA in the May/June Session," said Minister McLeod. "With this agreement we can begin the process of engaging with the Working Group to develop the necessary regulations to govern activities in Protected Areas."
"Committee heard broad support for the Protected Areas Act from Indigenous Governments, residents and other stakeholders across the territory, and we are pleased to be working with the Minister to proceed with this important legislation during the May/June Session", added MLA Vanthuyne.
In discussing and reviewing the submissions made on Bill 44: Forest Act, the Minister and the Committee came to the mutual conclusion that Bill 44: Forest Act requires substantial changes and will be re-introduced early in the life of the 19th Assembly.
It was readily apparent that there are still many concerns with this bill and those concerns would be better addressed at the Working Group Stage with Indigenous Partners. The Minister and the Chair also recognize the unrealistic expectation placed on the Standing Committee to review Bill 44: Forest Act and to provide a quality legislative product prior to the end of the 18th Assembly.
"In having ENR re-engage with our Working Group partners, we will be able to develop a final product that meets the needs of Indigenous governments and industry and does not require extensive revision at the Committee review stage," said Minister McLeod. "It is important to note that delaying the Forest Act to the next Assembly with have no effect on existing Forestry Agreements or activities."
"Committee would like to thank the Minister for recognizing the serious concerns of Committee on Bill 44: Forest Act and commend the Minister for agreeing to send Bill 44:
Forest Act back to the Technical Working Group for the substantive changes that were identified during Committee’s consultations," said MLA Vanthuyne.
For further information please contact:
Manager, Public Affairs and Communications
Legislative Assembly of the Northwest Territories
Phone: (867) 767-9130 ext. 12017
Media and Communications Coordinator
Cabinet Communications and Protocol
Government of the Northwest Territories
Phone: 867-767-9140 Ext. 11092