Devolution, improved regulatory system on the way: Duncan
Ottawa "will work to finalize and implement devolution agreements"
Devolution and streamlining the regulatory process form the basis of Tories’ strategy to economically develop the North.
Together these “will allow residents to better participate in decision-making concerning the use, management and conservation of natural resources in the North, while also contributing to a more stable investment climate,” said John Duncan, minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development, speaking Nov. 16 in Yellowknife at the Northern Geoscience Forum.
Duncan said his government “will work to finalize and implement devolution agreements and to strengthen governance mechanisms.
That will be done “in consultation with aboriginal groups, territorial governments and industry,” he said.
Most of Duncan’s speech focussed on the Northern Jobs and Growth Act, tabled earlier this month in Parliament.
Duncan said the proposed legislation will Northern Jobs and Growth Act help create “a more stable investment climate for the development of northern resources. This will lead to economic opportunities for all Canadians.”
The Northern Jobs and Growth Act includes the Nunavut Planning and Project Assessment Act, which meets outstanding legislative obligations under the Nunavut land claims agreement as well as the Gwich’in and Sahtu land claim agreements, and responds to calls for measures to streamline and improve regulatory processes in the North.
The proposed Nunavut Planning and Project Assessment Act, or NUPPAA, clarifies the roles of the Nunavut Impact Review Board and the Nunavut Planning Commission and it establishes timelines for the review of projects, creates social and environmental monitoring plans, and sets up new enforcement rules.
Nunavut premier Eva Aariak called it “an important milestone in establishing an effective and streamlined regime for Inuit and government to manage resource development in Nunavut together.”
During this speech in Yellowknife, Duncan also touted the future of the mining industry in the North, saying it “remains bright.”
The number of mines in operation “continues to grow” and exploration activities are on the rise, he said.
There are more than 25 projects in the works for the North, he said, which could mean $21 billion in potential investment in the mining sector.
“If developed, these projects would create thousands of direct jobs, as well as thousands more in the manufacturing, transportation and services sectors,” Duncan said.