Dehcho leader demands rescheduled Wildlife Act hearings

Dehcho First Nations Grand Chief Herb Norwegian is demanding that MLAs get hearings for the proposed new Wildlife Act back on track after they were cancelled this week.

Grand Chief says cancelling meeting hours before it was to start was 'disrespectful'

Herb Norwegian, the Dehcho Grand Chief, said the cancellations with such short notice show the MLAs don't prioritize the perspectives of the Dehcho people. (CBC)

The Dehcho First Nations is demanding that MLAs get hearings for the proposed new Wildlife Act back on track.

On Monday, the N.W.T. legislative assembly cancelled meetings which had been planned for Fort Simpson, Fort Providence and Nahanni Butte this week.

The committee's chair says four of six MLAs were unable to travel.

Dehcho Grand Chief Herb Norwegian isn't happy with the short notice cancellation. He said it was disrespectful to cancel the meeting just hours before it was set to start in Fort Simpson. Norwegian said none of the committee members called him or local leaders to explain the delay.

He said it shows the MLAs don’t prioritize the perspectives of people in the Dehcho.

"Especially with the kind of stuff we're doing right now, trying to work out a deal on devolution, trying to bring the territorial government a little closer to the Dehcho on our views — and here you have a handful of committee members mismanaging the wildlife act. It's upsetting," he said.

Norwegian said people in the Dehcho have concerns about the proposed legislation; the region doesn't have a land claim to cover wildlife management and harvesting issues.

He said harvesters need to know how the new Wildlife Act will affect them, and people in the region want their land use plan included in the act.

Norwegian is demanding the committee of MLAs hold the consultations before reporting back to the legislature.

The process of re-writing the territory's decades-old Wildlife Act has been fraught with delays and re-writes.