Devolution, superboard hearing in Yellowknife Jan. 27

The standing committee on Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development has released details on a consultation meeting planned to discuss Bill C-15, the bill that will enact devolution for the Northwest Territories.
Bernard Valcourt, Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development, poses with Northwest Territories Premier Bob McLeod in the foyer of the House of Commons after the introduction of Bill C-15, the Northwest Territories Devolution Act. (Courtesy AANDC)

Aboriginal groups in the Northwest Territories will soon have the chance to tell the federal government what they think of Bill C-15.

That's the bill that will enact devolution in the territory, a long-awaited change that will devolve power, and royalties, from the federal to the territorial government. 

Some northerners were also surprised to see that the bill proposes to eliminate the four land and water boards and replace them with one superboard.

Both the Gwich'in and Tlicho aboriginal governments have rejected the idea of the superboard. 

Bill C-15 passed second reading in the House of Commons in December, despite some objections from NDP MP Dennis Bevington, who said the bill will give the federal government more control over the territory, not less

Before the bill's third and final vote, the Standing Committee on Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development will hold a consultation session in Yellowknife on Jan. 27.

Eight aboriginal groups have been invited to speak, including the Gwich’in Tribal Council, the North Slave Metis Alliance and the Sahtu Secretariat.

Groups like the Mackenzie Valley Land and Water Board,  the NWT and Nunavut Chamber of Mines and Alternatives North have also been invited.

The meeting will take place Jan. 27 at the Explorer Hotel from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.