Federal committee votes against dividing superbill

The parliamentary committee on Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development has voted 6-5 against dividing Bill C-15, the bill that will enact devolution and create a superboard for the Northwest Territories.

Western Arctic  MP Dennis Bevington says he put forward a motion to split Bill C-15 after hearing concerns from aboriginal groups.

The single bill includes legislation to enact devolution, as well as to merge the territory’s four land and water boards into a single superboard.

While many support the first, few expected the latter to appear in the devolution bill, and many have asked that it be dealt with separately.

“That change would be one that would keep the structure that was agreed to under land claims intact, keep the direction of the N.W.T. going in the way we've set out over the past 20-odd years, and I think that would make the rest of it much more palatable,” said Bevington.

He says four New Democratic Party MPs and one Liberal voted to split the bill.

The motion failed when six Conservative members voted against it.

The committee will begin reviewing the bill next week.

Members may suggest amendments.

But Bevington says he's not hopeful his changes will be approved with a Conservative majority on the committee.


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