The N.W.T. legislative assembly voted 17-1 to approve the territory's devolution deal Wednesday afternoon, which is the last hurdle before the territory is ready to sign the final agreement.

The devolution deal will give the territory control over its Crown lands and resources.


N.W.T. Premier Bob McLeod stands in the legislative assembly to ask the Speaker to hold a vote on a motion to approve the territory's devolution deal on Wednesday afternoon. (CBC)

Only Michael Nadli, the MLA for the Dehcho region, voted against the agreement. He cited the unsettled land claim negotiations of the Dehcho First Nations.

"As a leader I have concerns, major concerns regarding the lack of movement of both the GNWT and federal government on the progress of negotiations of the Dehcho process," he said during the debate.

This week, Premier Bob McLeod presented a report on the 46 meetings held about devolution throughout the territory since March. It includes summaries of what questions people asked, and shows how the government answered them.

Bob Bromley, who represents Weledeh, said he wished the public had been more vocal about their views on what's in the agreement.

"Fundamentally, we all want devolution. And for many, that appears to be enough if we can get devolution in whatever form let's grab it, let's not criticize, let's not have critical thinking on this," he said.

During the debate many MLAs expressed the opinion that the deal is not perfect, but is a step in the right direction.

"This was not the greatest deal of all time for the Northwest Territories, but it's a good deal for the N.W.T.," said Range Lake MLA Daryl Dolynny.

"We're still going to have to put up with the federal government making appointments to our own N.W.T. boards which I consider an insult," said Wendy Bisaro, MLA for Frame Lake.

"We will have control over the land, but not the regulatory process. It hardly seems like the simplification of the process that our mining and other development companies are looking for and I would love to be proved wrong, Mr. Speaker, but only time will tell."

No date has been set for when the territory will sign the final deal.

It's expected the federal cabinet will have to approve the deal before the agreement can be signed.