New gov't rep to offer 'objective advice' on Dehcho land claim talks, says premier
A new set of eyes will be brought in to help finalize negotiations on a land claim with the Northwest Territories' Dehcho First Nations.
The territorial and federal governments will appoint a ministerial special representative, according to Premier Bob McLeod.
That person's task? To sit down with each of the First Nations, Métis nations and Dene bands in the Dehcho region, talk about their views and relay those views to McLeod and Carolyn Bennett, the federal minister of Indigenous and Northern Affairs.
The goal is to offer "independent, objective advice...on how close we might be to an agreement-in-principle and what the key elements of that AIP might be," said McLeod in a speech Monday at the Dehcho First Nations' annual general assembly in Jean Marie River.
The representative has not been chosen yet.
The territorial government wants to settle outstanding land claims within the next four years.
In December, when McLeod answered questions from other MLAs following his speech on why he should be premier again, he said he was willing to offer the Dehcho First Nations a new land claim deal within 90 days.
That did not happen.
In both his December comments and in his more recent speech at Monday's assembly, McLeod said the style of negotiations needs to be changed first.
"We've gotten as far as we can get with the old approach and I don't believe that a new offer based on that approach is what we need to get us over the finish line," he said Monday.