Bill 1 (Reindeer Act): Premier’s opening remarks in Committee of the Whole

Thank you for the opportunity to speak to the Bill 1, the Reindeer Act. The passage of this legislation is an important step towards implementing the Northwest Territories Lands and  Resources Devolution Agreement.

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources will administer the Government of the Northwest Territories’ new authorities under the Reindeer Act.

Under the Devolution Agreement, the GNWT is committed to “substantially mirror” Canada’s statutes and regulations that are being repealed or made inapplicable to all land, except federally retained land, transferring to the GNWT through devolution.

The mirroring exercise means that the new GNWT laws will address the same matters,
in substantially the same way, as federal laws do now. Mirroring principles limited changes to addressing issues such as outdated language and applying GNWT drafting standards.

Mirrored legislation is a practical first step to ensure a continued delivery of services on April 1, 2014. Mirrored legislation also ensures that there are no legislative gaps or overlaps between the GNWT and Canada.

The parties to the Devolution Agreement entered into a Protocol for Review of Devolution Legislation Agreement. Under this protocol, all parties have had the opportunity to review and comment on this legislation before it was introduced in the Legislative Assembly. We have considered these comments carefully in the preparation of the bill before you.

The Reindeer Act will provide the Government of the Northwest Territories with the authority to make regulations governing the management and protection of reindeer.

The bill also provides the GNWT with the authority to enter into agreements for herding of reindeer.

I would be pleased to answer any questions Members may have. Thank you.