YK Policy Group Opposes New Federal Land Bill
Yellowknife, NWT. - The federal government's proposed Bill C-47 gives them too much power when it comes to land rights and development.
So said volunteer Kevin O'Reilly of the Yellowknife-based policy group, Alternatives North.
He was commentating after making a presentation last week to the Surface Rights Board, which was meeting in Yellowknife.
O'Reilly said the bill would give all the clout to the Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development.
"The minister would actually appoint all of the members of the board, and we don't think that that's consistent with the model that's put forward in other parts of the land claims agreement where the aboriginal governments get to nominate or appoint half of the board members, and then the federal and territorial governments appoint the other half."
O'Reilly said it the government wants to avoid land claim disputes it's important to bring all the stakeholders to the table.
"We just think it's too much control and discretion in the hands of the minister. We don't think that's appropriate. It's not clear this board would actually ever hear any disputes because there haven't been any that have cropped up so far in the last 10 or more years for the Gwich'in, the Inuvialuit, and the Sahtu regions, where claims have already been settled."
O'Reilly said Alternatives North believes the feds have given too much say to industry and not enough to First Nations groups, environmental groups and others.
Although similar, Bill C-47 is separate from Bill-C-45, which is the one that has fueled the Idle No More movement.
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