News Release: Premier McLeod “Red Alert” Statement
Behchokǫ̀, NT (November 7, 2017) –Tłı̨chǫ Government is an Indigenous government and modern-day treaty holder. We are deeply invested in the future of the North, and the success and vitality of our economies, people and communities.
Our treaty—the Tłı̨chǫ Agreement—represents the foundation of how our government and other governments in the North will work together. The Tłı̨chǫ Government, Government of Canada, and Government of the Northwest Territories all agreed in the Tłı̨chǫ Agreement to the recognition of Tłı̨chǫ rights of self-government and jurisdiction. We are committed to working together to advance those rights in a spirit of partnership, respect and collaboration.
The Tłı̨chǫ Agreement recognizes that Tłı̨chǫ Government has the power and responsibility to make decisions about the future of our people. This includes increasingly exercising our jurisdiction over matters such as Tłı̨chǫ citizen’s education, housing, culture and language, among other areas. This includes how programs are designed, run and implemented. Theexercise of this jurisdiction is not “a re-emergence of colonialism” or a return to “a reserve system” but represents decisions that are being made by Tłı̨chǫ, for Tłı̨chǫ, now and into the future.
Tłı̨chǫ Government is working with Canada to breathe life into the promises of the Tłı̨chǫ Agreement that have not yet been fully implemented. We are discussing how to better support and advance our self-government goals to benefit Tłı̨chǫ citizens as we take on increasing responsibility for programs and services for our citizens. On November 1, 2017, we met with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Minister Bennett and Minister Philpott, to discuss implementing these promises in the Tłı̨chǫ Agreement. We have made good progress together—as partners—in those discussions. The Tłı̨chǫ Agreement ensures that not only do we have a seat at the table in those discussions, but that we are a critical and essential voice. This important work needs to be supported by the GNWT.
This spirit of partnership and collaboration infuses the Tłı̨chǫ Agreement. It is up to us—as leaders—to live up to this partnership that is embodied in the Tłı̨chǫ Agreement and work together to advance the constitutional promises that it sets out.
The Tłı̨chǫ Government takes no position on the moratorium on Arctic Oil and Gas exploration, that is a discussion for those parties directly affected by the decision.
However, the Tłı̨chǫ Government is disappointed to hear Premier McLeod’s comments on the Government of Canada’s relationship with, and support for the people of the north. These concerns should be raised and discussed with us, as treaty-partners and neighbouring governments, to discuss a path forward. We have created the forums through our Intergovernmental Agreements for these discussions. The respect that Premier McLeod asks for from the Government of Canada, Tłı̨chǫ Government expects of the Government of the Northwest Territories.
We will be reaching out to Premier McLeod’s office to schedule a meeting. We are hopeful that through respectful and direct discussions between our governments we can identify a path forward that supports and upholds the spirit, intent and promises of the Tłı̨chǫ Agreement and supports the progress we are making, instead of attempting to undermine it.