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A new chorus for the economy

Governments create business development advisory forum

Derek Neary
Northern News Services

Fort Simpson (Jan 14/02) - A who's who of NWT business will help plan the political future of the territories.

Serving as members of the Economic Development Advisory Forum, the 18 appointees will guide the Intergovernmental Forum on the transfer of federal responsibilities to territorial and aboriginal governments.

The members were appointed jointly by the federal government, the GNWT and the Aboriginal Summit. Along with two yet-to-be-named members, they will sit for a term of three years and meet three to six times per year.

"That is a signal that we are serious about our relationship," Robert Nault, minister of Indian affairs and Northern development, said of the new panel.

The appointed members are: Jack Rowe, Gordon Wray, Kelly Kaylo, Suzette Montreuil, Denny Lennie, Gary Jaebe, Viola Beck, Stephen Prest, Doug Doan, Lorraine Tordiff, Danny Yakeleya, Ernest Firth, Kevin Menicoche, Jeff Phillips, Clay Riddell, Harry Deneron, Lorne Tricoteux and Joe Rabesca.

The announcement came at an Intergovernmental Forum meeting in Fort Simpson last week. The forum also agreed to name negotiating teams, relieving chiefs and cabinet ministers of the task of working out the details of the NWT's political landscape.

The negotiators will report back to the leaders, however, before any agreement is reached.

Thursday's meeting was not a complete success, however.

Despite efforts by members to convince the Deh Cho and Akaitcho First Nations to officially join the forum, both chose to remain observers.

Deh Cho First Nations chief negotiator Chris Reid said the Deh Cho already have federal commitments to negotiate a resource-revenue sharing agreement and 43 self-government subject matters, such as health, education, and taxes.

"There's not even anything really to consider," Reid said of the IGF offer. He called the federal deadline of March 31 a bluff.

"I believe it's just another tactic to try to get you involved in that (the IGF), to scare you," said Reid.

Taking a more defensive tone, Nault said negotiations with the Deh Cho are in the early stages.

He added that the IGF goes beyond the Deh Cho Process.