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DIAND cuts GNWT loose

Nault not interested in funding territorial government

Jorge Barrera
Northern News Services

Yellowknife (Apr 05/02) - The territorial government can't keep looking to the Department of Indian and Northern Affairs for money, said the department's minister.

NNSL Photo

At a press conference Wednesday, DIAND Minister Robert Nault said the territorial government should look somewhere else for money to pay for infrastructure development. - Jorge Barrera/NNSL photo

"The department is mainly for aboriginal groups," said Robert Nault during a press conference Wednesday.

Nault announced $1.1 million in funding for the Inuvialuit Regional Corporation in their purchase of a $22.6 million drilling rig.

He said the territorial government should approach other federal departments for funds for its projects.

Territorial Finance Minister Joe Handley was not surprised by Nault's comments.

Handley said Nault sheds his responsibility to the territorial government when its convenient.

"(Nault) has said he is responsible for everything North of 60," said Handley in a telephone interview from Calgary.

"He doesn't share that definition when its convenient."

Handley said the territorial government is looking to other departments for funds to bolster the territory's ailing infrastructure.

Still, Handley said Nault should not forget that Northern development is part of his department's portfolio.

"It's the other piece," said Handley.

He wants the federal government to distribute its funding more equally between aboriginal and territorial government interests.

"Nault's taken a lot of DIAND money and put into the aboriginal development fund," said Handley.

"All federal programs should apply equally like it happens south of 60.

"We shouldn't be in some other bracket," said Handley.

Handley was in Calgary to explore energy alternatives and spoke with wind power and micro-turbine industry people.