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Dividing the pie in three

Kakfwi, Morin say a third of revenue would be a "good start"

Yose Cormier
Northern News Services

Yellowknife (July 11/03) - The premier dividing revenue into thirds would be a good start for the NWT and aboriginal governments, but negotiations haven't reached that point yet.

NNSL Photo
Premier Kakfwi

"If the federal government came up with that number that would be a good start, but we don't have a starting position," said NWT premier Stephen Kakfwi from a hotel room in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island.

Kakfwi is in Canada's smallest province for the annual premiers' summit this week.

He addressed his colleagues and asked them for their support on the territory's struggle for a better revenue-sharing deal with Canada.

Don Morin, CEO of the Aboriginal Summit, also thinks if the federal government were to propose a one-third division of revenue, it would be a good start.

"That is a good starting point, but we aren't there yet. There is a lot of research work to be done. I believe that they (negotiators) are talking to Finance Canada through DIAND (Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development)," he said.

"They have had preliminary meetings but actual numbers have not surfaced yet, it's too preliminary."

A framework agreement has been drawn up and aboriginal leaders are sharing the information with their communities to get the public's perspective. Morin said once that is done, he hopes a mandate will be developed.

A copy of that agreement could not be obtained.

Kakfwi meets with Charest

Prior to heading to P.E.I., the NWT premier had the opportunity to meet with Quebec premier Jean Charest.

Kakfwi was impressed by the newly elected premier's knowledge of the NWT and the rest of Canada.

"He is very knowledgeable. He spent nine years of his life travelling all of Canada, North and south, east and west. He made an effort to learn about Canada. One of the unique things about Charest is that he is one of the few Quebec leaders who has a national view," he said. And Kakfwi hopes this view will help the NWT gain a new revenue-sharing deal and create a Canada-wide diamond strategy.

"Quebec is into cutting and polishing and they see a need for a national policy," Kakfwi said.

Diamond show and tell

On Wednesday, the premiers spent the afternoon learning about diamonds.

Chad Snider of Arslanian Cutting Works is in Charlottetown and presented a show-and-tell demonstration.

He showed the premiers the ins-and-outs of diamonds, and the premiers were also able to try their hand at cutting and polishing.

Snider was even featured on the front page of the Charlottetown Guardian.

A diamond from Arslanian will then be auctioned off with the proceeds going to a P.E.I. women's shelter.