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NWT Chamber approves of territorial devolution
Membership supports Bill C-15, says executive director

Daron Letts
Northern News Services
Published Wednesday, January 22, 2014

The House of Commons Standing Committee on Bill C-15, The NWT Devolution Act, is scheduled to hold a day-long public meeting in Yellowknife on Monday.

The one-day public hearing will be held from 8:30 a.m. until 6 p.m. at the Explorer Hotel. Residents are invited to attend the meeting, at which 25 invited witnesses are to make presentations to the committee.

Kathy Gray, president of the NWT Chamber of Commerce, and executive director Mike Bradshaw are slated to address the committee in the afternoon as part of a panel with Tom Hoefer, NWT and Nunavut Chamber of Mines executive director, and Mary Lou Cherwaty, president of the Northern Territories Federation of Labour.

"Our intention is to help shape effective regulations related to the act that, ultimately, will encourage investment," Bradshaw said.

"This is the most significant reform, probably, in the history of the Northwest Territories.

"The transfer of land and water authorities certainly is significant unto itself, but the opportunity to pursue regulatory reform in order to ensure that we're not standing dead last in the minds of resource development investors is a very significant opportunity to correct things moving forward and we intend to pursue it as vigorously as possible."

After consulting with members throughout the territory, the chamber resolves to support the legislation as a whole, including supporting the creation of a single regulatory board for the entire territory.

Devolution takes effect on April 1. The process includes the transfer of land and water authorities to the GNWT, along with regulatory reforms, including the elimination of regional land and water boards.

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