Kakfwi, a former Northwest Territories premier and now chief
negotiator for the Sahtu, has been adamant that a C$7 billion
pipeline will not be allowed to cross aboriginal land and
“face the prospect we will be as poor as we are today.”
He said access to pipeline tax revenues would meet with unanimous
approval from the aboriginal leaders.
Kakfwi said aboriginal communities are properly constituted
governments who need revenue, not federal hand-outs, for their
“We are landowners and as landowners we also expect
revenue,” he said.
The first step in that direction needs a decision by the Canadian
government to devolve powers to the Northwest Territories
government — a goal Prime Minister Paul Martin has promised
to put in place by 2006.
Deputy PM Anne McLellan and Premier Joe Handley said they
had made progress on that front as well on May 10, reporting
that a draft revenue-sharing agreement is imminent that would
allow the Northwest Territories to keep more of the money
from development of its resources.
Currently the Northwest Territories keeps only 4 percent;
Handley wants that figure to grow ten-fold.
“No jurisdiction would agree to the extraction of its
non-renewable resources for 4 cents on the dollar,”
“It’s very expensive to do business in the north.
We’ve got a very primitive infrastructure.”
McLellan committed to an agreement-in-principle by next month,
without disclosing how much the Northwest Territories could
She also said there would be a delay between an agreement-in-principle
and a final pact, which Handley hopes will be reached some
time in 2006.