NNSL Photo/Graphic

Canadian North

Home page text size buttonsbigger textsmall textText size Email this articleE-mail this page

Dehcho wants voice on Wildlife Act
First Nation asks for committee's cancelled public hearings to be rescheduled

Roxanna Thompson
Northern News Services
Published Monday, May 20, 2013

The Dehcho First Nations (DFN) is calling for public meetings in the Deh Cho on the proposed Wildlife Act to be rescheduled.

DFN was informed by a fax late on May 13 that the Standing Committee on Economic Development and Infrastructure had cancelled the public meeting on the new Wildlife Act that was scheduled for later that day in Fort Simpson.

The meetings in Nahanni Butte on May 14, Fort Providence on May 15 and Behchoko on May 16 were also cancelled.

The committee didn't make a courtesy call about the cancellations, said DFN Grand Chief Herb Norwegian.

The meetings need to be rescheduled so people in the Deh Cho can raise their concerns about the act, Norwegian said. The act could alter the lives of harvesters, he said.

"We were going to have a good discussion I thought here in Simpson," he said.

DFN also has a number of concerns about the new act.

The act will affect wildlife management and harvesting in the territory, issues that are at the heart of Dehcho Dene aboriginal

and treaty rights, he said.

Among other things, DFN wants to ensure the act complies with the Dehcho Land Use Plan.

Yellowknife Centre MLA Robert Hawkins, the chair of the Standing Committee on Economic Development and Infrastructure, said he fully anticipates the community meetings will be rescheduled.

The committee, however, will make the final decision about rescheduling, he said.

The four meetings were cancelled because four of the six committee members, Frederick Blake, Robert Bouchard, Bob Bromley and Michael Nadli, were unable to travel as a result of health and other reasons.

The committee's three alternative members were also fully booked with other engagements.

With only himself and Kevin Menicoche available, the committee decided not to travel without a quorum, Hawkins said.

"It was certainly unavoidable," he said.

"There was no disrespect intended by any means."

The committee doesn't have to give its review of the act to the legislative assembly until October, which means there is more than ample

time for the committee to return to the Deh Cho, Hawkins said.

Including the Deh Cho stops, the committee is scheduled to visit 12 communities throughout the territory.

Members of the public can provide written submissions to the committee by June 14.

"We've been receiving a fair bit of feedback," Hawkins said.

E-mailWe welcome your opinions. Click here to e-mail a letter to the editor.