Some candidates are fully in support of the 40 percent figure for land protected from development, while others are dead set against it. Then there are those on the fence who either want it as a starting point for discussions and others who will rely on their constituents for further direction after they get elected.
Yes I support the move to remove 40 percent of the territory from development, we need look at new innovative ways to generate positive economic growth in our North.
Yes, I do support it. The Draft Conservation Action Plan provides an approach to conservation planning based on best practices to ensure biodiversity and ecosystem integrity are maintained for current and future generations.
In saying this though, it is imperative that the GNWT work with the business communities and indigenous groups to ensure that the needs of all parties are brought to the table and seriously considered within the finalization of the plan.
Some of the territory should, after going through the processes set up to determine protections (such as Protected Areas, national parks negotiations, etc) should be given permanent protections. I cannot give you a yes or no question on this one – it is an issue that deserves careful and thoughtful consideration.
I do not support the concept of arbitrarily excluding 40% of the territory from development. Each development project needs to be assessed individually to determine whether or not any potential adverse effects outweigh the benefits.
Protecting and preserving the environment is important to me, however in the interests of not only the environment but in advancing Indigenous interests and the interests of the Territory as a whole I believe whats more important is settling the two outstanding land claims. Once the claims are honoured we can work as a collective on the matter of preservation and how it will best suit the interests of all stakeholders. We all recognize that our resource based economy needs to be supported in order to protect and sustain our quality of life. Settling the land claims will bring certainty to not only protection of the environment but also to the future of our economy.
No. However a sensible balance is the key to successes, such as:
1st: This is an opening position for discussion.
2nd: We must balance northern values.
3rd: We must work with land claim partners and their vision.
4th: With our main industry, outside of government, still mining we must find a respectful balance that works for everyone. That doesn’t mean every corner is open to be drilled, however we cannot forget that mining of the old days is nowhere near the same as it’s being done today. Today, mining is very concerned about environment stewardship and safety for all.
I have a number of reservations. First, some of the land is under treaty negotiation and I don't believe the GNWT has the right to make long-term decisions affecting lands that are the subject of land claim negotiations. Second, I believe that we should have a territory-wide regulatory framework that balances adequate environmental protection with the flexibility to assess each case individually. Last but certainly not least, I believe there needs to be a broader discussion about how the GNWT is going to resolve its financial challenges before making a significant amount of land unavailable for any form of resource development.
Frederick Blake Jr.
As you may know here in the N.W.T there are not very many job opportunities especially in the smaller communities with 35% employment rate, I believe with proper consultation many communities would support development. The direction I get from my constituents is what I will use as my mandate.
This is not a decision we can take without speaking with those who would be affected. We need to consult with the various people, Aboriginal groups, businesses and industries who would be impacted. Only after consultation can we get a better idea of whether this would be in the best interest of our territory.
At this point in time, I think it is premature to set a limit to exploration. Resource development is an essential piece of the development matrix of the north. However, in saying this, we need to work with the Land Claim groups to do things correctly especially when it come to respecting the land and water.
No. I believe we need to find a reasonable balance between land conservation and economic development. This could not only provide a source of revenues to fund environmental, social, health and community needs including necessary infrastructure requirements; but, also generate jobs. Based on open consultation with key stakeholders and a proper risk assessment framework, protected areas should be prioritized in adjunct to identifying areas to which industry can work to improve the economy.
I have troubles with 40 per cent. I know we want protected areas from development but we still need development in our territory. Our fiscal position is pressuring us to look at more resource development. We need a good responsible regulations to protect our territory.
The NWT needs to diversify its economy to include more activities that are based on renewable resources such as tourism, the arts, agricultural production, fisheries and renewable energy. Protecting 40 per cent of the NWT will support these types of activities and encourage development of these sectors of our economy and ensure that the ecological integrity of the NWT is maintained. Protecting 40 per cent of our land area still leaves more than 700,000 square kilometres for other uses including non-renewable resource development.
We all want to protect the land. At the same time, we need to be careful because we need responsible development to provide jobs and help drive the economy. Communities may also want to open land later. I heard of a community that supported a park. They later wanted to blaze a trail through the park for better access but were not allowed to. I would rather implement the GNWT’s Conservation Areas Action Plan. Or perhaps implement a moratorium with a set review date, in something like 20 to 25 years from now.
I believe the land is a tremendous resource for clean water, pristine
landscape and home to many wildlife across the territory. I fully
support a designated area to be permanently off limits for any
development. There should be protected areas that anyone can visit and
experience the very best northern Canada has to offer. The territorial
government should be supporting the preservation of our nature.
We need land use planning in all regions for each regions to find out what they want.
Ethel Jean Gruben
Thank you for your request for information. I am currently visiting the voters and in my communities riding discussing issues that matter most to them and are very important to them and will not be responding to your request at this time.
I will be available at a later date.
No, I do not support exclusion of 40 percent of the territory from development.
No I don't as the question oversimplifies a complex issue. There is destructive resource extraction, and there is resource development. I would like Northerners to develop Northern resources.
Since 1999, the Protected Area Strategy Steering Committee has made great progress in identifying areas requiring protection. I believe this is a dynamic and ongoing process. As an MLA, I will support all continuing initiatives that seek to acquire knowledge about the presence and extent of geological, historical and cultural resources.
I don’t believe we yet have the full knowledge base to establish a specific target for withdrawing areas from future development, but as research continues we will be able to identify further areas for conversation.
I will give a high priority to the development of comprehensive regional and community land use plans and the strengthening of the consultative processes to ensure all interests are respected.
The land that has been selected by the regions' indigenous governments have been sacred to them for centuries before the invention of the drill. To go against their wishes is an unwillingness to work together, and will actually show the sheer greed that they are up against. They want to preserve the land and the water so that they can hunt/fish/do cultural activities/eco tourism, they want the wildlife to have a place to live and thrive as well. To go against their wishes will be to go against their long term vision of their lands and I will not support that.
I don't believe in adding my voice to any of the issues at this time until after the elections are held. Thank you.
No, we have to have firm knowledge of the economic potential of areas before locking it up.
I do not support the current conservation strategy and if elected would scrap the draft plan and return to consultations with industry, aboriginal governments, members of the public and non-government organizations on the best way forward for conservation in the NWT. Excluding 40 per cent of our land dramatically limits our potential for natural resource exploration, clean energy projects and sustainable agriculture and harvesting activities. The draft plan was, like so many government initiatives, developed in secret and Northerners have a right to be at the table for such a dramatic proposal that has serious consequences for our future economic and social development.
I do support setting aside areas to be protected for future generations in our vast and pristine North. I cannot say if that should be 40 per cent of the territory.
I respect regional land use plans based on traditional Indigenous and Dene values. I support responsible land stewardship by working together. I support more decision making power at the community and regional levels. If that is through modern Treaty making processes or protected area strategies and that is the will of the people, then I will be a strong voice to help make that happen.
I support that areas in the NWT have to be left alone with zero industrial development.
I believe in and am supportive of our First Nations, who are the primary users of the land. They are ensuring that our environmental and culturally sensitive lands are being protected already, up to 40 per cent in each First Nation region.
Absolutely. We believe that our ability to survive as a human species is to protect the land and the waters and as we protect and respect those, so the earth will respect us. The typical approach of the past has been to conquer and mistreat the land... but the earth is our mother. If we continue to disrespect and contaminate her, she will shut us down. One of the greatest human fallacies is thinking that we can conquer and control mother earth... this is simply not true. If we do not take immediate measures to protect and heal her, she will have the final say, one way or the other. And that could very well include the elimination of the human race. This is also not to say that we are opposed to development, that is not true. We are for healthy, sustainable, clean development that respects all life forms. We exist BECAUSE of nature, not vice versa. We need to keep this in mind in future development anywhere in the North.
At the current moment, I would support more discussions and consultations with the Aboriginal groups and governments moving forward, as well as those groups who have yet to sign land claim agreements.
I don’t. To be fair, the draft Conservation Areas Action Plan proposed to exclude 20 per cent of the territory from development permanently, and set aside another 20 per cent with less restrictive protection.
Even so, we need to take this draft plan back to be better explained. As drafted, it lacks answers to several important questions. For example: What types of development are allowed in areas with less restrictive protection? How does this draft plan link to the decade-long, community-driven work on the Protected Areas Strategy? Let’s sit down with all stakeholders, and get this done properly.
I definitely support the idea of setting aside a large portion of this beautiful country from development permantly. The amount of 40 per cent is a good number to start at. There are areas of the NWT especially here in Nahendeh that have so much beauty and serenity, especially in the mountains that definitely need to be preserved for future generations to enjoy. To see some of these very remote areas developed would be absolutely immoral and without thought for those to come.
I don’t support this concept. Firstly, Canada’s commitment internationally is for 17 per cent of the national land mass to be designated as conservation areas. Why would we lock down 40 per cent? How will less use of the land benefit traditional economies and our peoples? Secondly, we are a resource-based economy and struggling to attract investment and grow jobs. Access to the land is vital to exploration companies. The NWT continuously ranks high in its geological potential and loses out on investment because of such factors as unsettled land claims and uncertainty over land access. We need to take a more balanced approach. Excluding land outright deprives our NWT residents of the opportunity to make these decisions about their future.
No. I believe that each region should develop a land use plan that would truly reflect the wishes of the residents of the Northwest Territories.
As a Dene individual and member of the Lutsel K'e Dene First Nation, an architect, environmental scientist, and LEED accredited professional, I very much support environmental regulation and minimizing our impact to our land. However, 40 per cent sounds like an arbitrary number. We need some development for the betterment of our people, but we need to be very careful how we do that, and minimize risk at all times. Also, we need to ensure the caribou herds have the ability to the recover, as this is the lifeline of the Dene culture and the North. As such, we need to be very selective about the lands that we develop.
It is unclear what the minister was trying to achieve by this announcement. When pressed for clarification he said only 20 per cent would be shut off to companies and the other 20 per cent may have some limitations. At best poor communication and a distraction from his intent of growing our economy and mischief making with industry. This coming from the same government trying to encourage investment in exploration in an economy which has flatlined.
Presently approximately 9 per cent of the territories is protected which is close to the national average of 10.4 per cent. So, am I in favour of excluding 40 per cent of the territory from development – No.
I am very supportive of a well thought out land conservation, protection, and management framework and of the preserving of cultural values. However, we need to make sure that goals and objectives in strengthening our territory's economy and the encouraging of sound and balanced conservation-based economic development are not hampered with bold unilateral announcements from cabinet members. Consultation and proper balance is what’s needed.
Northerners want a balance between conservation and opportunities for economic development. The GNWT draft action plan strengthens the conservation side in this equation to ensure ecosystems remain intact. These wild places are important for trapping, hunting, harvesting wood and food, and sharing with tourists. All of these activities have economic benefits for people who often experience high unemployment in the industrialized economy. The plan states that new areas will be assessed for their mineral, oil and gas resource values in order to avoid areas of high potential. The hoped-for end result is certainty for both communities and industry about where future economic development will take place.
I support the concept of excluding designated ecosystems from permanent development. These areas would have been identified through community consultation and encompassed in a comprehensive regional land use planning process that cumulatively would be of a designated percentage - be that 40 per cent or a smaller or larger percentage. Protected does not necessarily mean total exclusion as I also support the management of development models where protected areas that hold potential development options may proceed if the community gives its permission and is part of the operation oversight and remediation process after the development is completed.
I do not support excluding 40 per cent of the territory from development. I do however agree to some exclusions.