Public Attitudes Towards Devolution of Powers to the Government of the Northwest Territories SURVEY REPORT EKOS RESEARCH ASSOCIATES INC. March 2013 Outlined below are key findings and conclusions from this study. The survey results are broadly suggestive of a divided populace in the Northwest Territories with big differences in what Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal respondents think about the deal, their degree of support for the character of economic development that is promised by the devolution deal and the need for further public consultation. Smaller divides appear between newer arrivals to the NWT and more established residents. But these differences in perception are outweighed by the very strong public support for some further process of public consultations – nearly three quarters of survey respondents think further consultation is required. Given the recent vote by MLAs in the Legislative Assembly against a plebiscite, this is perhaps the most significant finding of this survey. Also notable is the publics’ perception of the (economic) fairness of the deal – significant numbers of respondents are uncertain whether the NWT is getting a ‘fair deal’ in the re-division of resource revenues and control over lands and waters.
The Government of the Northwest Territories is completing negotiations with Canada to take over management of lands, waters and resources in the NWT. There are major concerns with the terms of the deal itself, and with the lack of Aboriginal Government participation as full partners in the negotiations.
Alternatives North is participating in public activities to promote debate on the devolution agreement, and to improve the quality of resource management that will be developed after the transfer of responsibilities.