The Constitution of the Northwest Territories
Following a review of the constitutional history of the Northwest Territories and a summary of relevant legislation, past and present, Chapter Two contains an examination of the status of the Government of the Northwest Territories, concluding that it is a government in the true sense and not simply an agency of the Federal Government. It has powers similar to those exercised by the Provincial Governments but differs from them in its lack of responsible government and its continuing legal and practical domination by the Federal Government.
Some examination is made of the forces promoting change in the constitutional structure and status of the Territories. The two dominant forces examined are the existence of major non-renewable resources, particularly hydrocarbons, and the pressure for settlement of native land claims and native self-determination. An examination of the current law concerning control of natural resources and Federal Government policy statements indicates that the Federal Government has, and will endeavor to retain, virtually complete control over all non-renewable resources with a significant economic impact or national demand.
A general review of some of the proposals for the settlement of native claims leads to the conclusion that the claims will be settled in the same manner as previous claims by native people in Canada but will be coupled with changes in the governmental structures of the Territories, consistent with Canadian political traditions, designed to promote and guarantee the involvement of native people in government.
It is concluded that, for the most part, the constitution of the Northwest Territories will continue to evolve towards responsible government and full participation by the Territories as a member of the Confederation. That evolution will follow a pattern similar to that established by the development of the prairie provinces with the only significant differences being found in the role of native people in the political life of the community and the strengthened determination of the Federal Government to retain control of non-renewable resources for an indefinite period.
School:University of Saskatchewan
School Location:Canada - Saskatchewan
Source Type:Master's Thesis
Keywords:native claims constitutional law northwest territories
Date of Publication:07/15/2008