Northwest Territories to “devolve” relations with Ottawa

In what Prime Minister Stephen Harper called a “historic” agreement,

“Negotiators have reached a consensus on the terms of a final devolution agreement,” Harper said.

The final agreement, as it stands, gives the Northwest Territories more control over its natural resources — it stands to get half the money collected from oil, minerals and diamonds. Based on last year’s numbers, that would have added about $69 million to the territory’s budget.

Five of the territory’s seven aboriginal groups signed a consensus document, including Nellie Cournoyea, a former N.W.T. premier and the current chair of the Inuvialuit Regional Corporation.

“Being part of the agreement, then we’re able to ensure we can work together with what we received in our land claims agreement. So it gives us a parity with the territorial government,” she said.