- The Northwest Territories government will accept public comments on the Statement of Environmental Values until February 15, 2022.
- After Ontario, the Northwest Territories government intends to become the second jurisdiction in Canada to incorporate a Statement of Environmental Values into government decision-making.
The statement, mandated by the 2019 adjustments to the Environmental Rights Act, will require that all decisions that may substantially impact the environment be evaluated against a set of seven principles.
They include avoiding environmental damage, repairing it at your own expense if you have already harmed it, protecting ecosystems and biological diversity, and ensuring a safe environment for future generations.
The three other principles are that everyone in the territory should share equally in the benefits and burdens, that development should not occur unless it meets the needs of future generations and current ones. The relationship between Indigenous peoples’ rights and the territorial government’s commitment to implementing the United Nations Declaration of Indigenous Peoples’ rights should be acknowledged.
Thompson stated that the “all-encompassing” values statement would assist the government in balancing environmental concerns with the development of industry in the Northwest Territories.
“We’re not against development,” he clarified. “We want to be able to develop industry, but we must do it correctly. We must also ensure that the environment is protected. And we don’t want development that will have an impact on future generations.”
Thompson stated that the government is “very sincere” about following through on the framework’s promises once it is put in place. “If we weren’t sincere about it, we wouldn’t spend all the time and money that we need to do it right, including the consultation process that we’re doing right now,” he said.
Thompson also encouraged people to provide feedback on the framework so that the government can make changes before the final version is implemented in 2022.
“We make good policies, procedures, and acts as a group,” Thompson said. “It’s critical that residents of the Northwest Territories provide feedback, even if they’re sceptical.”
Source: C.B.C. News
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