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September, 2012

GNWT@45: Government Arrives in Yellowknife September 18, 1967

Editor’s note: To mark the forty-fifth anniversary of “home rule” in the Northwest Territories, Northern Public Affairs presents a series on the transfer of administrative control from Ottawa to Yellowknife in 1967.
 
The Government of the Northwest Territories landed to great fanfare in Yellowknife on September 18, 1967. Arriving on two chartered D7s – one loaded with public servants, the other with thirty tonnes of books and documents – the new government was greeted with a red carpet, 1000 well-wishers, and greetings from NWT Commissioner Stuart M. Hodgson. “At last,” he proclaimed, “we are home!”
 
The arrival of the GNWT in Yellowknife followed several years of political deliberation and negotiation. Central to this debate was the Advisory Commission on the Development of Government in the Northwest Territories, commonly known as the Carrothers Commission. It was chaired by A.W.R. Carrothers, Dean of the Faculty of Law, University of Western Ontario. He was joined on the Commission by Jean Beetz, a Montreal lawyer and future justice of the Supreme Court of Canada; and John H. Parker, mayor of Yellowknife and future Commissioner of the Northwest Territories.
 
The Commission set out to do something that had never been done before in Northern Canada: listen to the views of as many Northerners as possible, in their own communities. Over the course of 1965-1966, the Commission held hearings from Akalvik to Fort Smith, and Yellowknife to Frobisher Bay. It accepted submissions from across Canada, asking both northern and southern Canadians their opinions on the shape and structure of the Government of the Northwest Territories, the location of the capital, and whether the Mackenzie District should be divided from the Keewatin and Franklin districts (now Nunavut).
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LETTERS: Speca responds to Greenpeace

Anthony Speca writes that a recent letter from Greenpeace Canada only strengthens the impression that Greenpeace’s vision for the Arctic does not include the states and peoples who already govern and occupy the region
 
September 3, 2012
 
Dear Mr. Creimer,
 
Thank you very much for your letter responding to my column on Greenpeace International’s “Save the Arctic” campaign.  I certainly appreciate Greenpeace’s willingness to debate the goals and merits of its campaign in general, and my criticisms of it in particular.
 
In my column, I criticized Greenpeace for taking an uncompromising stand against economic development in the Arctic, and an uncooperative approach toward Arctic states and Indigenous peoples.  I took issue with your campaign’s appeal to the international community to govern the Arctic in their stead, through a new and externally-imposed global treaty that would put a large portion of the Arctic off-limits to industrial activity, especially offshore oil exploration and commercial fishing.
 
So I was encouraged to read in your letter that Greenpeace is in fact committed to dialogue and cooperation with Arctic states and peoples.  I was heartened by your assurance that Greenpeace’s campaign is “in many ways the beginning of a conversation that includes all the peoples of the Arctic,” and that Greenpeace recognizes that it must affirm the special rights of Arctic Indigenous peoples to develop and benefit from their lands, waters and resources.
 
At the same time, I was discouraged by much of the rest of your letter. Read more →