Dehcho Process – Meeting with Premier Bob McLeod
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On February 22nd, Dehcho Grand Chief Herb Norwegian and myself met with NWT Premier Bob McLeod for an official introduction.
The delegates at the Strategic and Tactical Planning Workshop in Fort Simpson earlier in February felt that such an introduction would be a good idea. No negotiation took place in the meeting, rather just a good general discussion and meet and greet.
All decisions about the Dehcho Process come from beneficiaries at the Annual Assembly. From time to time throughout the year, in workshops and leadership meetings minor adjustments to the negotiating process may be made. However, it is clear to all involved that it is the people of the Dehcho, in Assembly, who are in charge of the Dehcho Process.
In addition to the introduction, the Grand Chief asked the Premier about his commitment during the recent Territorial election in regards to a new GNWT offer to the Dehcho. The Premier did acknowledge that the government’s new offer would be out within a short time. Mr. Gary Bohnet, Principal Secretary who was in the meeting confirmed that this was being developed.
There was then some general discussion about how Prime Minister Trudeau is interested in addressing many issues relating to Aboriginal people in the country. It was agreed that Mr. Trudeau had a good helper in his caucus on the Dehcho Process in that our MP, Michael McLeod, is from the Dehcho.
The Grand Chief was able to tell a couple of personal anecdotes about work he has done in the past with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, including the expansion of Nahanni National Park and on water issues. Herb told us about how a few years ago he drove Margaret Trudeau around Fort Simpson for a tour of the community, and she told him that she had worked on the issue of access to clean and potable water in remote parts of Africa. It is, as is often said, a small world indeed.