Statement made on 07 May 2009 by Senator Willie Adams (retired)
Hon. Willie Adams:
We have been waiting for this bill for so many years. We settled the land claim agreement in Nunavut, but we did not get very much water with the land. We have a 12-mile limit from the shore. This bill will change the 100-mile limit to a 200-mile limit between Greenland and the border.
When we signed the agreement, the government of the day, in the agreement with the Department of Indian and Northern Affairs, did not improve anything for the future of oil and gas in Nunavut. That part about owning oil and gas in the future, even on some of the islands was not resolved.
If this bill passes, will the government say that the people living up there for thousands of years should own the oil and gas and anything found in the Arctic? We are Canadians, and sometimes it is difficult for those of us who have been there long before anyone else, to deal with people who have never been there before, who are leasing the land and the water. We are not getting anything for those leases, now that the government has found diamonds, gold and ore on our land.
The Government of Nunavut should say that it has up to 100 miles and up to 200 miles, and any oil taken out of our water should be part of our future. I hope we will amend this bill in a way that the government will agree with us.
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