Yellowknife, NWT – History has been made today in the Northwest Territories.

Devolution has finally taken full effect.

That means the NWT now has province-like powers over its land, water and resources.

Federal Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Bernard Valcourt oversees devolution for the Harper Government.

We asked him what he’d say to those aboriginal groups that are threatening legal action over devolution.

“The genius of this great country of ours is that the rule of law prevails. Unfortunately for those who believe that some of their rights may have been infringed upon, we have a legal recourse which they are absolutely free to follow. I would encourage them to really look at the potential for the future and what this means when we work together in partnership.”

Minister of Municipal and Community Affairs Robert C. McLeod adds Lands Minister to his title today, a department created through devolution to oversee mining and resource development on land previously controlled by the Feds.

“If you think about it it’s really part of history here and I’m pleased to be a part of it and there’s a lot of work. You hear many of the stories of the work that’s gone on the last 40 years and to see it finally happen is huge for all those involved. It’s going to be a challenge but we’re looking forward to it.”

McLeod says the new department will have about 140 employees, about 90 of whom came over from the Federal Government with devolution.

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