Arctic Yearbook 2015 - Page 128

128 Arctic Yearbook 2015 Nunavut Inuit (Nunatsiaq News 2013), although the Nunavut amendments had no impacts on board powers, which are in fact limited to making recommendations to the Minister. Conclusion The effort to simplify the regulatory process in the North can be seen as a way to improve decision making, as claimed by the federal government, a view supported by the NWT, Yukon, and Nunavut governments as well. There is, however, a different way of interpreting this reform. As mentioned in the introduction, land claim agreements have been a means for Aboriginal people to regain control over their ancestral lands. In addition, the creation of local boards had been a clear illustration of the subsidiarity principle. The federal government, through its action plan, has unilaterally watered down this principle in the NWT by merging the land and water boards into a super board. Although Yukon has been less impacted, the YESAB has similarly seen its powers curtailed by Bill S-6. Only Nunavut has been spared, but, as mentioned earlier, none of the boards in charge of reviewing and regulating resource development have decision-making powers. These changes also show that the federal government feels it has to control the multilevel governance that has resulted from land claims, even at the cost of litigation. It will be interesting to see the outcome of the Tlicho case, which will determine whether the federal government can unilaterally amend land claim agreements. The decision, if favourable to land claim organizations, could be a game changer and entrench the subsidiarity principle that the land claim and self-government process has established. If, however, the federal government wins the case, Aboriginal self-government will, like the devolution process, become more controlled, thus entrenching the federal government’s dominance in the MLG process. The federal government’s agenda is also open to question. In recent years, there has been a clear trend, at the federal level, toward trying to facilitate approval of development projects in Canada. For example, changes were made to the Fisheries Act to eliminate the need to consider fish habitats in development projects. This might seem like a trivial change but, in fact, Fisheries and Oceans Canada has often invoked protection of fish habitats to challenge development projects (Olszynski & Grigg 2015). The same reasoning lies behind the effort to streamline decision-making processes in Yukon, the NWT, and Nunavut. Furthermore, the need to streamline has been used as an argument in the NWT even though, as seen earlier, the Mackenzie pipeline