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N.W.T. Premier Bob McLeod says he’s encouraged by developments in the relationship between the federal government and the Northwest Territories. (Bill Braden/Canadian Press) Northwest Territories Premier Bob McLeod says last year’s "red alert" statement against what he called a "re-emergence of colonialism" from Ottawa in the North has been successful.

Last November, McLeod criticized the federal government for what he said was a unilateral decision to put a five-year moratorium on oil and gas development in the Beaufort Sea. It took the form of a letter he called a "red alert."

In it, he wrote that "the dreams of Northerners are dying" and called for an urgent national debate on the future of the Northwest Territories.

Wednesday, the Hill Times published a piece by McLeod where he wrote he’s encouraged by developments in the relationship between Ottawa and the territorial government since then.

"A year on, I am pleased to say that Canada has responded positively to my call for attention to the North."​

A recent federal announcement that the territory and the Inuvialuit would partner on a review of the Beaufort drilling, was the most welcome change, he said.

The Hill Times is an Ottawa-based newspaper focused on federal politics and many of its readers are connected with Parliament Hill.

Watch McLeod discuss his ‘red alert’ with Power and Politics last year

"It’s something we should have been doing three years ago," McLeod told CBC News Thursday.

"I took a tough stand a year ago and things have improved significantly," he said. "I thought it was only fair to put it out there. I think we’re working very good with the federal government at this point."

McLeod also applauded the government for appointing Dominic LeBlanc as minister of intergovernmental affairs, northern affairs, and internal trade calling it an "excellent first step."

"The first day he was appointed … the next day he was meeting with us," McLeod said. McLeod also applauded the government for appointing Dominic Leblanc as minister of intergovernmental affairs, northern affairs, and internal trade calling it an “excellent first step.” (CBC) But despite his praise, McLeod reminded Ottawa that there’s more work to be done.

He called for a financial boost in support of development in the Slave Geological Province and more financial backing for the expansion of the Taltson hydroelectric facility. About the Author

Hilary Bird is a senior reporter with CBC North in Yellowknife. She has been reporting on Indigenous issues and politics for almost a decade and has won several national awards for her work. Hilary can be reached at hilary.bird@cbc.ca

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