Harper's office confirmed Sunday that he will be present at the event, to be held at the territorial legislature.
The deal, which has been a top agenda item for territorial premiers stretching back two decades, will put control over northern resources in the hands of northerners for the first time. It will also give them a big chunk of the royalties those resources produce, money that will also be shared with the N.W.T.'s aboriginal governments.
But Harper and N.W.T. Premier Bob McLeod won't be signing its final version. Monday's text is only the final draft reached by negotiators.
The deal will then go out for public consultation.
"The public will have unprecedented opportunities to have public engagement on this deal," McLeod promised the territorial legislature last week.
McLeod has also promised MLAs will have a voice on the deal. Backbench members of the legislature, who function as a kind of opposition in the N.W.T.'s non-party system of consensus government, have complained that the talks have been consistently conducted behind closed doors.
"It’s been 40 years and the public has had very little participation," MLA Bob Bromley complained in the legislature on Thursday.
It's not clear how much scope northerners and their elected representatives will have to affect any changes in the text to be signed Monday. Nor is it clear how those consultations will be carried out, or how the legislature will be involved.
Steve Kakfwi, a conservation advocate and former territorial premier, said he's concerned the agreement may not have strong enough measures for local people to protect areas that are important to them — especially after the Harper government rolled regional regulatory boards into one central body.
"It's the (territorial) officials that are the least supportive of what the First Nations are trying to achieve," he said.
Devolution is expected to come into force on April 1, 2014.
Under the agreement in principle, the N.W.T. would keep half its resource royalties without losing federal transfers, up to a total of five per cent of its total budget expenditures.
The territory is expected to reap about $65 million a year from those royalties. About 18 per cent of that will be transferred to the five aboriginal governments who have signed on.
The deal also transfers control over those royalties to Yellowknife from the federal government.
The feds will send another $65 million to the territory to compensate it for the cost of those responsibilities, including the salaries of federal bureaucrats who will now work for the N.W.T.
The agreement was originally reached in October 2010. When then-premier Floyd Roland and then Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Minister John Duncan signed it about four months later, only three of the N.W.T.'s seven major aboriginal groups supported it.
Five of the N.W.T.'s seven major groups have now signed on.
Of the three northern territories, only the Yukon controls its own resources. Negotiations with Nunavut have begun, but have a long way to go.
— By Bob Weber in Edmonton
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