Québec, December 5, 2007 – The Government of Québec, the Government of Canada and Makivik Corporation have taken an unprecedented step by signing the agreement-in-principle on the creation of the Nunavik Regional Government. Giving tangible form to Inuit aspirations, the agreement-in-principle marks a move towards the assumption of greater responsibility by the Inuit communities. This agreement-in-principle builds on the James Bay and Northern Québec Agreement.
The first step of a broader process, the agreement-in-principle proposes the creation of a new form of public regional government adapted to the needs of Nunavik. This regional government will be headed by an Assembly made up of 21 members, including an executive council composed of five members elected by the population of the entire region. The future institution of Nunavik will hold the jurisdictions and the powers of the three amalgamated organizations: the Kativik Regional Government, the Kativik School Board and the Nunavik Health and Social Services Board. The jurisdictions and powers notably concern the education, health, public security and transportation fields.
“The agreement-in-principle signed today is at the heart of our desire to promote, as never before, the socioeconomic development of the Inuit communities. It aims to build an efficient government institution truly adapted to the needs of Nunavik. First and foremost, it testifies to the continuation of the profound ties of friendship that exist between Québec and the Inuit,” indicated Québec Premier Jean Charest.
“In conjunction with the governments of Canada and of Québec, it is by maximizing our efforts and by pooling our resources that we will be able to more effectively advance the regional priorities of Nunavik and significantly improve the living conditions in our communities. I am confident that together and in the wake of the amalgamation of our public institutions and the creation of a new government, we will succeed in building a better Nunavik for the greater good of our communities and our children,” stated Mr. Pita Aatami, President of Makivik Corporation.
“The Government of Canada has made a commitment to improve the quality of life of the Inuit. We also want to see to it that the Inuit can make their own decisions concerning the preservation and development of their distinctive culture,” indicated the Honourable Chuck Strahl, Federal Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development Canada and Federal Interlocutor for Métis and Non-Status Indians. “It will thus be possible to establish a climate that is conducive to economic growth and self-sufficiency, a climate which, in turn, will increase the standard of living and will continue to improve the quality of life of the Inuit of Nunavik.”
Benoît Pelletier, Minister responsible for Aboriginal Affairs, emphasizes that the agreement is a demonstration of the complementarity that henceforth exists in the relations which the Government of Québec maintains with the Inuit and Aboriginal communities. “Québec is today the result of the combined forces of all the peoples who make up the province. Together, we must see to it that our peoples have the necessary tools for their self-fulfillment and participate in the consolidation of our collective identity.”
Finally, it should be emphasized that the future regional institution will respect the authority of the Québec National Assembly and of the Parliament of Canada.
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Online as of: December 5, 2007