Comments and Questions from the Field Trip

The first part of the field trip of the negotiators took place on February 2l to February 25, 2005.  Communities visited were Kangirsualujuaq, Kuujjuaq, Kangirsuk, Aupaluk and Tasiujaq.  Kuujjuaq was revisited on March 7, 2005 as there was not enough time to hold a public meeting during the first visit.

The Agreement in Principle was presented to these communities through various forums. i.e. CNV meetings, public meetings, FM radio and student meetings.  During these meetings, different comments were made and questions asked.

We are presenting these comments and questions as they were raised and give responses that were provided.  It should be noted that although we have provided responses, they are not the means to an end.  We are only in the first phase of negotiatioins which is to produce an agreement-in-principle and a final agreement on the amalgamation of the public institutions which will become the Nunavik government.  In phase II, the Nunavik Gov't will be in a position to negotiate for new powers.  So we are just in the beginning of more work to come and changes to occur in the future. As it is,  it is not possible for us to answer all question especially those related to future powers.

*"Wildlife is a very important element to life in Nunavik.  The Nunavik Gov't will have to have legislative power in order to pass laws related to protecting our animals according to our needs."

( This is an area which the Provincial Gov't and Fed.Gov't has jurisdiciton at this time.  None of our public institutions have any power to pass laws related to this resource.  What we are working on is concentrating on existing powers and jurisdiction.  We hope to see the Nunavik Gov't gain authority through future negotiations.)

*Will the funds that Nunavik receives from both gov'ts continue?  Will it become block funding?

(Yes, the recurrent budgets being received from the governments will continue.  At this time, all funds that the 3 organizations are receiving will continute to be directed to the services that these organizations receive.  At the time of amalgamation, the administrative services of these organizations will be put into one budget.  Once the Nunavik Gov't is in place, then it can take the necessary steps to make a block-fund which it will administer according to the priorities set by the elected officials. The final agreement will also set out a mechanism to review funding regimes periodically.)

*Will we pay more taxes?

(As far as we know, there is no intention of more taxation.  As Quebecers we are already paying alot of taxes and we have heard loud and clear from the people of Nunavik that there should not be extra taxes.)

*Will we get a university?

(As we mentioned before, we are only dealling with existing powers and jursidictions.  At the present time, students who wish to attend university go out of the region under the sponsorship of KSB.  Who knows?  Maybe in the very distance future with population and need increase.  The Nunavik Gov't would be able address these type of questions.)

*Who will be eligible to be a member of the government?  Can we make sure that there be residential criterias?

(The Nunavik Gov't will be public institution open to all residents of Nunavik.  There will be criterias in place to determine, who can vote and who can be elected.)

 *What if the Nunavik Gov't fails?  Who will be our government?

(It has to be understood that Nunavik is undertaking something that does not exist in Quebec.  What we are creating will still be under the jurisdiction of Quebec.  We will remain Quebec and Canadian citizens and still be eligible for all services provided by these governments.  The creation of the Nunavik Gov't is just a step in trying to have Inuit and other residents of Nunavik determine their own actions and decisions for our daily lives according to the realities of our region).  What do you think?

*How will the youth be involved?

(The youth are the future leaders.  It is very important for them to be involved today in order to understand the responsibilities, politics and administration related to all aspects of Nunavik present situation).  Your views?

*Will land be sold for prospecting?
(We are working under the existing land regime of the James Bay and Northern Quebec Agreement. The lands in which Inuit have rights are collectively owned and cannot be sold presently.  If there are to be changes,  the future government will have to negotiate new arrangements).  What are your thoughts on this?

*Will economy be increased?

(This is a very good question in that the present organizations are doing their very best in trying to promote economic development to ensure that jobs can be created.  Tourism, natural resource development are just a few of the areas in which our region can promote its economy.  It is certain that it will be one of the first priorities of a new government).  What do you think?

*What about the well-being of our people?

(Another very good question.  It can be said that this is a very big preoccupation of everyone in Nunavik.  At one time or another every one of us has been touched by violence and unnecessary death.  Although many people are dedicated in their jobs to try and improve social and health problems, it takes individuals to do their part.  Our leaders have come together in trying to find solutions and they alone cannot do that. If things are to change, the society needs to embrace change.  A concept of a government is not an answer to all but it can be a beginning for our society to tackle together and in a concerted fashion, whatever needs to be urgently addressed. Share your thoughts on this important issue!

*Why is Makivik not being amalgamated as the other organizations?

(Makivik has a special status within the James Bay and Northern Quebec Agreement.  It is an ethnic organization as opposed to the others which are non-ethnic in nature.  One of the important mandates of Makivik is that it represents the right of the Inuit and beneficiaries.

The Nunavik Gov't will be non-ethnic and Makivik will still be able to have a working relationship with it (as is with the other organizations) but remain separate as a guardian of Inuit and beneficiary rights.)  What do you think?

*What will happen when Quebec separates from Canada?

(Very good question which we cannot provide an answer to presently.  It is a very sensitive political question which has a life of its own according to the agenda of an elected Provincial Government).  Please give us your views!

*Will the new government improve services?

(It is clearly stated that the existing services will remain intact and to that end, our goal is to improved what has been achieved so far by our institutions.)  Please comment!

*What if the Quebec Gov't abondons us?
(They cannot.  We will remain as Quebec citizens.)What do you think?

*Who will work in this government?

(This government will be lead by elected people and staffed from the existing 3 institutions to be amalgamated).  Your thoughts?

*Who gave the negotiators their mandate?   Who made up the Agreement in Principle?  Who made up the gov't model?  Is it only the work of the 3 Inuit negotiators?  Are the 2 gov't involved in the make-up of this model and the AIP?

(The negotiators from the governements as well as the 3 Inuit negotiators have all received official mandates from their respective groups.  For the Inuit, the organizations have mandated their negotiators by resolutions.  The Agreement in Principle is a result of many negotiating sessions that  have been going on since 2003.  It is not just coming from the Inuit, but also from the Quebec and Federal Governments.  The contents and models are results of recommendations coming from the "Let us Share" report which was the result of many consultation meetings with Inuit and residents of Nunavik.  It does not mean that all recommendations are being incorporated but the report is being used as a basis.  The elected leaders of KSB, KRG, NRBHSS and Makivik are also advising the negotiators on special sections of the Agreement in Principle as well as special technical advisory committe comprising of expertise of the organizations.)What are your thoughts on this?

*How will be Nunavik Gov't have a relationship with the Quebec Gov't?

(It is stated in the AIP that there will be a Ministry mandated to have a direct link to the Nunavik Gov't and that this government will continue to have the present day relationship of the organizations to their respective Ministries.  It is also foreseen that there will be work done to determine the gov't to gov't relationship between the Nunavik Gov't and the Provicial Gov't. Give your comments!

*Culture, traditions, language and Inuit values are very important.  How will our government protect and promote these?

(Although it is envisioned that this will be public government, it is being driven by Inuit in order to ensure that we have a say in how decisions are made in our regions.  It is very important that Inuit values be instilled into this government and that is why Elders Advisory Committee is being proposed into the organization of the future gov't.  There is also a strong link being developed between Avataq and the negotiators so that Avataq can start advising on these important aspects right from the start).  Tell us how we can make our culture strong in the future government.


After questions and comments were received, the negotiators in turn posed two questions:

*How do you see ratification taking place?  Should there be a referendum for both AIP and the Final Agreement?

In all the communities, it was stated that it would be better to have a referendum on the Final Agreement as it would be a more complete and detailed document.

*Is there a word in Inuttitut that best describes the word "government"?

We asked the communities to ponder on this question as we are planning to have a phone-in radio show to collect potential names for the Nunavik Gov't.




 

  • March 16, 2005
  • Minnie Grey

Comments

on the "1912 extensions act"why we(inuit)were not informed?.why because it was so cold to come and tell us or they "didn't know"that we lived here way before christopher columbus discovered N.A

  • May 6, 2005
  • Lucassie Padlayat

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