The principal goal of Makivik, since its creation in 1978, has been to
attain the autonomy that Inuit have long been wanting. The creation of
the Nunavik Commission in 1999 through a Political Accord between
Nunavik Inuit, represented by Makivik, and the Federal and Provincial
governments was the vehicle that would solidly begin the negotiation
process toward a Nunavik government. And the signing of the Negotiation Framework Agreement in summer 2003 was only one of many steps Inuit of Nunavik have taken toward their goal of autonomy.
By signing the Negotiation Framework Agreement, Makivik, Québec and Canada agreed to enter into a new round of negotiations. They also agreed to appoint duly mandated negotiators and to adequately fund the process. A framework agreement is one of the necessary steps when following a negotiation process with the governments, and it serves as a guideline during the process while committing the parties involved to the negotiations.
As in most agreements it has a preamble, which introduces us to the events or history that lead to the Framework Agreement. The Framework Agreement recognizes the many years of effort that were made between the provincial and federal governments, and Inuit, to discuss a process leading toward a Nunavik Government. It also recognizes that all sides are committed to the process leading toward a government in Nunavik and that it will first be necessary to amalgamate the existing public institutions of Nunavik.
The amalgamation would bring all of the existing organizations such as the Kativik Regional Government (KRG), Kativik School Board (KSB), and the Nunavik Regional Board of Health and Social Services (NRBHSS), under a single entity tentatively called Nunavimmiut Aquvvinga. The Nunavimmiut Aquvvinga would unify all their powers, roles and responsibilities, done in the first phase of negotiations through an agreement-in-principle and later through a final agreement.
During the second phase, further negotiations would continue on additional powers and the creation of a new form of government to be finalized through a Supplementary Agreement. At this stage such negotiations would be inspired completely, or partly, by the Amiqqaaluta Report of the Nunavik Commission's recommendations.
An important part of the negotiations toward a Nunavik government will deal with financing, done through the establishment of new block-funding arrangements. The block-funding arrangements would be achieved through new agreements with both the Government of Québec and the Government of Canada. A blockfunding agreement would aim to consolidate programs and funding of the KRG, KSB, and NRBHSS, thereby creating a more efficient use of funding and better decisionmaking power for a new Nunavik government.
The Framework Agreement lays out the main principles that form the basis of a Nunavimmiut Aquvvinga and these include:
• Nunavik government as a non-ethnic entity, being open to all permanent residents of Nunavik
• Nunavik government falls under the jurisdiction of Quebec and Canada
• Any changes to the JBNQA will be done through complementary agreements
• the rights of Inuit, Naskapi and the Crees are not prejudiced
• the Nunavimmiut Aquvvinga shall have all the powers, authority, and jurisdiction over KRG, KSB, and NRBHSS
• the land regime set out in the JBNQA will not be modified
While there are many matters to be addressed in the negotiations the striking points relate to the amalgamation of the Nunavik institutions and in the new blockfunding arrangements for the Nunavimmiut Aquvvinga. Another important point, written as one of the overriding principles, is that any amendment to the JBNQA will be done through complementary agreements — and the creation of the Nunavimmiut Aquvvinga would be added to the JBNQA so that it would be constitutionally protected.
The actual negotiations process for the Negotiations Framework Agreement took just under a year, having begun in August 2002 and terminating in June 2003 when the agreement was finalized. The agreement was then signed by Benoît Pelletier the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs and of Native Affairs of Quebec, and by Robert D. Nault, then Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development of Canada, and by Makivik Corporation President Pita Aatami.
Further negotiations have continued since then to form an agreement-in-principle for the amalgamation of the Nunavik institutions. The negotiators have reached the final stages of the agreement-in-principle, which will be the next subject of this newsletter.
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Here, you will find the most up to date information (news articles). There are also sections providing historical background, documents about the negotiation, photos, video clips and a glossary of important words.
The Nunavik negotiating team