The Nunavik Commission Approach

Efforts to negotiate new governmental arrangements began anew at a meeting between the Makivik President Zebedee Nungak and Premier Lucien Bouchard in June 1997. The two leaders mused the possibility of restarting the negotiations, and the idea of adopting a commission approach to make headway on this issue was discussed between them.

The idea of using a commission to develop proposals for a Nunavik Assembly and Government added an extra step to the overall negotiation process, but people were mindful of the success enjoyed by the "commission approach" in preparing for the creation of the new territorial government for Nunavut and the Homerule Government in Greenland.

The Premier approved of the commission approach in principle several months later in a September meeting with Nunavik Leaders in Kangiqsualujjuaq. By December of 1997, Quebec officials from the Secrétariat aux Affaires autochtones had been mandated to negotiate the necessary Political Accord for the establishment of a Nunavik Commission. The federal government joined the discussions, and negotiations on the content of a political accord were soon underway.

The Accord was signed on November 4, 1999. The Political Accord provided the basis for the establishment of a commission with representatives from Nunavik, Quebec, and the federal government. The commission would have the mandate to come up with recommendations on the design of the Nunavik Government; it immediately began its work and tabled a complete set of recommendations on April 5, 2001.

Once tabled, the Nunavik Commission Report was distributed in three languages to all Nunavik communities and to every household. In September 2001, Makivik arranged for a tour of all communities in order to inform the people on the content of the Report. Following the information tour, Makivik arranged for a Nunavik Government Conference with over seventy delegates from every community that agreed to give the mandate to negotiate the creation of a new form of government.

With this mandate to negotiate, Makivik approached the governments of Canada and Quebec and together, they developed a Framework Agreement that set out the process and principles for negotiating the Nunavik Assembly and Government. The Negotiation Framework Agreement was finalized during the winter and spring months of 2003, and was signed by Quebec, the federal government and Makivik Corporation by July 2003. Discussions and meetings continue on a regular basis, to the point that an agreement- in-principale is foreseeable in the near future.

  • January 18, 2005
  • Nunavik newsletter

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