Update on AIP and Implementation Plan

Work on the Agreement in Principle has been slow for the past few months. It was our hope to have the document signed by the 3 parties before the end of 2005, but as always, for one reason or another it was not possible to do so. More specifically, the political climate of the last few months at the Federal level which ended in election of a new Government at the end of January certainly played a role in the delaying of the process, and legal questions arose from the Quebec Government which called for a meeting of the 3 party legal expertise to review certain sections of the James Bay and Northern Quebec Agreement.

Although all the negotiators now agree on the content of the AIP, it
will be some time yet before we actually get a signed document. The
new government in Ottawa will only be sitting down at the beginning of April, so we have all decided that in order to have some movement on our work, we would ask that the negotiators do an initialing of the agreement in principle sometime before the spring.

Although we always expect some kind of delays in these types of talks, especially in dealing with both levels of government, it is important to remind both governments that this file is very important to us and that it deserves better attention and support from their leadership.

With that in mind, the President of Makivik along with the other Presidents and Chairs of the Nunavik Organizations have recently sent a letter to the Quebec Premier, Jean Charest. In the letter, our leaders urge Quebec to keep this process a priority and especially to respect the good working partnership that Nunavik Inuit have long had with the Quebec Government.

Another letter was sent by Pita Aatami to the newly appointed Minister of Indian and Northern Affairs, Jim Prentice. In this letter, Mr. Aatami congratulates the new minister on his appointment and also informs him of the main files that Makivik has with Indian and Northern Affairs office, one of them being the negotiations for a Nunavik Government and the importance of its continuity within the new Federal Government.

Following these more recent events, we are hearing very positive news from both levels of government. The Quebec negotiator, Fernand Roy has assured us that he will be sitting down with the Native Affiars Minister, Geoff Kelley and will be asking for authorization to initial the AIP. If all goes well there, the AIP could be brought to the cabinet by March 1, 2006.

Donat Savoie from the Federal side has also given us very positive news and that the process is still on track which would allow him to initial the
AIP. We are opimistically hoping to have some kind of an official initialing in time for the Makivik AGM. Once this document is initialed it would be easier to maneuver through the governement
machinery that will take us to the official signature.

On a more practical note, work outside the actual negotiating table is proceeding very well. Under the guidance of the negotiators, our tripartite working group on the implementation plan continue working very closely with the key executive officers of each Nunavik organization. A working document on implementation cost substantiation was produced recently. This document will be very useful in determining start-up and ongoing costs related to setting up and implementing the Nunavik Government.

Already, this document is proving to be a very good tool in guiding the 2 levels of governments in their discussion on cost sharing for eventual implementation.

We congratulate all those people from the organizations that have given a lot of their normal working time to assist the negotiators technical group. With this type of collaboration we can expect some wonderful work in putting together a Nunavik Government in the not too distant future.

Communication is very important in this file and we thank all those who visit this website. Another positive side of this website is that it allows youth to reach out to become more informed. As an example, just last week, Harry Tulugak and myself were invited by the Marie-Victorin Inuit students and spend a good hour providing information and answering questions related to our work and the history of self-government in Nunavik.

Thank you to Tabisha Tulugak, Ginette Novalinga, Joy Nayoumealuk, Sheena Annanack, Joanassie Qumarluk, Noah Ohituk, Susie May Kasudluak, Junior Lingard, Taamusi Sivuarapik, Alan Watt for your interest and keep up your good work.

Also thanks to Marc Vachon who arranged to have us come to the college and to Lise Anne, their student tutor who stayed throughout our exchange although it was all in Inuktitut.

  • February 20, 2006
  • Minnie Grey

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