(June 29, 2004 — Iqaluit, Nunavut) Nunavut Tunngavik Incorporated (NTI) President Paul Kaludjak today said that the Liberal minority government situation created by yesterday’s federal election will be good for Nunavut, making Ottawa more responsive to the needs of Inuit and other Aboriginal People across Canada.
Since 1993 when the Nunavut Land Claims Agreement was signed, we’ve had a majority government, and it’s sometimes been very difficult to get Ottawa to pay attention to its obligations here in Nunavut. The evidence is that after 11 years Canada has still not met many of its obligations under the Land Claim. The new minority government will have to listen better and be more responsive to our needs.
He noted that over the past few months, the Martin Government had delivered a Throne Speech and made a number of organizational changes that gave positive signals of the Prime Minister’s intention to tackle the needs of Canada’s Aboriginal Peoples seriously. He said the minority government situation improves the likelihood that those positive initial steps will be followed up with concrete steps to improve the lives of Inuit.
Kaludjak congratulated Nancy Karetak-Lindell on her re-election as Member of Parliament for Nunavut. He said, NTI has always worked well with Nancy and we expect to continue that relationship. He also commended the other candidates for running positive campaigns that reflect well on Nunavut. Kaludjak added that NTI will be seeking an early meeting with Ms. Karetak-Lindell to discuss Nunavut’s priorities in Ottawa, and to review how she and NTI can collaborate effectively in advancing the Territory’s interests.
Kaludjak emphasized, though, that whatever the political party arrangements are, Inuit have Constitutionally-protected rights and the Government of Canada has Constitutionally-based obligations under the Land Claims Agreement. Whatever its political make-up, we look to the Government of Canada to work with us to carry out the provisions of the Land Claim. We look forward to working with the federal government departments that are charged with Land Claim responsibilities, particularly the Department of Indian and Northern Affairs.
Kaludjak noted that NTI has recently strengthened its own organizational presence in Ottawa, including with the assignment of Joanasie Akumalik as the new Director of Government and Public Relations. Among his key tasks will be liaison with Ms. Karetak-Lindell, as well as raising Nunavut’s issues with other MPs from the various political parties.
For further information:
Nunavut Tunngavik Incorporated
Tel: (867) 975-4900