(April 19, 2004 — Iqaluit, Nunavut) Nunavut Tunngavik Inc. President Paul Kaludjak today applauded Prime Minister Paul Martin’s announcement of the creation of an Inuit Secretariat within the Department of Indian and Northern Affairs (DIAND).
The Prime Minister made the announcement during his opening address to the participants of the Aboriginal Summit in Ottawa:
Inuit leaders have for years pointed to the absence of a secretariat in the government that focuses specifically on Inuit issues. And frankly speaking, there has been a gap on our part. Well, we are fixing that. Today, I am happy to announce the creation of a new Inuit Secretariat within Indian and Northern Affairs Canada, said Prime Minister Martin, during his speech this morning.
President Kaludjak, who has been participating in the Summit along with NTI 1st Vice-President James Eetoolook, said that as the representative of the largest Inuit region in Canada, NTI welcomes the Prime Minister’s announcement.
Nunavut can only benefit from the creation of an Inuit Secretariat, since at a minimum it will elevate the profile Inuit issues receive in the federal government. But it will be critical that the Secretariat develop effective co-ordination with other federal departments and agencies, said Kaludjak. If this Secretariat can help focus federal programs, policies and resources more effectively on Nunavut’s needs in areas like housing, health care, suicide prevention and land claims implementation, it will be a significant step forward.
Kaludjak also said that Inuit should have input into the design of the new Secretariat. For our part, NTI looks forward to working with DIAND on how the new Secretariat should be set up, to make sure it responds to Nunavut’s needs. Once it’s up and running, we will be ready to work actively with it, said Kaludjak.
For further information:
Director of Communications
Nunavut Tunngavik Incorporated
Tel: (867) 975-4914
Cell: (867) 975-1337