(November 30, 2004 — Iqaluit, Nunavut) Nunavut Tunngavik Inc. appeared before the Utility Rates Review Council yesterday to deliver a presentation concerning the proposed general rate increase application submitted by Qulliq Energy Corporation on behalf of the Nunavut Power Corporation.
Qulliq Energy Corp.’s proposal would see the price of power for commercial users in Nunavut increase by an average of $3,800 per year.
NTI President Paul Kaludjak said the power rate increase has the potential to seriously harm Nunavut’s developing economy, and in particular noted the negative impact it will have on Inuit businesses. Since 1993, through the work of Birthright Corporations and Atuqtuarvik Corporation, almost $100 million in Inuit land claim money has been invested to build Inuit-owned businesses and Nunavut’s economy. More than 300 Inuit firms are now registered in the Inuit Firms Registry,
It is already extremely difficult for Inuit-owned companies to operate on a daily basis in Nunavut. A power rate increase will create additional financial hardships for Inuit, and has the potential to seriously undercut that investment by making it even harder to operate in an already difficult business environment, said Kaludjak.
Further, Kaludjak said the Qulliq Energy Corp.’s proposal to add an extra charge to help the Nunavut Power Corporation cover the cost of meeting its Inuit employment responsibilities under the Nunavut Land Claims Agreement Article 23 requirements is unacceptable. Article 23 requires government agencies to put in place plans to increase Inuit representation in Nunavut’s work force. Costs of implementing land claim obligations are to be borne by the Government of Canada, not the Beneficiaries of the NLCA.
The costs of implementing Article 23 that are not covered through existing programs are an obligation of the Government of Canada. They are land claim implementation costs, and therefore, federal responsibilities. This is not a cost to be paid by the consumer, whether the consumer is Inuit or non-Inuit. The Government of Canada cannot simply pass the buck on land claim obligations, said Kaludjak.
NTI will provide a written submission to the Utility Rates Review Council setting out its concerns and recommendations on the proposed power rate increase.
For further information:
Director of Communications
Nunavut Tunngavik Incorporated
Tel: (867) 975-4914