Nunatsiaq News
NEWS: Nunavut January 20, 2015 - 5:53 am

Nunavut MLAs look at GN budget numbers for upcoming fiscal year

Draft budget for 2015-16 at closed-door committee hearings this week

THOMAS ROHNER
Nunavut MLAs will get an early look at the Government of Nunavut's draft budget for 2015-16 in committee meetings this week. Because budgets are kept secret until they're tabled in the legislature, the rest of us will have to wait until the assembly's winter sitting, which starts Feb. 23 and runs until March 17. (FILE PHOTO)
Nunavut MLAs will get an early look at the Government of Nunavut's draft budget for 2015-16 in committee meetings this week. Because budgets are kept secret until they're tabled in the legislature, the rest of us will have to wait until the assembly's winter sitting, which starts Feb. 23 and runs until March 17. (FILE PHOTO)

Members of Nunavut’s legislative assembly are set to arrive in Iqaluit this week to talk about how they plan to spend hundreds of millions of dollars in this year’s 2015-2016 operating budget, which has yet to be tabled in the house.

But those meetings are closed to the public, John Quirke, the assembly’s clerk, said Jan. 19, so that “non-cabinet members get to see the budget before it’s released in the public domain.”

“The budget will be made public and debated in the House during the winter sitting of the assembly, which starts Feb. 24 and goes ‘til mid-March,” Quirke said.

Over the next two weeks, the various departmental budgets — contained in the draft main estimates — will be discussed by various standing committees, Quirke explained.

“One of our standing committees is called ‘the standing committee on social wellness,’ and they have responsibilities for six departments,” including education, Quirke said.

At the same time, other standing committees will discuss the budgets for other departments in different rooms.

“What’s decided and debated in one committee might not be known in detail by members assigned to other committees,” Quirke said.

“That’s why at the committee-of-the-whole meetings [during the assembly’s sitting] you’ll see quite a few questions from members who may not have been part of a particular standing committee’s budget review. There’s no crossover for the standing committees.”

In addition to reviewing the main draft estimates for each department, Quirke said that MLAs will also discuss Bill 1 — the Northern Employees Benefits Services Pension Plan Act.

MLAs extended the review period for Bill 1, which covers pensions for many municipal and territorial government employees, during the fall’s sitting of the assembly.

A special standing committee on education will meet towards the end of the January as well, Quirke said, to discuss how to proceed with the review of Nunavut’s education act.

 

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