NRG not self-government, but better government, Makivik says
“By putting it under one roof, this will mean more jobs, better efficiency”
OTTAWA — Makivik Corp. president Pita Aatami says the creation of the Nunavik Regional Government could help make governing the region more efficient, but adds that more negotiations are necessary if Nunavik is to achieve its own government.
The NRG’s final agreement, which offers the details of the creation of a new governance model, was released earlier this month.
“Hopefully, by putting it under one roof, this will mean more jobs for [Nunavimmiut], better efficiency and it might give us a bigger say about the funds we receive,” Aatami said. “But we’re not talking about our own government yet.”
“The next step of negotiations will tell [us] if we’re really have out own government in the future,” he said.
Makivik won’t take a position on the NRG, Aatami said, because it is essentially an “amalgamation,” adding that “the people will decide [through an April 27 referendum] and we’ll follow their lead.”
Negotiators of the final agreement from all three levels of government are currently on a tour of the region to present the NRG model at public meetings, leading up to the April 27 vote.
Some critics of the model have said that Nunavik is not ready to run a self-government.
But Minnie Grey, the lead negotiator and author of the final agreement, said her efforts were never towards self-government.
“What is self-government, anyway?” she said. “I’ve never liked the term.”
A government is place to make decisions on how to help society function properly, she said, “and that’s what we need in Nunavik.”
Nunavimmiut have never opted for an ethnic government, she added.
Unlike Makivik’s membership, Nunavik’s government — the Kativik Regional Government or a future NRG — include all the region’s residents, not just Inuit beneficiaries.
Under the NRG, Nunavik’s regional organizations, the Nunavik regional health board, Kativik School Board and KRG, would merge into one.
“We’re calling the NRG a regional government,” Grey said. “We govern ourselves.”
The NRG’s regional tour continues through until early March; this past week it worked its way up the Hudson coast.
The tour stopped in Kuujjuaraapik on Feb. 21, where Grey said many questions were asked about which departments would be responsible for major issues such as youth protection, mining development and the region’s housing shortage.
“The many preoccupations of people are a sure indication that there is a kind of frustration as to who takes care of what,” Grey wrote on the tour’s Facebook page, called “Nunavik’s future, Your choice.”
The tour stops in Kuujjuaq Feb. 28 before heading up the Ungava coast.