3 bills pass, 3 MLAS say goodbye as 5th legislature wraps up

Liquor Tax Act scrapped, while property tax bill passes despite criticism

After representing Hudson Bay for over a decade and serving as the Speaker of the house in the most recent session, Allan Rumbolt announced he won’t seek re-election in the next general election. (Photo by Mélanie Ritchot)

By Mélanie Ritchot

After four years of bringing constituents’ concerns to light, prodding ministers for information and creating laws, Nunavut’s fifth legislative assembly gathered for the last time on Thursday.

The group of former MLAs passed some bills, scrapped others, and each announced whether they will run again in the upcoming territorial election on Oct. 25.

Premier Joe Savikataaq said he will be seeking re-election to represent the riding of Arviat South again.

“My cabinet colleagues and I are proud of the work that has been achieved since 2018, despite the challenges we have faced,” Savikataaq said, citing Nunavut having the highest minimum wage in Canada at $16 an hour, the territory’s new Mental Health Act and new health centres opening in Sanikiluaq and Kinngait.

Savikataaq listed other accomplishments, including bringing 240 Inuit into Government of Nunavut jobs, having nearly 200 housing units slated to be built this year and opening the new Aaqqigiarvik Correctional Healing Facility.

Savikataaq is one of 17 MLAs who announced they plan to seek re-election once the writ drops and the territorial election kicks off on Monday — coincidentally, the same day as the federal election.

Allan Rumbolt, who has represented Hudson Bay for 13 years, announced he will not run again.

“It was an emotional day for me,” he wrote in a tweet following his farewell speech.

“It’s time for someone with fresh ideas and new energy to keep working for the people of Sanikiluaq.”

Rumbolt was appointed Speaker of the house for his last sitting in the assembly

Pauloosie Keyootak, the MLA for Uqqummiut, also said he is not seeking re-election.

Elisapee Sheutiapik, the minister of family services, announced she will not seek re-election Sept. 9, citing personal and family-related reasons.

Pat Angnakak, the former MLA for Iqaluit-Niaqunnguu, resigned in August to run in the federal election with the Liberal party.

Paul Quassa, former Speaker of the house and MLA for Aggu, resigned around the same time, saying it was time for someone living in the riding to occupy the position.

At the last sitting on Thursday, members were able to pass three of seven pending bills before time was up.

Three bills passed, four scrapped

Bill 55, the Act to Amend the Property Assessment and Taxation Act, passed, despite criticism from Nunavut Tunngavik Inc. and other Inuit organizations.

The amendments change how the government collects taxes from mining operations in the territory. NTI and other regional Inuit organizations will challenge the new law in court, according to a news release.

Bill 77, a supplementary appropriation, and Bill 75, an amendment to the Summary Conviction Procedures Act, also passed, both making small changes to law that already existed.

The proposed Liquor Tax Act, Bill 56 — which would have introduced a tax on liquor sold in Nunavut or imported into the territory through a permit — did not pass.

Nunavut is currently the only jurisdiction in the country that doesn’t tax alcohol directly or through other means, like HST or PST.

John Main, the chairperson of the committee on bills and other matters, said one of the biggest concerns with the bill was it said the tax rates would be chosen by the department and minister of finance and wouldn’t have to be approved by MLAs, as payroll and income tax rates are.

While members of the committee voted against the bill, Main noted they recognize organizations like the World Health Organization say a tax is highly effective in reducing alcohol consumption.

Main said the committee encourages the next government to reintroduce this type of tax bill in the next assembly.

Bill 52, the Nunavut Petroleum Products Commission Act, also did not pass, which would have created a new Nunavut Petroleum Products Commission to manage the purchasing of fuel for the territory.

The new division would have replaced the current petroleum products division of the Department of Community and Government Services — which MLA Adam Arreak Lightstone called “shrouded in mystery” in March when MLAs decried a lack of transparency.

Main explained Bill 52 did not pass because there was a lack of clarity on how the new division would operate, how MLAs would be able to exercise oversight of it, and how it would be accountable for environmental liabilities.

The two other bills not passed proposed changes to the Revolving Funds Act — which affects fuel prices— and the Northern Employee Benefits and Services Pension Plan Act.

Writ drops Monday

The fifth legislative assembly will officially dissolve on Sunday, with the election writ dropping on Monday, officially kicking off the territorial election campaign on the same day Nunavummiut will cast their votes in the federal election.

Nunavut residents who are going to run for MLA in the coming election must declare their candidacy between Sept. 20 and 24.

A candidate can run to represent any of the 22 constituencies in Nunavut, regardless of where they live, as long as they live in the territory.

The general election will take place on Oct. 25.

Share This Story

(7) Comments:

  1. Posted by Sanikiluaqmiu on

    it’s about time he stops running as MLA.
    he didn’t really do anything to help his community.

    16
    35
    • Posted by Think about it on

      You have no idea what you are talking about. As someone who was in the GN, the MLA from Sanikiluaq was always asking questions and demanding back up for what he was told. Following up on projects that were announced. Sanikiluaq will be lucky to find someone like him. GN projects will be lucky if Sani elects a seat warmer.

      32
      5
    • Posted by Uvanga on

      Why don’t you run then? You sound like you know what Sanikiluaqmiut want.

      29
      1
  2. Posted by Thankful on

    Thank you Mr. Rumbolt for your faithful service and dedication to the people of Sanikiluaq. Those who criticize, obviously did not follow your terms in service. I hope our next representative will be as committed and hardworking as you have been. May you and your family will be blessed as you move forward.

    20
    2
  3. Posted by 2 questions! on

    wanna be a “successful MLA”? In Nunavut all you have to do ask 2 good question. 1st question and a follow-up/supplementary questions. What a joke. Hey, why is John Main now the only voice for the mla’s, what’s up with that?

    1
    6
  4. Posted by Northern Inuit on

    Mr Rumbolt was a fine Leader for his Community and always asked some fine questions for his people as well as on behalf of Nunavumiut.

    Ms Ehaloak always seemed to be on defense and her answer most questions seemed to be “Thank you for your question I will get back to you” Word is that she is campaigning already on Facebook News in her riding. Shouldn’t She wait until the writ drops? Seems she is a fine cheerleader for GN announcements on FB, but can She honestly day what else she had accomplished the last 4 years?

    14
    1
  5. Posted by Yes Because We Don’t Already Pay Enough on

    “The proposed Liquor Tax Act, Bill 56 — which would have introduced a tax on liquor sold in Nunavut or imported into the territory through a permit — did not pass.
    .
    Nunavut is currently the only jurisdiction in the country that doesn’t tax alcohol directly or through other means, like HST or PST.”
    .
    Yes, and in how many jurisdictions is it required to pay for cargo to get alcohol? And an import permit if you want to get your order in 2 days instead of 5? Remember there are more communities in Nunavut than just Iqaluit.
    .
    “While members of the committee voted against the bill, Main noted they recognize organizations like the World Health Organization say a tax is highly effective in reducing alcohol consumption.”
    .
    Right, because the number of bootleg $100 mickies and $300 sixty-ouncers sold on a Friday night in any community really enforces that idea. You don’t need an extra tax to make a $111 sixty less enticing. “ohhh, it’s $120 now, maybe I’ll pass”. Get outta here.
    .
    “Main said the committee encourages the next government to reintroduce this type of tax bill in the next assembly.”
    .
    Please don’t. Unless it only applies in communities with a beer and wine store. Iqaluit, already one of the cheapest cost-of-living communities, is the only community that doesn’t have to pay additional cargo to get their booze, and they don’t even have to pay extra for the storefront.
    .
    We already pay enough.

    3
    5

Join the Conversation

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*