Jean Charest to fish and frolic in Nunavik this week

Quebec premier vows to further relations with Inuit



Quebec Premier Jean Charest was scheduled to arrive in Kuujjuaq this past Wednesday for a casual visit with Inuit leaders.

Although this is not Charest’s first trip to the region, it will be the newly elected leader’s first official visit as Quebec premier.

Coordinated by Makivik Corp., the visit was long-awaited by Nunavik’s leaders. For them, it will be a great opportunity to find out what the new premier’s attitude is toward Nunavik, as well as his level of commitment to the region.

“This visit certainly shows the new premier’s readiness to establish and maintain close relations with the Inuit of Nunavik,” said Makivik President Pita Aatami.

The premier is travelling with his new minister of intergovernmental and aboriginal affairs, Benoît Pelletier, as well as Pierre Corbeil, the provincial minister responsible for Northern Quebec.

Pelletier, who has never previously set foot in Nunavik, will gain an introduction to northern realities and get a chance to catch a glimpse of the Inuit needs first-hand.

For Corbeil, the new Liberal government’s minister of forests, wildlife and parks, the trip will be a chance to show Charest the region’s tremendous potential, which he discovered just a couple of weeks ago when he visited Nunavik for the first time.

After a visit to the Torngat mountain range and the Pingualuit crater, Corbeil expressed a commitment to create more provincial parks in Nunavik.

His pledge to speed up the creation of the Pingualuit provincial park may become more than just a promise, as the Kativik Regional Government learned Charest might announce the actual creation of the park during this week’s visit.

On Thursday, the party of three was to travel to Kangiqsualujjuaq, accompanied by Makivik and KRG officials.

Charest wants to pay his respects to the community, which was the site of a major avalanche on Jan. 1, 1999, which killed nine people.

While travelling to Kangiqsualujjuaq, the delegation will fly over the Torngat mountains, one of which, the Iberville mountain, is the highest peak in the province at 1,646 meters above sea level.

Their afternoon will be spent fishing on the Koroc River, enjoying the beautiful scenery that makes Nunavik a promising tourist destination.

The mountain range and river valley is also the object of a park development project, and the outing will give the premier and his ministers a chance to evaluate the proposed park’s potential.

The delegation will then return to Kuujjuaq to attend a dinner with the community’s mayor, Michael Gordon, and other Inuit leaders, including some elders.

Issues brought up over dinner will then be discussed during a meeting in the Makivik boardroom the next morning with Makivik and KRG representatives.

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