MLAs to gather for last sitting before Nunavut election

Six bills remain in the dying days of the current legislature

Nunavut MLAs will gather in Iqaluit on Thursday for about a week, before the current legislature is dissolved and a territorial election takes place on Oct. 25. (Photo by Mélanie Ritchot)

By Mélanie Ritchot

Nunavut’s MLAs will gather this week in the legislature for the last time before territorial elections are held in October.

In the short sitting, which runs from Thursday until Sept. 16, MLAs have six bills to consider.

If bills don’t get passed before then, they essentially get scrapped and the next government will start from square one.

Two bills would create new laws and four of them propose changes to existing laws.

Bill 56, the Liquor Tax Act, would introduce a tax on liquor sold in Nunavut or imported into the territory through a permit.

It’s unclear at this point how high the tax would be. It would be paid by customers to retailers, who would then pay the Department of Finance.

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

The bill does not propose taxing people for liquor they bring into the territory personally, for example bringing in one bottle on a flight, or taxing home brewers.

Bill 52 would create a new Nunavut Petroleum Products Commission to manage the purchasing of fuel for the territory. These purchases are currently handled by the petroleum products division, which is part of the Department of Community and Government Services.

Other bills propose changes to the Revolving Funds Act — which affects fuel prices — the Property Assessment and Taxation Act, the Summary Conviction Procedures Act and the Northern Employee Benefits and Services Pension Plan Act.

In the last sitting of the assembly in the spring, which saw most MLAs attending the virtually amid a COVID-19 outbreak in Iqaluit, members passed a new Mental Health Act and made changes to financial assistance for Nunavut students to better support them.

MLAs also voted against a Government of Nunavut employee home-ownership program, saying they didn’t have information about the proposal.

This time around, there will be two fewer MLAs compared to the last sitting, after they handed in their resignations in August.

Paul Quassa, the former MLA for Aggu and former Speaker of the legislative assembly, announced his resignation on Aug. 3, which became effective on Aug. 13.

He told Nunatsiaq News he resigned to give other members of his community the chance to run in the October election.

Pat Angnakak, the former member representing Iqaluit-Niaqunnguu, resigned on Aug. 17 to run as Nunavut’s Liberal candidate in the Sept. 20 federal election.

Normally when members resign, a byelection would take place to fill their seats, but with the assembly dissolving on Sept. 19 and a territorial election coming up soon afterward, their seats will remain empty this sitting.

The writ drops in Nunavut — meaning an election officially kicks off — on Sept. 20, the day after the federal election.

The territorial election is slated for Oct. 25, giving candidates about a month to campaign before Nunavummiut choose who will represent them in the sixth legislative assembly.

Iqaluit’s deputy mayor, Janet Pitsiulaaq Brewster, has already announced she will be running for a spot in the legislature once the writ drops.

In August, P.J. Akeeagok, stepped down as president of the Qikiqtani Inuit Association and announced he would seek a seat as an MLA.

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(11) Comments:

  1. Posted by Report Card Time on

    Report Card Time
    What has this government accomplished? How much have they reduced homelessness in Nnavut?
    How much have they reduced mental illness in Nunavut?
    How many additional Inuit doctors and Inuit nurses are working in Nunavut?
    How many additional Inuit teachers are working in Nunavut?
    How much has the high school graduation rate increased?
    How many more Nunavummiut are attending college or university now, compared to at the start of this government?
    How many more elders are being cared for in Nunavut?
    How much has food insecurity been reduced in Nunavut?

    • Posted by You are dreaming… on

      You are asking for a miracle. Asking all those ??’s out of only one term of MLA’s is like asking a single person if they accomplished in one year…..
      -did you purchase 3 houses?
      -did you start a private business and hire 100 personnel?
      -how many snowmobile’s all together did you get this year?
      -how many atv’s did you get this year?
      -did you start upgrading your truck yearly?

      Asking too much of too little time from one group of people with not enough funding from the feds.

      • Posted by Yes, Please on

        I don’t think Report Card Time is asking that all these issues be eliminated in 4 years. Report Card Time seems to be asking what has been done on them.
        Let me add,
        What has been the reduction in suicide rate?
        What has been the reduction in TB?
        What has been the reduction in poverty for the poorest 10% of Nunavummiut?

    • Posted by Bert Rose on

      70 year ago in his inaugural address president John F Kennedy uttered these famous words
      “Ask not what your country can do for you – ask what you can do for your country,”
      Isn’t it time for Nunavumiut to stop demanding more from Government and start planning their own solutions to the issues you are listing?

  2. Posted by Excited on

    Could this year finally be Anne Crawford’s year for election as MLA… I’m so excited!!!!

  3. Posted by Alex Langley on

    Why are we building a $64M dollar reservoir, when the emergency reverse osmosis system was estimated at $20 M dollars? Isnt that cheaper with less environmental impacts ? What MLA made this decision?

    • Posted by long view on

      How much would it cost annually to maintain? How long will it last? how many parts will it take to repair? how many people will need to be hired to work there?

      reservoir, minimal maintenance, last 50 years? no parts to purchase, does not need expensive electricity. 20M? prolly like 30 after its done. gotta look at the big picture, not just right now.

    • Posted by What Reservoir? on

      Sorry, are you talking about Iqaluit, the only municipality in Nunavut according to everyone that lives there? Wouldn’t that be a municipal decision? Go talk to your mayor.

  4. Posted by Booker T. Washer on

    WC MLA, what kind of flag was he talking about this past winter were he said to hoist up on every hamlet flag poles in Nunavut?

  5. Posted by Pain In The Groen on

    And here we go again on our own
    Goin’ down the only road we’ve ever known
    Like drifters we were born to walk alone

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