NTI delegates split over time zone change

Although they voted for it a year ago, many Baffin delegates had changed their mind about the idea of a unified time zone for Nunavut.


Nunatsiaq News

IQALUIT — Nunavut Tunngavik Inc. debated an eleventh-hour appeal to stall the single time zone as the last hours of eastern standard time ran out.

Delegates at last week’s NTI annual general meeting contemplated a resolution to request the Nunavut government delay the implementation of a single time zone until the last Sunday in January, 2000.

The time zone change elicited numerous comments from Baffin delegates who said the change was unwanted.

“We are not representing the government, we represent the views of the Inuit. The Inuit are totally dissatisfied ,” said Pauloosie Keyootak, president of the Qikiqtani Inuit Association.

NTI supported change a year ago

But one year ago, NTI passed a resolution endorsing the adoption of central time across Nunavut.

QIA secretary treasurer, Johnny Mike said the resolution, as passed, stipulated that the change would take place on April 1, 1999.

But a check of the original resolution showed that NTI’s old motion only required that discussions take place with the Nunavut government before April 1, 1999.

And NTI delegates from Nunavut’s western regions asked that the issue be left to die.

“I think the time zone issue has been debated. I think it’s going to be cemented on Sunday,” said Charlie Evalik, president of the Kitikmeot Inuit Association.

Evalik reminded delegates that without the time zone change, his dealings with the Baffin region are limited to three and a half hours a day.

NTI legal counsel Allan Maclure said the organization should not pass resolutions that have little likelihood of being acted upon.

With the time zone change scheduled to go take effect in less than 36 hours, Maclure told delegates “the resolution is a practical impossibility as drafted.”

With time dwindling before delegates had to board a plane, and several key resolutions left to pass, NTI President Jose Kusugak called for a recorded vote to settle the issue.

After 6 p.m. Friday afternoon, the resolution died on a vote of 24 opposed, 13 in favour and seven abstentions.

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