NTI kicks off AGM in Iqaluit, not Clyde River

Because a bli ard derailed plans to hold NTI’s annual general meeting in Clyde River, NTI organizers have shifted its location to Iqaluit.



IQALUIT — Nunavut Tunngavik Inc. kicked off its annual general meeting in Iqaluit this week after a bli ard derailed plans to hold the gathering in Clyde River.
At its first annual general meeting since the creation of, NTI’s 49 voting delegates will face a long list of issues ranging from gun control and mining to high finance.

But first, NTI President Jose Kusugak got the conference under way with a speech on the theme: “From Qarmaq to Year 2000.”

“The theme is obvious for some of you who were born in igloos and sod houses,” Kusugak said.

“We have assumed computers and currency. You have to be proud that we have arrived from the qarmaq to the Year 2000.”

Delegates at this year’s meeting will be asked to approve 2000-2001 budgets for NTI and the three regional Inuit association. The combined budgets total close to $21 million. NTI financial statements will also be presented.

But delegates will also talk about how NTI should spend an $11 million surplus from the 1998-1999 fiscal year reported by the Nunavut Trust.

Options include dividing the surplus amongst beneficiaries and using the money to pay down NTI’s debt to the Nunavut Trust.

NTI President Jose Kusugak told Nunatsiaq News a final decision doesn’t have to be made by the end of the meeting, but that the topic is listed on the agenda.

A protocol agreement between NTI and the Nunavut government is also to be signed. The agreement is expected to outline the roles and responsibilities of each body in post-division Nunavut.

Other issues such as health care, the federal government’s gun control legislation, and a five-year review of land claim agreement implementation are also slated for debate.

But as the four-day meeting got underway on Tuesday, Nunavut’s time zone debate reared its head.

Some delegates said an NTI resolution passed last year stated that the time zone change was to have occurred on April 1, 1999. Delegates questioned why the switch didn’t happen on that date.

Qikiqtani Inuit Association president Pauloosie Keyootak said there is a lot of concern about the issue in the Baffin Region

“The resolution stated the time change would be done on April 1, 1999. My question is, why wasn’t it done?” Keyootak asked.

Sanikiluaq delegate Moses Apaqaq said NTI should speak out on the issue.

Kusugak didn’t explain why the time zone change was “delayed,” but he told delegates that NTI can’t do anything about the issue.

Later he Kusugak said the single time zone, scheduled to take effect Oct. 31, is “an emotional issue” and he repeated that NTI can’t do anything about it.

During the first day, delegates also discussed NTI’s court challenge to the federal government’s turbot quota and the need for a Nunavut Water Act.

Reports were also tabled by the NTI president, first and second vice-presidents and vice-president of finance.

The presidents of the three regional Inuit associations also gave reports, and elders’ and women delegates made presentations.

Groups such as the Nunavut Social Development Council, the Nunavut Wildlife Management Board and Nunavut Construction Corp. are also scheduled to make reports later in the week.

On the lighter side, a community feast was scheduled for Wednesday at Iqaluit’s Cadet Hall. Organizers also planned a drum dancing demonstration to entertain delegates.

And in keeping with the “From Qarmaq to Year 2000” theme, this year’s meeting was broadcast over NTI’s web site.

Seventy-five delegates and organizers were originally scheduled to meet in Clyde River and had travelled to Iqaluit to board connecting flights to Clyde River on Monday.

But poor weather conditions in Clyde River made fights impossible and the meeting was moved to Iqaluit.

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