Nunavik Accord: what’s in it?
MONTREAL — Signed by Canada, Quebec and the Makivik Corporation on behalf of Inuit and major public organizations in Nunavik, the Nunavik Accord sets up a Nunavik Commission to “develop a timetable, plan of action and recommendations… as the basis for the discussions to create a government in Nunavik.”
According to the 12-page accord, the commission will develop recommendations that define:
the powers, jurisdictions and responsibilities of the Nunavik government;
the electoral process for this government’s members, selection of leader and responsibilities of the executive;
the administrative structure of the Nunavik governemnt, including administrative structures and personnel;
a plan of consolidation for Nunavik’s organizations: the Kativik Regional Government, Kativik School Board, Kativik Regional Development Council, Nunavik Region, Board of Health and Social Services, the Avataq Cultural Institute, and Taqramiut Nipingat;
amendments needed to the James Bay and Northern Quebec Agreement;
the relationship between governments, such as between the Nunavik and Quebec governments, Nunavik and Canada, Nunavik, the Cree and the “Jamesians,” Nunavik and Nunavut;
financial arrangements such as block funding with Quebec, transfers from Canada, revenue sharing, taxation powers and the ability to incur debt;
measures to promote and enhance Inuit culture in Nunavik, including the use of Inuktitut in a Nunavik government.
The seven-member commission will have eight months to carry out its research and develop its recommendations. Within three months of tabling its recommendations, the commission will meet all the parties involved in the accord to present and discuss its conclusions.
Some guidelines are already spelled out in the accord.
For example, it says that the government will be a public government, “open to all permanent residents of Nunavik” and respect the authority of the Quebec National Assembly and the Canadian parliament. The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and the Quebec Charter of Human Rights and Freedom will also continue to apply.
It also says that the design of the Nunavik government “may also be innovative in nature” and respect the “Arctic character” of Nunavik as well as “the close relationship between Inuit of Nunavik and Nunavut.”
The accord promises that there will be training programs to encourage the “greatest number of Nunavik residents to fill positions within the Nunavik government.”
Although the accord doesn’t set out a specific timetable for the establishment of the government, it does say that there will be an implementation process for the government and a vote by Nunavik residents before it’s implemented.
All the signing parties to the accord and Nunavik’s organizations will receive the commission’s final report.
Included in the territory covered by the accord is the entire area of Quebec north of the 55th parallel, with the exception of lands held by Cree and Naskapi.