Nunavik gives up jail for $10 million a year from Quebec
New money to pay for crime prevention, healing
New money and the promise of a larger nickel mine and heftier royalties: that’s what Quebec premier Jean Charest, his native affairs minister, Geoff Kelley, and Jacques Dupuis, his public security minister, brought to Nunavik last week.
They flew into Kuujjuaraapik to sign a deal that gives Nunavik money for healing and crime prevention instead of a new jail.
The deal, an amendment to the 2002 Sanarrutik Agreement on economic and community development, relieves Quebec of its obligation under the James Bay and Northern Quebec Agreement to build a provincial jail in Nunavik.
In exchange, it offers Nunavik money: more than $300 million over the next 22 years. The deal says Quebec will pay Makivik and the Kativik Regional Government $10 million this year and annually until 2030. This annual amount will be indexed and tax-free.
The money is to be a flexible tool designed to prevent and combat crime, to promote safe and healthy communities.
“This funding will be a beneficial tool for all Nunavimmiut,” Emudluk said.
This is what the new money will pay for:
* “culturally appropriate measures,” which improve the social environment, help crime victims and improve correctional activities for Nunavimmiut.
* justice committees in every community in Nunavik;
* funding for special projects or groups such as the new Nunavik women’s association and to help the region’s cash-strapped police.
A committee of no more than eight, who will be named by Makivik and the KRG, will determine what the regional needs are and set priorities for spending the money.
Some of the money can be directed towards the Kativik Regional Police Force, and also guarantees continued funding for the Makitautik Halfway House in Kangirsuk.
However, the deal means Quebec will not build an even larger detention facility in Nunavik.
This facility was called for in the 2002 Sanarrutik Agreement and in Section 20.0.25 of the JBNQA, which says, “Inuit should not be, unless circumstances so require, detained, imprisoned or confined in any institution below the 49th parallel.”
A 40-person jail was to be built in Inukjuak at a price tag of more than $40 million, not including $20 million for housing and an additional amount for training.
The amendment to the Sanarrutik Agreement means Quebec won’t build the jail.
“We find that this new amendment will provide a valuable tool to find means of improving our social fabric at a time that our society is addressing social concerns,” Aatami said.
During the Quebec officials visit to northern Quebec, Falconbridge Ltd. also announced that it will enlarge the Nunavik’s Raglan Mine and spend several million dollars on the expansion.
Falconbridge announced the launch of two important studies for the Raglan Mine expansion. The first will develop new ore reserves to replace those depleted since the mine’s opening in 1997.
Raglan now comprises three underground mines, one open-pit mine, as well as a concentrator. The site enjoys year-round road connections to a landing strip at Donaldson and to harbour facilities at Deception Bay. Ore from the mine is crushed, ground and processed into nickel-copper concentrate at the Raglan plant.
Raglan also plans to increase nickel ore production from one million tonnes per year to 1.3 million tonnes as early as 2009. This 30 per cent increase will create 50 additional jobs and increase the value of annual royalties Falconbridge pays to Nunavik.
In April, Falconbridge presented a $9.3 million cheque to the Makivik, covering the payment of the first royalties under the 1995 Raglan Agreement.