Nunavik honours “Ti-Guy” Chevrette

No longer in Bernard Landry’s PQ government, Guy Chevrette will be remembered fondly in Nunavik

By JANE GEORGE

TASIUJAQ — Tears came to Ti-Guy’s eyes in Tasiujaq last week when Makivik Corporation presented him with a spectacular soapstone carving as well as a plaque honouring his contribution to Nunavik.

“We are proud of all the work you did when you were minister,” Makivik president Pita Aatami said. “We were sad when you resigned.”

Last January, Guy Chevrette, Quebec’s former minister of native affairs, chose to resign rather than get turfed out of the cabinet by Premier Bernard Landry.

Called “Ti-Guy” (“petite” or little Guy) for his small stature, Chevrette had served the Parti Québécois loyally for six terms and held many ministerial portfolios.

During his tenure as native affairs minister, Chevrette visited Nunavik on many occasions.

Aatami invited Chevrette to Makivik’s annual general meeting to thank him for his efforts on behalf of Nunavimmiut. The two knew each other well, since Aatami had accompanied Chevrette on a tour of Europe last year to promote the status of native peoples within Quebec.

“It’s the first time I have received an invitation since the 29th of January,” Chevrette told the gathering. “You are an exemplary aboriginal nation. That’s why I spontaneously accepted the invitation of your leader, Pita Aatami.”

Chevrette applauded the conclusion of negotiations leading to last week’s signing of the economic deal in Tasiujaq. Work on these talks started when Chevrette was still minister.

Chevrette said self-government negotiations will be the next big step forward for Nunavik.

“Every man can be replaced,” Chevrette said. “But what we did will produce fruit.”

Chevrette said he had always taken his relationship with Inuit to heart. “The next time you see me here will be as a fisherman,” Chevrette said.

After speaking to Makivik delegates, Chevrette went to put on snow-pants, felt-lined boots and the warm Inuk-style parka he received from Nunavimmiut when he was minister.

A delighted Chevrette then went off to spend the rest of the afternoon ice fishing with Tasiujaq’s mayor, Willie Cain.

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