Quebec, Makivik to sign Nunavik Accord next week

Quebec Premier Lucien Bouchard and Makivik Corporation President Pita Aatami will sign an agreement next week that will lead to self-government for the people of Nunavik.


MONTREAL — The long-awaited Nunavik Accord is expected to be signed next week, even though the Quebec government didn’t quite meet its June 24 deadline for the signing the document.

“But I’m not disappointed,” said Pita Aatami, the president of the Makivik Corporation. “It’s just a delay.”

In fact, Quebec’s council of ministers is expected to approve the accord on Monday, June 28.

Their approval is the last major hurdle standing in the way of the deal’s signature by Quebec Premier Lucien Bouchard early next week.

This accord will create a Nunavik Commission, which will develop a timetable, plan of action, and recommendations for the structure and operations of a new public government for Nunavik.

This commission would start up sometime after the summer.

“It will be the beginning of a big operation that has precedent in Quebec or in Canada, within any province,” said Fernand Roy, the Quebec government’s chief negotiator for the accord. “That’s why it has been so taken so long to reach an agreement, because it was within a province, and this province, in particular.”

In anticipation of the deal’s official signing by the Quebec government, a scheduled tour of Nunavik next week by Public Security Minister Serge Ménard was cancelled at the last minute.

Instead, Makivik’s leadership, as well as members of the Kativik Regional Government, have been summoned to Quebec City on Tuesday, June 29.

The Nunavik delegation will attend a morning meeting with other First Nations leaders to discuss Quebec’s plans to increase its economic and political partnerships with native peoples.

A special meeting for Inuit and Premier Bouchard and Native Affairs Minister Guy Chevrette has been scheduled for the afternoon. At this time, or possibly in front of the larger meeting, the parties could sign the long-awaited Nunavik political accord.

Nunavik, and the organizations created by the 1975 James Bay and Northern Quebec Agreement, will be represented by Makivik’s president, Pita Aatami.

The accord will then require only the signature of federal Indian Affairs Minister Jane Stewart to take effect.

Donat Savoie, the federal government’s chief negotiator for the accord, said his department will study the final approved version of the deal before the minister signs it on behalf of Canada.

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