Trudeau to sign Nunavut devolution agreement Thursday in Iqaluit

Prime minister visiting territory’s capital for first time since 2021; Akeeagok, Kotierk will also take part

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, shown during a 2021 election campaign stop in Iqaluit, will be in the city Thursday to sign a Nunavut devolution agreement. (File photo by Melanie Ritchot)

By Jeff Pelletier - Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will visit Iqaluit Thursday to sign a Nunavut devolution agreement with Premier P.J. Akeeagok and Nunavut Tunngavik Inc. president Aluki Kotierk.

The signing ceremony will take place in the afternoon, according to Trudeau’s public itinerary released by his office Wednesday. That will be followed by a news conference and a community celebration in the evening.

Devolution is the transferring of authority over federal lands, or Crown lands, from the federal government to the Government of Nunavut.

All other provinces and territories already have devolution agreements with the federal government.

Akeeagok has frequently spoken about devolution since he became premier in 2021.

“That’s something I’ve mentioned every bilateral meeting I’ve had with the prime minister, and I will continue to advocate for,” Akeeagok said in a 2023 interview.

“There’s mineral riches that are on Crown land and they would allow us to be able to build the economies that we see as a territory, and really, that’s the next chapter in our territory’s history that I’m very much looking forward to seeing concluded.”

The GN, federal government and NTI have engaged in devolution talks since 2014.

Those discussions stalled in late 2015 when Trudeau’s Liberals ousted Stephen Harper’s Conservative government in the federal election.

In 2019, the federal government and Nunavut signed a devolution agreement in principle outlining a five-year path to reach a final agreement.

“By devolving federal responsibilities, Nunavummiut will have the ability and the means to manage their decisions on how our public lands, freshwater and non-renewable resources are used and developed within Nunavut,” then-premier Joe Savikataaq said at the time.

Thursday’s visit will be Trudeau’s first to the Nunavut capital since a 2021 federal election campaign stop. His most recent trip to the territory was in 2022 when he visited Cambridge Bay with NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg.


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(14) Comments:

  1. Posted by Think About It on

    What could go wrong?
    After the debacle with Housing, now bureaucrats will add drinking water and land use oversight to their portfolios.
    With the Nunavut Land Use Plan has been in the works for, well since April 1st 1999, and how many Boil Water Advisory’s have been issued over the last couple of years.
    Yeah, what could go wrong

  2. Posted by Open Government on

    What ever happened to the concept of Open Government?
    Have you seen this agreement? Have you read it?
    I haven’t. I don’t know of anyone who has.
    Nunavut is going to get… what, exactly?
    And what will Nunavut have to give up in exchange… what, exactly?
    The GN will presumably have to take on considerable administrative responsibilities. That means many more positions to be filled. But the GN already has more than 1,000 vacant positions. Do we really need more positions, now? We do not have Nunavummiut to fill current vacancies. All we will be able to do is hire more people from the south to fill those positions.
    Is this why the GN recently posted a “work for the GN while living in southern Canada” hiring policy?
    “There’s mineral riches that are on Crown land and they would allow us to be able to build the economies that we see as a territory…”
    The Inuit Orgs already own all the land with identified mineral resources. The GN is going to have to wait for Global Warming to melt the glaciers before any mineral riches will be discovered on Crown Land.
    The mines now operating in Nunavut cannot find Inuit to fill all the available jobs. They have to fly workers to the mines from southern Canada. So who is going to earn money working in any new mines in the next few years? Not Nunavummiut.
    If this is such a good deal for Nunavut, why is it such a secret? Why wasn’t it published six months ago for us to read?
    “Something seems rotten in the…”

  3. Posted by on

    About time, now we just have to make sure that there are the right people with the right experience to handle it properly.

  4. Posted by Make Iqaluit Great Again on

    I have two things to say:
    1. This agreement perfectly sums up the Trudeau government: It has some symbolic value but it will do nothing in a concrete way to better people’s lives in Nunavut.

    2. I suppose the above comments illustrate the problem better than I will, but the GN has never explained how this agreement is good for us and will make us better off. Will it result in more revenue for the government? I’m not convinced of that at all. Looks to me like this will be a burden on the GN with having to pay for and staff more positions.

    This whole thing looks to me like a win for the Feds at the GN’s expense: The feds win by off loading a bunch of bureaucracy on the GN and the financial costs associated with it. Until the GN takes the time to explain in concrete terms how this is a win for us, I will continue to think this is a loser.

  5. Posted by TP on

    This is not going to be the golden goose that has been expected as the negotiations have progressed. Look at the Yukon and NWT – there was no burst of new infrastructure or improvements in the quality of life after their deals were executed. I expect that NTI will benefit the most from this with new responsibilities and an influx of cash to go along with it. It seems a little too convenient that they are setting up a new Department of Marine at NTI at the same time this deal is signed. Again, this government has been all about growing NTI’s power and influence as a sort of self government.

  6. Posted by Tired on

    You thought Nunavut was ineffectual now? Just wait until the handholding stops.

    We don’t need more autonomy right now, we need much, much less. Give us back to Yellowknife.

  7. Posted by Make Iqaluit Great Again on

    One more thing: This issue powerfully illustrates the problem with our democracy in Nunavut. This agreement has been in the works for a very long time now, and is touted as a really big deal for our Territory. However, did ordinary citizens ever get the chance to express their opinion on it through their vote in an election? Absolutely not. Was this ever discussed in an election campaign so that voters could let their views be known? Absolutely not. Did anyone directly or indirectly ever vote for this thing? Absolutely not.
    This agreement has been foisted on us by a bunch of unelected bureaucrats who think they know what’s best for us. The ordinary people have never had a say in this ever. We’re never going to get better in Nunavut until we change our democracy in a way that truly empowers us to make our own decisions.

  8. Posted by flabbergasted on

    Here is a person shown in a picture who is taxing all canadians, Inuit with the carbon tax. But, here he is standing on top of a ramp and shown in the back ground is his own private aircraft with his name on it. How is this carbon tax helping him with the climate change? What a hypocrite. Just proves to us that he’s saying one thing from one corner of his mouth but saying the complete opposite from the other side. A true politician.


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