What to expect during the 1st sitting of Nunavut’s new government

4 finance bills, commissioner’s address and new mandate on the agenda

Lorne Kusugak, the government house leader, says he’s looking forward to working with his colleagues during the first sitting of the sixth legislative assembly. (Photo by Mélanie Ritchot)

By Mélanie Ritchot

More than three months after they were sworn into their roles, the ministers and MLAs that make up Nunavut’s sixth legislative assembly are scheduled to begin their winter sitting Monday.

The sitting, originally scheduled for the end of February, was postponed because of the ongoing Omicron wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Lorne Kusugak, the government house leader, said four bills the new government’s mandate and a commissioner’s address are on the agenda for this session.

“This will be a busy first session for our government,” he said.

Monday will be the first time since last October’s election that MLAs will get down to the business of legislating. They sat briefly in November, but it was only long enough to appoint a Speaker, pick a Premier and select cabinet ministers.  The winter sitting is scheduled to last until March 22, according to the legislative assembly’s calendar.

First, Finance Minister Adam Arreak Lightstone will introduce the bills. Then, Nunavut Commissioner Eva Aariak will deliver an opening address before Premier P.J. Akeeagok tables the mandate for the new government.

“We also have a host of new members that will be anxiously waiting question period so they can bring forth the concerns of their constituents,” Kusugak said.

“I am looking forward to working with all my colleagues as this government starts off.”

The group of 22 members decided on five core priorities for the new government at a caucus retreat last year, including a new elder care strategy, investments in education, better health, mental health and addiction services, as well as housing; and economic diversification.

In mid-January, Akeeagok and his group of ministers had another retreat to determine what the government’s mandate will be.

The four bills to be introduced next week are related to the Government of Nunavut’s finances. 

Bill 1, the Interim Appropriations Act, is a “gap-filling” budget, which would approve $540 million to operate the government until the end of June. 

Bill 2, the Capital Appropriations Act, is also budget-related. For this one, each minister will have to go in front of the committee of the whole to present and defend the amounts of money they’ve requested for their departments.

For example, the Finance Department will be seeking approval to use more than $200 million for capital projects, like the long-term elder care centre in Rankin Inlet, said Kusugak.

A few new other projects will also be introduced, he said, adding that earlier this month MLAs were in Iqaluit to discuss specifics with ministers.

Through Bill 3, the supplementary operations and maintenance appropriations bill, some departments will be seeking MLAs’ approval to increase what they’re allowed to spend in the fiscal year that begins April 1.

Bill 4, the Write off of Assets and Debts Act, is related to accounting adjustments. For example, if a fire caused serious damage to a public housing unit, the value of that asset drops, Kusugak said.

This is a routine bill that needs to be brought forward by law, but the information is represented in the books for the year ending in March 2021 and is already public. 

The sixth legislative assembly is scheduled to sit at 1:30 p.m. ET on Monday. The session can be streamed on the legislative assembly’s website.

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(6) Comments:

  1. Posted by Tonyangmarli on

    Got cable …what channel is it

  2. Posted by Northern Inuit on

    Sheesh finally? Surprised they didn’t it themselves to 50% capacity given their track.record these past months.

  3. Posted by Expectations on

    1. Some new faces.
    2. The same questions as previous sessions.
    3. The same non-answers from Ministers.
    4. A mandate that says what the government would like to accomplish, but won’t.
    5. More bills, containing more prohibitions.
    6. More reports being tabled that won’t be read – but that’s OK, because they contain no information, just pretty pictures.
    I hope I’m wrong, but I doubt it.

  4. Posted by Iqaluitmuta on

    The gn rather see our Inuit suffer came up with b&w & weed store in no time before treatment center way to go ?

    • Posted by Thirsty on

      i hope they make a building for the line for the beer and wine store. a place where we can wait in the warm and maybe have a big tv in the building playing just for laugh gags. everyone likes just for laugh gags and the language is universel

  5. Posted by Tooma on

    This govt needs more action and more focus on individual success and good behaviour. Abuse and harassment needs to be stopped, more professional way of living. Hope for the best


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