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New Nunavut assembly sets its sights on next four years

After a week of discussions in Pond Inlet that concluded Feb. 23, Nunavut's fifth legislative assembly has a mandate – Turaaqtavut (our goals).

The members of the 5th Legislative Assembly met in Pond Inlet last week and, by Feb. 23, had the government's mandate, Turaaqtavut, in hand.
photo courtesy Cindy Rennie

But until the document is tabled, sometime toward the end of the winter sitting set to conclude March 20, only the broad themes are known:

  • Inuusivut (our lives): working towards community and social well-being;
  • Pivaallirutivut (our opportunities): developing the territory’s economy and infrastructure base;
  • Sivummuaqpalliajjutivut (our tools for pursuing our goals): strengthening education and training;
  • Inuunivut (our Inuitness): recognizing Nunavut as a distinct territory in Canada and the world; and,
  • Katujjiqatigiinnivut (our unity): Building closer partnerships with the Government of Canada and Inuit organizations.

"Turaaqtavut reflects a collaborative and collective approach to defining our government's mandate for the next four years," stated Premier Paul Quassa in a news release.

"Our deliberations in Pond Inlet built on the cabinet’s work to date and afforded members of the legislative assembly with the opportunity to articulate and advance priorities for their constituencies and the territory as a whole."

The first session of the fifth assembly reconvenes March 6, at which point the assembly will consider and approve the 2018-2019 capital estimates. Once that's done, Nunavut Commissioner Nellie Kusugak is expected to end the first session. The following day, the second session will begin with Kusugak's Throne Speech.

Turaaqtavut is then expected to be tabled.

Nunavummiut should see a review of the Official Languages Act, the Inuit Language Protection Act, and the Representative for Children and Youth Act during the life of this government, as these are legally required.

Creating a new ombudsperson position for the territory will be also be considered, according to the release.

"My colleagues and I look forward to working with the government to achieve measurable results for Nunavummiut," stated chair of the regular members' caucus and Arviat North-Whale Cove MLA John Main.

Speaker and Tununiq MLA Joe Enook hosted the mandate gathering in his home community. Members met with community leaders and received presentations regarding local issues of concern, according to the release.

Baffinland Iron Mines Corporation senior executives also addressed members on the status of the Mary River Mine, including training and employment initiatives for Nunavut Inuit.