Conclusion of the KATIMAJIIT Conference - the Government of Quebec and the Government of Canada have consolidated their future ties and their friendship ties with the Inuit



    KUUJJUAQ, QC, Aug. 24 /CNW Telbec/ - Thirty years after the signing of
the James Bay and Northern Québec Agreement, the historic Katimajiit meeting,
which was held in Kuujjuaq on August 23 and 24, 2007, has made it possible to
mobilize decision-makers at all levels of government and Inuit leaders with a
view to opening new horizons in the development of Nunavik. The meeting,
co-chaired by Pita Aatami, President of Makivik Corporation, Maggie Emudluk,
Chairperson of the Kativik Regional Government, Québec Premier Jean Charest
and the Honourable Chuck Strahl, Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern
Development and Federal Interlocutor for Métis and Non-Status Indians, also
gave rise to tangible commitments that will promote, like never before, the
socioeconomic development of the Inuit communities.
    "Over the last few days, we have paved the way for our common future. My
government intends to accompany the Inuit in their socioeconomic development.
We will achieve this development together for the benefit of our communities
and of Québec as a whole," indicated Québec's Premier.
    Concerned about the situation of young people in Nunavik, the Government
of Québec has agreed to take whatever steps are necessary to protect youth and
to significantly improve the living conditions of Inuit communities. The
efforts and the sums devoted in such fields as housing, education and culture
as well as the sharing of the expertise of professionals working in the health
and social services network will also contribute to offering young Inuit and
their community better conditions to learn, to develop and to find
self-fulfillment.
    "I am confident that by working together, we will succeed in building a
better Nunavik particularly by eradicating the distress felt by our children.
Today, I call upon all the Inuit of Nunavik: we need to act quickly to give
our children the means to realize their ambitions," stated Pita Aatami,
President of Makivik Corporation.
    The Government of Québec has also undertaken to make sure that progress
is achieved when it comes to the region's priorities. With this goal in mind,
investments totaling $27.5 million will make it possible to offer tangible
support to economic development projects initiated by the Inuit communities.
To protect the environment and ensure the sustainable development of Québec's
Far North, the government will support the cleaning up of abandoned mining
sites.
    Canada's new Government has announced the allocation of close to
$21 million to expand access to broadband services for the 43 communities of
Northern Manitoba, Northern Ontario and Northern Québec. While the
responsibilities of the Federal Government in Nunavik are governed by the
James Bay and Northern Québec Agreement, the Federal Government has agreed to
take an active part in improving the living conditions of the residents of
Nunavik.
    "Real day-to-day quality of life issues like education, economic
development, culture and infrastructure, are the foundations for prosperous
sustainable communities. Canada's new Government will continue to work to
improve quality of life of Inuit as it is in the best interest of all
Canadians to ensure that all Inuit, from children to seniors, not only have
access to, but benefit from better living conditions," said Minister Chuck
Strahl.
    "The discussions of the last two days have been important and productive.
They send a clear signal that all stakeholders must work together in committed
partnership if we are to make progress on the issues that are important to
inuit - individuals and communities. The new Government of Canada will
continue to work towards improving the quality of life of the Inuit," declared
Minister Lawrence Cannon.
    The parties have also agreed to set up a tripartite follow-up mechanism
made up of political representatives of all levels of government. "The
Katimajiit Round Table will see to the follow-up on the implementation of the
measures that we have agreed upon together at the conference and will help
ensure that the spirit of this conference guides the future development of
Nunavik," stated Maggie Emudluk, Chairperson of the Kativik Regional
Government.
    "Beyond the discussions, beyond the commitments and beyond the sums
invested, the objective must be to take control of development, to mobilize
and to assume responsibility, both individually and collectively, in order to
build a better future here and now. We have many challenges to take up and
projects to carry out. We must work together with the Inuit to offer our young
people and our children an open, partnership-oriented society in which they
can grow, blossom and find self-fulfillment," recalled Premier Charest.

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For further information:

For further information: Hugo D'Amours, Press secretary, Office of the
Premier, (418) 643-5321; Ted Yeomans, Director of Communications Office of the
Honourable Chuck Strahl, (819) 997-0002; Julie Grenier, Communications
Coordinator, Kativik Regional Government, (819) 964-2961, extension 2317;
Michel St-Germain, Communications Department, Makivik Corporation, (514)
895-3871

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CABINET DU PREMIER MINISTRE, RESPONSABLE DES DOSSIERS JEUNESSE

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