Signing of an agreement-in-principle on the Nunavik Regional Government - AN UNPRECEDENTED STEP HAS BEEN TAKEN

    QUEBEC, Dec. 5 /CNW Telbec/ - The Government of Québec, the Government of
Canada and Makivik Corporation have taken an unprecedented step by signing the
agreement-in-principle on the creation of the Nunavik Regional Government.
Giving tangible form to Inuit aspirations, the agreement-in-principle marks a
move towards the assumption of greater responsibility by the Inuit
communities. This agreement-in-principle follows in the wake of the James Bay
and Northern Québec Agreement.
    The first step of a broader process, the agreement-in-principle proposes
the creation of a new form of public regional government adapted to the needs
of Nunavik. This regional government will be headed by an Assembly made up of
21 members, including an executive council composed of five members elected by
the population of the entire region. The future institution of Nunavik will
hold the jurisdictions and the powers of the three amalgamated organizations:
the Kativik Regional Government, the Kativik School Board and the Nunavik
Health and Social Services Board. The jurisdictions and powers notably concern
the education, health, public security and transportation fields.
    "The agreement-in-principle signed today is at the heart of our desire to
promote, as never before, the socioeconomic development of the Inuit
communities. It aims to build an efficient government institution truly
adapted to the needs of Nunavik. First and foremost, it testifies to the
continuation of the profound ties of friendship that exist between Québec and
the Inuit," indicated Québec Premier Jean Charest.
    "In conjunction with the governments of Canada and of Québec, it is by
maximizing our efforts and by pooling our resources that we will be able to
more effectively advance the regional priorities of Nunavik and significantly
improve the living conditions in our communities. I am confident that together
and in the wake of the amalgamation of our public institutions and the
creation of a new government, we will succeed in building a better Nunavik for
the greater good of our communities and our children," stated Mr. Pita Aatami,
President of Makivik Corporation.
    "The Government of Canada has made a commitment to improve the quality of
life of the Inuit. We also want to see to it that the Inuit can make their own
decisions concerning the preservation and development of their distinctive
culture," indicated the Honourable Chuck Strahl, Federal Minister of Indian
Affairs and Northern Development Canada and Federal Interlocutor for Métis and
Non-Status Indians. "It will thus be possible to establish a climate that is
conducive to economic growth and self-sufficiency, a climate which, in turn,
will increase the standard of living and will continue to improve the quality
of life of the Inuit of Nunavik."
    Benoît Pelletier, Minister responsible for Aboriginal Affairs, emphasizes
that the agreement is a demonstration of the complementarity that henceforth
exists in the relations which the Government of Québec maintains with the
Inuit and Aboriginal communities. "Québec is today the result of the combined
forces of all the peoples who make up the province. Together, we must see to
it that our peoples have the necessary tools for their self-fulfillment and
participate in the consolidation of our collective identity."
    Finally, it should be emphasized that the future regional institution
will respect the authority of the Québec National Assembly and of the
Parliament of Canada.
    -%SU: CPN
    -%RE: 1

For further information:

For further information: Michel St-Germain, Communications Department,
Makivik Corporation, (514) 745-8880; Hugo D'Amours, Press secretary, Office of
the Premier, (418) 643-5321; Luc Fortin, Press secretary, Office of the
Minister responsible for Intergovernmental Affairs and Aboriginal Affairs,
(418) 646-5950; Philippe Mailhot, Press secretary, Office of the Honourable
Chuck Strahl, (819) 997-0002

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