Progress undefined
NWT still waiting for joint statement

by Richard Gleeson
Northern News Services

NNSL (Feb 24/97) - At the conclusion of the Cambridge Bay summit, chairman Kelvin Ng said officials of the three parties would produce a joint statement of progress.

But rifts that developed during the two-day discussion of Footprints 2 have yet to heal.

Instead of a joint statement, Nunavut Tunngavik Inc. and the Nunavut caucus issued individual statements.

NTI claimed it was "the only one of the three parties at the table that came prepared" and accused the Nunavut caucus of announcing a plebiscite would be held on gender parity before discussion of the issue had concluded.

In the statement NTI refers to, the GNWT outlined its position on gender parity.

There was far less finger-pointing in Nunavut caucus co-chairman John Ningark's statement to the legislative assembly Tuesday.

Ningark outlined the view of the Nunavut caucus on what decisions were reached at the meeting:

  • a plebiscite will be held on gender parity

  • the premier of Nunavut will be elected by the people, rather than by fellow MLAs

  • the Nunavut legislature will consist of 20 to 22 members, half that amount if gender parity is defeated

  • the first election will be held January or February of 1999

  • the design and scheduling of Nunavut bureaucracy outlined in Footprints 2 remains

  • the three parties will jointly calculate the cost of the model proposed

Federal funding for the creation and operation of the new government remains unclear.

Indian and Northern Affairs Minister Ron Irwin said he couldn't say when legislation to provide the funding might reach the Senate, no could he predict what the Senate would do with the bill.