Countdown to Nunavut
Queen gives the royal nod
IQALUIT(Dec 07/98) - Nunavut might not get to keep the polar bear licence plate but, according to Meeka Kilabuk, it does have Queen Elizabeth's official approval.
As the symbols committee chairperson, Kilabuk announced last week the Queen had given the royal nod at the recommended designs for Nunavut's flag and coat-of-arms.
But a typically stalwart Kilabuk refused to give out any hints about what the designs may look like or who the winning artist was. She did say, however, that one artist was an Inuk from Nunavut and the other was an official government artist.
"The actual drawings were signed by the Queen and will be unveiled on April 1," said Kilabuk.
"This is very good news because the process has gone on for almost two years."
The symbols committee, a division of the Nunavut Implementation Commission, started the project in 1996 by putting a call out to all Canadians, asking for submissions for the new symbols. Kilabuk said they received more than 800 entries and it took the group months to narrow it down to a few samples to give to the Governor General. He then approved their recommendations and passed them on to Queen Elizabeth who, as Kilabuk put it, was most pleased to give her blessing.
"She was very happy girl, very happy and very proud."
Kilabuk said the territory's other symbols, including the bird, flower and mineral, will all be chosen by the Nunavut members of the legislative assembly once they take office.
While most Northerners will have to wait four more months for the unveiling, the department of health and social services and the legislative assembly will have access prior to April 1 in order to print health cards and government seals.
Nunavut Tunngavik announced last week that their vice-president of finance, Bernadette Tungilik, would move to Rankin Inlet next June and that their finance department would follow in October of 1999.
Members of NTI's general assembly passed the resolution during their meetings in Cambridge Bay earlier this month.
Officials within the organization said the move would be made as fast and as smoothly as possible and that because the four people employed by the department had chosen not to relocate, qualified staff would be recruited to step in.
Nunavut beneficiaries head to the poles in exactly one week, Dec. 14, to elect a new president and vice-president for the Qikiqtani Inuit Association.
Grise Fiord's Larry Audlaluk stepped into the position of president last June following Lazarus Arreak's resignation. He announced his intention to run in the upcoming election and joining him in the race is Qikiqtarjuaq's Pauloosie Keyootak and Clyde River's Tommy Enuaraq.
Acting QIA vice- president Pudloo Mingeriak of Kimmirut has been nominated for the vice- president's role and is up against Simon Qamanirq and Esa Tatatoapik, both of Arctic Bay.
Residents of many of the Baffin communities will also head to the poles the same day to elect municipal officials.
When acting Premier Goo Arlooktoo addressed the legislative assembly last week, he urged the MLAs that one of the most important tasks at hand was passing Eastern Arctic legislation.
Arlooktoo said the Bills, including the Divisions Measures Act, would permit Nunavut to contract services back to the GNWT for a period of time, provide interim arrangements for the Workers Compensation Board, the NWT Power Corp. and other organizations so they could all operate in both territories and to assist in making the transition to two new governments easier.
The assistant deputy minister of the Nunavut government's department of community government, housing and transportation said last week's conference in Iqaluit was a success.
Tom Sammurtok said the representatives from all 27 communities made it to the municipal sessions and it gave hamlet leaders the chance to air their concerns.
"It was successful in that at the end of the conference, we were able to obtain a lot of recommendations with respect to the community government, housing and transportation," said Sammurtok.
Mayors, senior administrative officers and housing representatives raised several concerns including the way hamlet contributions are provided, the way public housing rents are assessed, the high cost of living, the expense of air travel and the state of the territory's airstrips.
Sammurtok said representatives from some of the smaller communities noted that they felt left out of the Nunavut government loop, but he reassured them once the government was established and decentralization was completed, the department would be in a better position to help them.
Sammurtok also made a strong point of explaining to the more than 100 delegates that CGH&T was going to use the information it gained during the meeting to form departmental regulations and policies.
"We hope that we were able to convey to them that these recommendations are not going to just end up on the shelf," said Sammurtok, explaining that a concise report would be tabled in the Nunavut legislative assembly after April 1, 1999.
CGH&T, whose regional operations are set to move to Cape Dorset during decentralization, is an amalgamation of three GNWT departments including the department of municipal and community affairs, the housing corporation and transportation.