Obligations were met
Manitok Thompson says Article 24 was followed
BAKER LAKE (Oct 06/99) - Despite concerns raised by local MLA Glen McLean, Public Works Minister Manitok Thompson says every effort was made to ensure the government's obligations were met in the contract awarded to Nortuk Construction Ltd.
The contract was to increase capacities and upgrades to the fuel facility of the Baker Lake tank farm.
McLean had written to Thompson complaining there is absolutely no Inuit content at the local level of the $2.45-million project.
"We are all well aware Inuit firms should be used for any work in Nunavut, but, in the case of this contract, none are being used at the local level," said McLean.
"No Inuit firms were even contacted for price quotes for any work and, to me, that is unacceptable. Is Article 24 going to be ignored?"
Thompson maintains a minimum 10 per cent Inuit labour content for the project was established.
She said Nortuk is using an Inuit workforce for demolition, earthworks, fencing, fuel transfer and tank cleaning.
Thompson said her department is not ignoring its obligations under Article 24 of the Nunavut Final Agreement.
The minister said in addition to publicly advertising through local media, her department gave advance notice to NTI of the tender opportunity in accordance with government contracting procedures approved by NTI.
"Mr. McLean hasn't come over to talk to me further on the issue since receiving my letter regarding the matter, so I'm assuming he was satisfied by my response," said Thompson.
"This was a public tender on a specialized job that had do be done. If it's for construction of a house or something like that, I suppose you could go and sole source it, but, then again, you're not being fair to everybody by doing that."
Thompson said the Nunavut government takes very seriously its responsibility to monitor its efforts in developing local businesses.
"I talked to my staff right away concerning this project and told them we have to ensure the 10 per cent Inuit content is addressed because that's what the local MLA had focused on.
"I have confidence my staff did its job."
NTI's Brian McLeod acknowledged RIAs are responsible for letting Inuit firms in their regions know about available tenders.
"These things are all posted in local newspapers and that's all I feel comfortable saying on the matter," said McLeod.
"This has become somewhat of a political issue and any statements coming from NTI should come from the president, Jose Kusugak."
Kusugak has not returned numerous phone calls from Kivalliq News on the matter.