Nunavut Assembly sits in Kivalliq
Benefits outweigh costs, says premier

Darrell Greer
Northern News Services

Rankin Inlet (Feb 21/00) - The legislative assembly opened in Rankin Inlet this past week with all the pomp and ceremony would one expect for such a special visit.

Numerous youth and elders from the area took part in the assembly's official opening, ranging from the Leo Ussak elementary school choir to one of Nunavut's best-known elders, Mariano Aupilardjuk.

A number of local students are also serving as pages during the session.

Sustainable Development Minister Peter Kilabuk said the assembly's visit to Rankin Inlet is a wonderful opportunity for the Kivalliq Region to develop the level of communication its people have been calling for since the government was formed.

"The Kivalliq people want to be closer to the government and given more opportunities to present their concerns to members of the legislative assembly," said Kilabuk.

"We're happy we're holding this session in Rankin because it gives them exactly that opportunity.

"We're expecting to have a very productive couple of weeks."

Premier Paul Okalik discussed a number of issues during his opening remarks, including an update on decentralization.

He said assembly members have been overwhelmed by the hospitality they've received since arriving in Rankin and are very grateful for the community's efforts.

Okalik said time will be made available for local groups and citizens to address their MLAs, but the session is more about showing people in the Kivalliq Region what is actually involved in the legislative process.

"The legislative assembly members do a lot of work. This is a good way of showing the people outside of Iqaluit what's involved and for the people of the Kivalliq to be able to ask questions of those involved with the process."

Okalik said the benefits provided by holding a session in Rankin Inlet outweigh the costs involved.

"I believe this is really beneficial for everyone, not just for the people, but for the members themselves to see communities outside of Iqaluit while being in an actual session."