Nunavut: From Tundra to Territory
By John Corcelli
Get out your maps. Journalists are going to have a brand new Canadian
topic to cover in 1999. It's about a major change in the governance
of Canada's North. The Northwest Territories are about to be divided
to form Nunavut and the Western Territory effective April 1st, 1999.
An idea 25 years in the making.
Geographically, it means a redrafting of the map of Canada. The
Western Territory will have Yellowknife as its capital and will
include most but not all of the District of Mackenzie. Nunavut,
1.9 million square kilometres in size, will include all of the territory
from the western line of the District of Keewatin, Baffin Island
and the District of Franklin to the North Pole. The capital will
be Iqaluit on Baffin Island. The Western Territory will not border
the Arctic Ocean northward; this area will be part of Nunavut.
The transition to Nunavut has been laid out by the Nunavut Caucus
and its responsibilities include the creation of an Action Plan
leading to the April 1st date. The Nunavut government will have
an elected Assembly of 19 members and a Commissioner of Nunavut.
The new government is being planned as a decentralized one. The
estimated start-up cost is $150 million over three years.
As the Caucus has said, "The establishment of the Nunavut
Government will be the fulfillment of the long held aspirations
of the people of Nunavut to have their own government. [This] represents
an historic moment in Canadian history." Eva Arreak in the
Nunavut Communications Office told me that the people are very excited
by the fulfillment of long established land claims becoming a reality.
"The territory now has a real identity with representation
and a vision for the future," she said. And that's the difference
with Nunavut: it's an idea from the people themselves in co-operation
with the Federal Government. The people are going to get a Territorial
government responsive to their needs, in their language.You're going
to hear a lot more about Nunavut in the next year. Parliamentary
Names & Numbers will have listings for the new
territorial governments as they become available. In the meantime,
you can contact the Nunavut Public Affairs office in Iqaluit at
Let the celebration begin!
John Corcelli is a National Account Manager for Sources.
Sources, 489 College
Street, Suite 201, Toronto, ON M6G 1L9.
Phone: (416) 964-7799 FAX: (416) 964-8763
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