IMPORTANT NEWS – New talks of land and resource devolution
DID News Alert “Nunavut’s lands and natural resources rightfully belong to Nunavummiut to develop and protect…reclaiming the ability to make decisions about how our lands and resources are managed is the next chapter in building self-reliance.” These are Nunavut Premier Eva Aariak’s words concerning her government’s interest in renewing talks with the federal government on devolution. At the moment, all royalties from land resources in Nunavut go directly to the federal government, who then decides how much to give back to the territory. For the Nunavut government this is no longer acceptable. The two other territories, Yukon and N.W.T., have made agreements with the federal government that allow them to receive direct royalties from resource development just like the Canadian provinces. These territories receive royalties that are 50% of their expenditures on resource development. So for example, in 2010 the N.W.T. spent $1.2 billion on land resources, so they received $60 million in royalties. For many people this is still inadequate, but it is at least a start in the right direction.
The situation is complicated in Nunavut because of the NLCA, and a devolution deal with Ottawa would have to be consistent with the terms of the NLCA. Some private organizations like Nunavut Tunngavik Inc. have already started receiving royalties, see link here: http://www.isuma.tv/lo/en/did-news-alert/important-inuit-land-claim-gets-first-royalty-payment-for-22-million, and NTI predicts these royalties be in the hundreds of millions. But where that money will be invested does not seem to be certain.
There were talks of devolution in 2007, but they stopped when the federal government judged that the administrative staff of the Nunavut government was unprepared and not trained enough to manage a transfer of land resource rights. Aariak says that this is no longer the case, and that there is a large number of Inuit who are competent and well trained for management positions. Also, if Ottawa is so concerned with the management capacity in Nunavut, perhaps it should help create programs that would train Nunavummiut for such positions. This is something Aariak says the federal government has promised to do.
Here are links to some recent articles on devolution (pdf files of the articles are to your left under 'attached files')