Nunavut premier holds one-on-one discussion with PM on territory’s priorities
Premier Eva Aariak leaves with promise that Harper is committed to devolution
While the leaders of Inuit organizations prepared to meet with Prime Minister Stephen Harper during the afternoon of Aug. 22 in Rankin Inlet, Premier Eva Aariak met one-on-one with Harper Aug. 22, when she said they discussed “Nunavut’s priorities.”
These include starting devolution talks soon, she said in an Aug. 22 statement.
“I expressed the growing concerns in Nunavut over the time it is taking to get face-to-face negotiations on devolution underway,” Aariak said.
“Now that the Northwest Territories and Canada have concluded a devolution agreement, Nunavut is the last remaining jurisdiction to have decisions about its land and resources made by ministers in Ottawa.”
In a corrected version of her statement, Aariak said simply that she is “very pleased that Prime Minister Harper once again confirmed his support for devolution” and dropped a reference to the idea of substantial talks starting by 2014.
“I find things are moving very, very slowly,” Aariak was quoted as telling reporters in Rankin Inlet. “I am getting more and more concerned about the fact that the start of devolution negotiations is taking longer than expected.”
Also on the agenda during the meeting with Harper: “important areas for federal investment in our economic development,” including the need for federal money for hydroelectric development and marine infrastructure in Nunavut.
Aariak said Harper agreed to talk more with the Government of Nunavut on these areas of economic development.
Aariak also talked with Harper about search and rescue and how climate change affects Nunavut.
She said she welcomed Harper’s Aug. 22 announcement that the mapping of Nunavut’s geology will continue.
“This mapping will encourage exploration investment by providing a clearer picture of our mineral and energy potential, while also helping communities, governments and regulatory bodies make prudent decisions about planning and development,” Aariak said.