Kuujjuaq, August 24, 2007 – Thirty years after the signing of the James Bay and Northern Québec Agreement, the historic Katimajiit meeting, which was held in Kuujjuaq on August 23 and 24, 2007, has made it possible to mobilize decision-makers at all levels of government and Inuit leaders with a view to opening new horizons in the development of Nunavik. The meeting, co-chaired by Pita Aatami, President of Makivik Corporation, Maggie Emudluk, Chairperson of the Kativik Regional Government, Québec Premier Jean Charest and the Honourable Chuck Strahl , Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development and Federal Interlocutor for Métis and Non-Status Indians, also gave rise to tangible commitments that will promote, like never before, the socioeconomic development of the Inuit communities.
“Over the last few days, we have paved the way for our common future. My government intends to accompany the Inuit in their socioeconomic development. We will achieve this development together for the benefit of our communities and of Québec as a whole,” indicated Québec´s Premier.
Concerned about the situation of young people in Nunavik, the Government of Québec has agreed to take whatever steps are necessary to protect youth and to significantly improve the living conditions of Inuit communities. The efforts and the sums devoted in such fields as housing, education and culture as well as the sharing of the expertise of professionals working in the health and social services network will also contribute to offering young Inuit and their community better conditions to learn, to develop and to find self-fulfillment.
“I am confident that by working together, we will succeed in building a better Nunavik particularly by eradicating the distress felt by our children. Today, I call upon all the Inuit of Nunavik: we need to act quickly to give our children the means to realize their ambitions,” stated Pita Aatami, President of Makivik Corporation.
The Government of Québec has also undertaken to make sure that progress is achieved when it comes to the region´s priorities. With this goal in mind, investments totaling $27.5 million will make it possible to offer tangible support to economic development projects initiated by the Inuit communities. To protect the environment and ensure the sustainable development of Québec´s Far North, the government will support the cleaning up of abandoned mining sites.
Canada´s new Government has announced the allocation of close to $21 million to expand access to broadband services for the 43 communities of Northern Manitoba, Northern Ontario and Northern Québec. While the responsibilities of the Federal Government in Nunavik are governed by the James Bay and Northern Québec Agreement, the Federal Government has agreed to take an active part in improving the living conditions of the residents of Nunavik.
“Real day-to-day quality of life issues like education, economic development, culture and infrastructure, are the foundations for prosperous sustainable communities. Canada´s new Government will continue to work to improve quality of life of Inuit as it is in the best interest of all Canadians to ensure that all Inuit, from children to seniors, not only have access to, but benefit from better living conditions,” said Minister Chuck Strahl.
“The discussions of the last two days have been important and productive. They send a clear signal that all stakeholders must work together in committed partnership if we are to make progress on the issues that are important to inuit – individuals and communities. The new Government of Canada will continue to work towards improving the quality of life of the Inuit,” declared Minister Lawrence Cannon.
The parties have also agreed to set up a tripartite follow-up mechanism made up of political representatives of all levels of government. “The Katimajiit Round Table will see to the follow-up on the implementation of the measures that we have agreed upon together at the conference and will help ensure that the spirit of this conference guides the future development of Nunavik,” stated Maggie Emudluk, Chairperson of the Kativik Regional Government.
“Beyond the discussions, beyond the commitments and beyond the sums invested, the objective must be to take control of development, to mobilize and to assume responsibility, both individually and collectively, in order to build a better future here and now. We have many challenges to take up and projects to carry out. We must work together with the Inuit to offer our young people and our children an open, partnership-oriented society in which they can grow, blossom and find self-fulfillment,” recalled Premier Charest.
Office of the Premier
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