October 22, 2019 – Kuujjuaq, Nunavik – Makivik Corporation President Charlie Watt responded to the results of the Federal election with enthusiasm, both for the region of Nunavik, and for Canada at large. He congratulated the newly elected Member of Parliament for the riding of Abitibi-Baie-James-Nunavik-Eeyou Sylvie Bérubé for the Bloc Québécois, welcoming her to visit at her earliest opportunity.
“I look forward to meeting with her, and receiving her support for our work on Self-Determination, and on issues such as the implementation of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples,” said Charlie Watt.
Rather than viewing the electoral results as divisive for the country, Watt sees it as an opportunity for the Prime Minister to build unity in the country. “Justin Trudeau has a strong minority government, and he can work with the other parties – the NDP, the Bloc Quebecois, Greens, the Conservatives, and the Independent candidate – to pass bills and present them to the house, and in the process build national unity.”
Regarding the huge riding of Abitibi-Baie-James-Nunavik-Eeyou, Watt praised Inuit candidate Kiara Cabana-Whiteley of Kuujjuaq, who ran for the Green Party in the election and finished 5th with 1,006 votes (with 178 out of 197 polls reporting). “We are very proud of you Kiara. It does show that the riding is too large. We intend to follow up with the electoral boundaries commission to make the point, once again, that a Nunavik riding be created that reflects our region for Inuit, now more so considering the self-determination project we are working on. We need this at the provincial level as well.”
Watt had a message for the leader of the Bloc Quebecois Yves-François Blanchet as well. “We hope you are supportive of our development projects in Nunavik – both political and economic – and on that political terrain we can develop positive relations. However, on the issue of Quebec sovereignty, Inuit have a solid history of supporting a united Canada.”
The election of one of the youngest MPs in Canada, 25-year old Mumilaaq Qaqqaq of Baker Lake for the NDP in Nunavut brought back memories for Charlie Watt. “I remember the ITC meeting in Baker Lake in 1971 with Tagak Curley. We were all young back then. You’ll do well Mumilaaq, and I look forward to meeting you and working on Inuit Self Determination together, for the next generation.”
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Makivik is the land claims organization mandated to manage the heritage funds of the Inuit of Nunavik provided for under the James Bay and Northern Québec Agreement. Makivik’s role includes the administration and investment of these funds and the promotion of economic growth by providing assistance for the creation of Inuit-operated businesses in Nunavik. Makivik promotes the preservation of Inuit culture and language as well as the health, welfare, relief of poverty, and education of Inuit in the communities.