Quebec signed a major package deal on economic
development this week that will see at least $900
million of Quebec City's money flow into Nunavik over
the next 25 years.
of the James Bay and Northern Quebec Agreement will vote
within the coming month on the deal in a Nunavik-wide
leaders describe the pact as a renewal of the 1975 James
Bay and Northern
Quebec agreement that finally implements the James Bay
vision for northern Quebec.
Landry, Quebec’s premier, described the deal as a mark
of Quebec’s absolute
respect for Inuit and a sign of the trust between
Québécois and Inuit.
He said an inukshuk erected near Quebec’s parliament
building will symbolize
the friendship between Quebec and Nunavik.
deal is intended to speed up development of the region’s
and tourism potential.
it, Quebec and Nunavik agree how to share the financial
benefits of this development, and
the residents of Nunavik get better public services and
agreement’s 14-page preamble defines it as a
"nation-to-nation" agreement, strengthening
political, economic and social relations
between Quebec and the Inuit of Nunavik.
30 per cent of Quebec’s native peoples have
struck similar deals with the separatist Parti
Québécois government. But Landry said the Nunavik
agreement differs from the $3.5-billion
mega-deal that Quebec signed in February with the James
a big difference, because with the Crees there was a
quarrel, so we called
it ‘a peace,’ Landry said during a stopover in
Kuujjuaq. Here, it’s a partnership, an
delegates to the signing wondered whether their
aboriginal rights could
be diminished by the deal, and expressed worries about
the environmental impact
of hydroelectric projects on marine and animal life.
the overall reaction was positive. Delegates gave
members a standing ovation
in recognition of their negotiation efforts. The new
deal is scheduled to be
formally approved by summer.
season of exploration, which will help determine whether
the Coronation Gulf region hosts profitable
Preliminary results from the region are
comparable to early diamond counts from the Lac de Gras area of the
Northwest Territories, where diamond mines are now in production or under
Meanwhile, the promising results have
touched off a staking rush. More than 2,500 claims covering about
5.9-million acres have been staked south of Coronation Gulf. Leading the search are
Kennecott Canada (in partnership with Tahera Corporation), Ashton Mining, and
Rhonda Corporation, which all made significant diamond discoveries on
their properties last year before winter weather closed in on the region.
Collectively, the trio is expected to spend an estimated $10 million in 2002.
Kennecott, a division of multinational
Rio Tinto, is already drilling the diamond-bearing Anuri kimberlites on Tahera’s
Rockinghorse property and will test another 15-20 kimberlites as part
of a $1.5-million program.
Meanwhile, the partners will continue
work on the more advanced Jericho diamond project, which
— although too small at this stage — could develop into Nunavut’s first diamond mine if more
resources can be found.
Rhonda is awaiting results of a nine-tonne
sample taken from the Knife pipe last spring by joint-
venture partner De
Beers. The junior recently raised $1.8 million to explore the adjoining Inulik
property, where it is currently flying a geophysical survey to generate
kimberlite targets for drilling.
But despite the frantic land grab, a
patchwork of about 1.7 million acres of ground within Coronation Gulf remains
untouched: This is Inuit-owned land, 36 distinct parcels on which Inuit
hold mineral rights. Nunavut Tunngavik Inc. (NTI) is currently revamping its
standard agreement for companies that want to explore there.
"Our ground is sitting like islands
in the middle of a sea of staking," says Wayne Johnson, senior advisor on
minerals and oil and gas for NTI’s lands and resources department. "We may have
missed some of the fever, but people who are serious about finding diamonds will
be talking to us."
The standard agreement for companies
exploring Inuit-owned lands includes small payments and work commitments plus
a 12 per cent net profit royalty on any future production.
In the Coronation Gulf region, where the
demand for ground is high, NTI will revise the agreement so that the
Inuit corporation retains a carried interest in the properties.
a key economic activity in Nunavut, has the potential to
play an even greater role in strengthening
Nunavut’s economy and
jobs. Nunavut Tourism says the big
challenge now is to make three things happen in the tourism industry at
the same time — destination marketing, product development, and training.
Nunavut’s tourism industry has set
itself a full agenda for the next few years.
Additional priorities include developing
industry standards, and increasing revenue and product development in most types of
A growing specialized market is the
cruise ship industry. Ships currently visit communities like Pond Inlet, Cape
Dorset, Kimmirut and Pangnirtung.
The Conference Board of Canada, in its
Nunavut Economic Outlook published last year, found that at each community
visited, passengers spend about $5,000 on arts and crafts, and food and
interpretive events. Nunavut Tourism is working on a management plan to develop an
infrastructure to increase these revenues.
On the horizon is the completion of the
Canada’s North Tourism Partnership, an agreement between Nunavut Tourism and
the Yukon and NWT tourism organizations.
The partnership would work on joint
projects, including joint marketing promotions, and shared
contracting for trade shows and advertising.
The relationship would not stop Nunavut
from working in other jurisdictions and with other partners.
years on, talks are still continuing at several levels
on the proposed Nunavut-Manitoba road. Money from Ottawa
may be forthcoming once
Nunavut meets several conditions. One of the two key
items Ottawa is looking for before committing funds,
that of a letter of support passed by Nunavut’s
cabinet, is expected to be issued very soon.
other requirement is the backing of Nunavut Tunngavik
Nunavut-Manitoba road is one of three routes the Nunavut
government views as current priorities — the other two
being the Bathurst Inlet road and a
proposed road from Iqaluit to Kimmirut. The Bathurst
Inlet project is seen as a
model to follow.
Manitoba government views a road linking it with its
northern neighbour as no less than nation building,
calling the projected $20-million cost for a winter
road, together with an estimated $7 million in annual
maintenance "very cost effective nation
Manitoba communities are now connected by winter road.
"Winter roads are a permanent feature for
Manitoba," Ashton said, adding that it’s good planning to adopt the same
route for a winter road as for an all-weather road.
of the five proposed routes link Rankin Inlet, Whale
Cove and Arviat to Churchill and Gillam, connecting at
Gillam to Manitoba’s highway network.
other three routes swing further west to hook up with
the provincial highway system at Lynn Lake. Extensions
of the road from Rankin Inlet to Chesterfield Inlet and
Baker Lake are also envisioned, as well as a possible
ice road from Churchill
along the west coast of Hudson Bay.
years ago, much to the alarm of local residents,
several houses located in the far northern
Quebec village of Salluit’s new
started to slide. Since then, all 20 houses have been
relocated to new places, on more stable land within the
a cue from this incident, Quebec has been making plans
to move buildings in other Nunavik communities where
melting permafrost may cause havoc.
authorities say nine communities in Nunavik have
structures built on a
deep layer of permanently frozen clay or mud that is at
risk of thawing.
wants to identify alternative sites and put plans in
place if it’s necessary to
move buildings in the future, as the permafrost’s
temperature has already increased by two degrees which
has been called "substantial."
permafrost melts, it’s likely to cause anything built
on it to move in a kind of slow motion. The life of
people doesn’t change, but the structure does. It
could take one or two weeks, so we would have time to
1978, a body called the Committee on the Status
of Endangered Wildlife in Canada, or COSEWIC,
has kept lists of wildlife and plant
they believe to be in danger of extinction in Canada.
now the committee has no legal mandate. But under Ottawa’s
species at risk bill
the committee would get its direction from a new
federal-provincial ministers’ body called the Canadian
Endangered Species Council.
Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami fears that if the National
Aboriginal Council on Species at Risk is not provided
for under the new act, then Inuit and other aboriginal
people may have little say about how wildlife species
are their current lists of most major Nunavut and
on the "endangered" list.
Bowhead whale (Eastern Arctic): April, 1980
Bowhead whale (Western Arctic): April, 1986
Beluga (Southeast Baffin-Cumberland Sound):
Beluga (Ungava Bay) April, 1988
Peary Caribou (High Arctic)
on the "threatened" list
Beluga (Eastern Hudson Bay): April, 1988
Peary Caribou (Low Arctic): April, 1991
Peregrine Falcon: May, 2000
on the "special concern" list
Beluga (Eastern High Arctic-Baffin Bay): April,
Polar Bear: April, 1999
Grizzly Bear: April, 1991
to Bathurst Inlet would provide greater access to
mineral-rich areas in the Kitikmeot area and spark the
development of numerous
projects. The project’s organizers envision building
an 180-mile all-weather road from Bathurst Inlet to the
winter road on Contwoyto Lake and continuing
on to the Izok Lake deposit, southeast of Kugluktuk (Coppermine).
deep-water port, located at Bathurst Inlet, is the
second component. The port will be complete with a
wharf, a dock for barges and a storage facility.
the road and port will give mining companies cheaper and
easier access to the mineral-rich land. The Lupin,
Diavik, Ekati, Jericho and Hope Bay mines are all
potential users of the proposed all-weather road and
Mining Corp., owner of the Izok Lake property 250
kilometres southeast of Kugluktuk, is banking on the
Bathurst Inlet road and port. The infrastructure would
give the mining company a sure route to Izok Lake.
on the list is an environmental impact statement, which
Keen said will likely be ready by December 2002.
Construction on the $215-million road and port is slated
to begin in mid-2004 and that it could be operating by
groups behind the Bathurst Inlet project — Kitikmeot
Corporation, territorial and federal government
departments, and Inmet Mining — have put $6 million
into studying the possibility of building a road and
wildlife groups have said construction of a road and a
port could negatively affect the caribou that calve and
migrate in the area. But Keen said protecting wildlife
and the environment are a top priority.