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QUÉBEC AND THE INUIT SIGN A PARTNERSHIP AGREEMENT TO ACCELERATE THE DEVELOPMENT OF NUNAVIK

Tasiujaq, Tuesday April 9, 2002 - The Prime Minister of Québec, Mr. Bernard Landry, the Minister of State for Population, Regions and Native Affairs, Mr. Rémy Trudel, the President of the Makivik Corporation, Mr. Pita Aatami and the Chairman of the Kativik Regional Government, Mr. Johnny N. Adams, signed a partnership agreement between the government of Québec and the Nunavik Inuit this morning in Tasiujaq. The purpose of this agreement is to accelerate the economic and community development of Northern Québec.

This 25-year Agreement was concluded during the Annual General Meeting of the Makivik Corporation, which is the forum for bringing together the representatives from fourteen Inuit communities and Nunavik's major socio-economic stakeholders. On this occasion, the Prime Minister was also accompanied by Mr. Michel Létourneau, Minister for Native Affairs and Minister for the Development of Northern Québec, as well as by Mr. André Caillé, President and Chief Executive Officer of Hydro-Québec.

« This Agreement between the government of Québec and the Inuit is founded upon the relationship of trust that we have built over recent years. It confirms our desire to work together, with a common vision of the development of Nunavik. This partnership will give a new impetus to this region of Québec's North and offers the potential to lead to considerable economic benefits for Nunavik and for all of Québec », said the Prime Minister.

« What we are achieving today is the start of an authentic and close partnership between the government of Québec and the Inuit. This Agreement shows that we, just like the government of Québec, have realized the need to establish a new partnership. This Agreement illustrates the high level of co-operation, compromise and trust which has developed between us », emphasized Mr. Pita Aatami.



Accelerate Hydroelectric Development in the North

Several sites with great hydroelectric potential have been identified in Nunavik. Preliminary studies indicate that this potential could be as much as 6,300 MW to 7,200 MW. If this potential is fully realised, its implementation would result in investments of about 18 billion dollars and would create, in term of direct and indirect employment related to the construction of the hydroelectric plants and the manufacturing of the equipment, to the equivalent of 50,000 person-years in all Québec regions over many years.

Under the Agreement signed today, the Inuit undertake to work with the government of Québec to promote the development of these resources. For its part, Québec, through Hydro-Québec, will allocate 50 million dollars to conduct economic, technical and environmental studies to assess this potential and its future development.

« This Agreement opens up a whole new world. Hydro-Québec will work closely with the Inuit community of Northern Québec. The community wants to develop the hydroelectric potential of the territory. This is why we will assess together whether the projects are environmentally acceptable and profitable », Mr. André Caillé added.

Promote Greater Assumption of Responsibility by the Inuit for their Economic and Community Development

The Agreement provides for the Inuit assuming responsibility for economic and community development, until now the responsibility of the government of Québec under the James Bay and Northern Québec Agreement. To this end, the government of Québec will provide 7 million dollars in 2002-2003, 8 million dollars in 2003-2004 and 15 million dollars per year thereafter. Over the life of the Agreement, therefore, more than 360 million dollars will be provided to the Inuit.

« The Agreement thus promotes a greater assumption of responsibility by the Inuit for their economic and community development. It will also provide additional resources to organizations who must meet the needs of the community in the field », noted Mr. Rémy Trudel.

Simplify and Enhance the Effectiveness of Funding Provided to the Kativik Regional Government and the Northern Villages

By January 1st, 2004, at the latest, the government of Québec will bring together within one envelope the funds provided by the government of Québec to the Kativik Regional Government. The same approach will be used for each of the Northern Villages. Currently, there are several ministries and agencies which disburse these funds for a multitude of programs. The management of these funds will thus be simplified. In particular, the Kativik Regional Government and the Northern Villages will have greater autonomy in setting their priorities for action and discharging their mandates within their respective responsibilities. In this context, they should maintain the general level of services which they currently provide to their citizens.


Funding Priority Projects

Lastly, Québec has agreed to implement a certain number of priority projects, some evolving from the James Bay and Northern Québec Agreement, to improve public services and infrastructures in Nunavik. These projects will result in capital expenditures totalling 115 million dollars over the next ten years.

In conclusion, Mr. Johnny N. Adams noted: « I would like to state today that the signing of this Agreement marks the beginning of a new era and will enhance our harmonious partnership with the government of Québec. The challenges contained in this agreement are as immense as the territory of Nunavik ».


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CONTACT:

Hubert Bolduc
Press Officer
Prime Minister's Office
Tel: (418) 643-5321

Lisa Koperqualuk
Information Officer
Tel: (514) 745-8880
Makivik Corporation

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