Nunavut MLAs meet for last time before election
Language, education, other bills to be debated before session ends
Nunavut's lawmakers returned to the legislature in Iqaluit Tuesday, hoping to wrap up some unfinished business before entering election mode later this month.
MLAs in the territory's second legislative assembly are expected to be busy over the next two weeks, passing any bills still on the table before the assembly dissolves and the writ is dropped Sept. 22 for the territorial election, scheduled for Oct. 27.
The bills outstanding include the proposed Inuit language protection act, a new education act, a proposed energy efficiency act, and legislation to regulate midwives.
"We hope to be in a position to have all those bills, you know, complete debate in the house and receive third reading for final passage," house leader Ed Picco told CBC News on Monday.
"So the house is scheduled to sit from Sept. 9 right up until [and] including the 18th of September. We can tack on an extra day, Sept. 19, if needed."
Picco said they will also introduce new bills for capital, operations and management, and approve expenses that were not previously budgeted for before, such as spending to deal with floods in Pangnirtung that led to a state of emergency in June.
At least one chair is empty in the assembly chamber Tuesday — Joe Allen Evyagotailak resigned as MLA for Kugluktuk in August, so he could run for president of the Kitikmeot Inuit Association.
Meanwhile, speculation continues to linger over the political future of Health Minister Leona Aglukkaq, who is rumoured to have been tapped as the Conservatives' candidate in the federal election currently underway.
The Conservatives have not officially announced their candidate in Nunavut, and neither the party nor Aglukkaq have returned calls on the matter. But officials confirmed that her name appeared briefly on the party's website Monday, before it was taken down.
And with a territorial election campaign looming at the same time, MLAs have started talking about whether they'll seek another term in office.
"In my riding, so in Repulse Bay and Kugaaruk, I've told already them that I'll be running again," said Akulliq MLA Steve Mapsalak, who sits on the legislative committee overseeing the proposed Inuit language protection act.