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Nunavut legislature Day 3: Highlights from the assembly

Former Nunavut cabinet minister Tom Sammurtok has been appointed to three legislative standing committees, even as he faces charges for drunk driving, and other highlights from the legislature on Thursday.

Questions on hunter support program review, bringing home artifacts and waste management

Questions around the Harvesters' Support Program review took up part of question period in the Nunavut legislature on Thursday, May 28. (Shaun Malley/CBC)

Former Nunavut cabinet minister Tom Sammurtok has been appointed to three legislative standing committees by the Assembly.

This after he resigned from cabinet following two impaired driving charges.

The appointments come about a week before Sammurtok's case returns to the Nunavut court.

He's expected to plead guilty.

Support for hunters

Arviat South MLA Joe Savikataaq is losing patience with the government over its review of a program for hunters.

Former wildlife officer Joe Savikataaq pressed for information on the Harvesters' Support Program review. (Courtesy Joe Savikataaq)
He had questions for Environment Minister Johnny Mike on the Nunavut Harvesters' Support program, which helps Nunavummiut buy boats and snowmobiles so they can harvest food.

The program has been suspended since last year while the government reviews it.

Environment minister Johnny Mike says that review is complete, but he wouldn't say when any program changes would be made.

That didn't satisfy Savikataaq.

"I'd like to the minister to confirm when it will be out," he said. "Is it like a month? A year? We wouldn't want it to drag on like the wildlife regulations. We don't have that kind of time."

Mike says the department will share findings from the review of the support program this summer.

Bringing home artifacts

The Nunavut government agreed to spend $500,000 last November to bring home historical artifacts still housed in the N.W.T., but Culture Minister George Kuksuk still can't say when this might happen.

Pressed by Rankin Inlet South MLA Alex  Sammurtok, Kuksuk says one of the problems is lack of space, but Sammurtok says several groups have stepped up to help.

"The department had received submissions to house these artifacts from the Kivalliq Inuit Association, Cape Dorset and Kugluktuk," Sammurtok pointed out, asking whether there had been further submissions.

Alex Sammurtok wants a clear timeline on when the artifacts will be brought home.

Garbage management

Stronger regulations on waste management are needed, says Iqaluit-Niaqunngu MLA Pat Angnakak, and municipalities are rarely punished for improper waste storage.

"Can the minister indicate what specific actions his department has taken to ensure all communities are taking all possible measures to ensure their landfill sites are compliant with all regulations?"

Community and Government Services Minister Johnny Mike told the Assembly that new initiatives are in the works.

He says his department is waiting for new funding to put them into action.

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