North

Nunavut Tunngavik pushes for a 'no' vote on land referendum

Nunavut Tunngavik Inc. (NTI), the organization that represents Nunavut Inuit under for the land claims agreement, is pushing for a ‘no’ vote on the May 9 territorial land referendum.

Organization not convinced a majority of Inuit would benefit from the sale of municipal lands

“The Government of Nunavut has not provided sufficient information and analysis to convince NTI that a majority of Inuit would benefit from the sale of municipal lands,' says Cathy Towtongie, the president of Nunavut Tunngavik. (Sima Sahar Zerehi/CBC)

Nunavut Tunngavik Inc. (NTI), the organization that represents Inuit under the land claims agreement, is pushing for a 'no' vote on the May 9 territorial land referendum.

A 'yes' vote means hamlet and city councils will be able to sell municipal lots to individuals or companies, while a 'no' means continuing to lease them for a fee. Each hamlet will decide for their own community.

NTI wants the Government of Nunavut to update information on their website, poster and a brochure about the land referendum. (Government of Nunavut)
"After careful consideration, the NTI executive decided not to support the sale of municipal lands at this time," said NTI president Cathy Towtongie.

Towtongie said Nunavut communities have experienced different opportunities and challenges since 1999, when the Nunavut Act was signed and Nunavut was created as an independent territory.

"There are varying degrees of economic development and prosperity in communities amongst Inuit," said Towtongie.

"The Government of Nunavut has not provided sufficient information and analysis to convince NTI that a majority of Inuit would benefit from the sale of municipal lands in each community."

NTI officials met with minister Joe Savikataaq to request that the referendum brochures be updated with new information and that the referendum be delayed until that information is made available, said Towtongie, "but the GN wanted a vote prior to the MLAs' election."

This is the second referendum on the sale of municipal lands in Nunavut. NTI also opposed the sale of municipal lands in 1995.

About the Author

Sima Sahar Zerehi is a reporter with CBC North. She started her career in journalism with the ethnic press working for a Canadian-based Farsi language newspaper. Her CBC journey began as a regular commentator with CBC radio's Metro Morning. Since then she's worked with CBC in Montreal, Toronto and now Iqaluit.