Nunavut Final Agreement

  • April 11, 2021

We also suggest that Canadian government negotiators have approached their task with professionalism, diligence and creativity. While the Ministers of Indian Affairs and Northern Development came and went in the 1980s, the Chief Negotiator of the Confederation, Tom Molloy, a Saskatoon-based lawyer, and lead negotiator Barry Dewar, a career agent, stayed in the process for years and ensured the continuity and memory of businesses, encompassing governments of different political convictions. When the Nunavut agreement was ratified, Mr. Molloy rightly called the agreement a “common achievement.” The terms of the final agreement provide for a Nunavut implementation body made up of representatives of the federal, territorial and Inuit government, which “supervises and anticipates the implementation of the agreement.” Unfortunately, this body proved largely ineffective, partly because the parties disagreed on the nature of key obligations and because federal officials were unable to make decisions or even adhere to them. Equally important, the overall 1986 recovery policy resulted in substantial structural changes in in-depth claims negotiations through a new federal mandate procedure. Section 35 of the Constitution Act, 1982 and an amendment in 1983 acquired the status of constitutionally protected treaties. The constitutional status of the agreements required greater political control and control over negotiations. The 1986 policy stipulated that all negotiations should have a cabinet-approved mandate for all elements of a possible settlement package. The policy also called for the establishment of a federal executive committee of deputy ministers, empowered to give more precise direction to negotiations within the broad mandates approved by the cabinet. It was a forum to resolve previously unresolved disputes between DIAND and other departments. In December 1991, the final land claim agreement was finalized until another decisive meeting was held between India`s Minister of Northern Affairs and Development, Inuit leaders and GNWT for a final meeting. Again, the central theme of the meeting was Nunavut.

At a night meeting on Parliament Hill in mid-December, negotiations on outstanding issues related to Nunavut`s land application were concluded, including agreement on a new Article 4 on political development.