Quebec cabinet minister eyes Nunavut collaboration on language protection | Spare News
A Quebec cabinet minister is planning to introduce an indigenous language protection bill this year, and he wants Nunavut’s help.
Ian Lafrenière, the minister responsible for relations with First Nations and Inuit, said he will soon begin consultations on the legislation with Indigenous leaders and organizations in Quebec.
But after his first visit to Nunavut this week, which included meeting Premier PJ Akeeagok in Iqaluit, Lafrenière said he was also looking for insights from outside Quebec.
“We agreed to work on this together to see how we can share best practices on what we can do in Quebec,” Lafrenière said in a phone interview with Nunatsiaq News.
“I think that’s the start of a really good partnership.”
The Avenir coalition government member said his draft law has not yet started drafting, but he hopes it will be presented by the autumn.
In the past week, Lafrenière made two trips north.
The first was in Nunavik, where he spent January 19 touring community organizations in Kangiqsualujjuaq with Mayor McCombie Annanack.
“I always ask people to decide what they want to show me, so it was his decision,” Lafrenière said.
The next day, Lafrenière was in Kuujjuaq for the First People’s Medals ceremony with Quebec Lt.-Gov. J Michel Doyon.
While there, Lafrenière visited the new Isuarsivik Regional Recovery Center and other sites where recent construction work was taking place.
After a brief return to Montreal, he rode with representatives of Makivik Corp. to Iqaluit. That brief trip was delayed and cut short after the plane’s windshield cracked, forcing them to land in Ottawa and catch another flight.
“PJ was such a nice guy,” Lafrenière said of Tuesday’s meeting with the Prime Minister of Nunavut.
“I can see that we have so much in common in terms of language protection, culture protection, building issues, building issues; I see that as promising for a partnership.”
Lafrenière said he’s interested in finding ways to improve Nunavik’s housing crisis, similar to how Nunavut hopes to build 3,000 homes by 2030.
Akeeagok welcomed Lafrenière’s visit and said he wanted to do as much help as possible to improve living and working conditions in Nunavik.
In an email from Press Secretary Beth Brown, the Prime Minister acknowledged not only the geographic proximity and cultural similarity of Nunavik and Nunavut, but also the family ties that exist between the people of the two regions.
“I appreciate Minister Lafrenière’s efforts to visit Nunavut and speak with officials about best practices in support of our Inuit communities,” Akeeagok said in a statement.
“My door is always open to politicians who value partnerships that improve the North.”
The Canadian Press. All rights reserved.