Mahsi, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, I would like to take this opportunity to advise the Assembly of the activities of the western Members of the Assembly who have revitalized the western caucus. I have been selected to be chairman of the western caucus and I appreciate the confidence my colleagues from the west have placed in me. I would also like to take this opportunity, Mr. Speaker, on behalf of the western caucus to add our congratulations to the people of Nunavut for the successful ratification of their comprehensive land claim agreement. Also of equal importance, the signing of the Nunavut Political Accord.
The claim paves the way for the establishment of a Nunavut territory. The Nunavut Political Accord establishes a mechanism and process for the implementation for a Nunavut government by 1999. I can assure our Nunavut colleagues that we are here to work together to achieve constitutional harmony for both the east and the west.
Mr. Speaker, we, the Members of the western caucus, realize that we have a lot of work ahead of us to develop a constitution for a western territory. There are a lot of other issues which affect our ability to develop some concise plans. These are in no particular order:
- the establishment of a Constitution for Nunavut and a new western territory;
- land claims;
- community transfer initiatives;
- division and the cost of division;
- devolution; and
- the report and title "Working Towards A Common Future" prepared by Jim Bourque and his commission.
Mr. Speaker, it is important that the excellent work that has been done by the many other groups and commissions on constitutional development for the west be taken into consideration as we struggle with the many elements that will exist in a new western territory.
The western caucus looks forward to working with all leaders and people of the west. As a matter of fact, Mr. Speaker, the western caucus plans to meet tomorrow night with the members of the Committee of Political Leaders to discuss the challenges ahead. Mr. Speaker, I seek unanimous consent to proceed with my statement.