Thank you, Mr. Speaker. It is with great pleasure that I rise today to speak about the establishment of Nunavut, a dream that we in the Eastern Arctic, can finally see on the horizon. Just six short weeks after the plebiscite, the date when Nunavut will finally be established, once such a faraway dream, now seems so close to fruition. It is for that reason I believe it is incumbent upon us to begin planning now for that day. Virtually every decision we make in this Legislature will have some impact on the future of the eastern territory.
On Wednesday, Mr. Speaker, the honourable Member for Baffin Central spoke quite eloquently about the need for the government to rethink the way its departments, boards and agencies deliver programs in planning for the creation of Nunavut. In that vein, I believe it is also time to promote the evolution of non-government organizations that will play a large and vital role in the development of Nunavut.
At present, umbrella organizations such as the NWT Chamber of Commerce, the NWT Construction Association and the NWT Association of Municipalities represent some of the people of the Northwest Territories. Since Nunavut will be establish far more quickly than any of us can imagine, I believe it is time to establish and, more importantly, fund parallel organizations for the Eastern Arctic to ensure an orderly transition once division occurs.
Similarly, special conferences or events such as the recent Prospects North conference that received grants from this government can only be funded in a similar manner, Once
these new organizations are established, it will be necessary to fund similar conferences and trade shows in the Nunavut area.
Mr. Speaker, people in Nunavut are excited by the challenge of creating a new territory. We are ready for that challenge. It is now time for this government to recognize that Nunavut will soon be a reality and recognize its role in providing support for that eventuality.