The Conservative Party of Canada is pledging to offer Canada’s three Northern territories 100 per cent of resource royalties if the Conservatives form the next government in the 2019 federal election.

Leona Aglukkaq, Conservative national councillor for Nunavut, says full resource royalties to Nunavut would put an end to ‘begging’ Ottawa for money to fund major projects.  NNSL file photo

The policy was endorsed at the Conservatives’ national convention in Halifax this past weekend.

“It would be a game changer for the North, period,” said Leona Aglukkaq, the Conservative national councillor for Nunavut and former Environment and Health minister in the Stephen Harper government.

“We have a system right now, particularly for Nunavut because Nunavut does not have a devolution agreement, so 100 per cent of the royalties from the five potential mines and three operating mines in Nunavut goes to the federal government, and that’s in the millions, probably close to the billions (of dollars) now. When it comes to requesting assistance for investments in major infrastructure, it means you’re going down (to Ottawa) begging… it’s just unacceptable.”

Providing 100 per cent of resource royalties to Nunavut would mean the territorial financing formula – which provides close to 80 per cent of Nunavut’s existing budget, or about $1.7 billion in transfers from Ottawa – “would be discussed going forward” through a comprehensive resource revenue sharing agreement, according to Aglukkaq. Asked whether the transfer payments from Ottawa would be clawed back, Aglukkaq replied, “I didn’t say that.”

Currently, the Government of Nunavut is not entitled to resource royalties. However, land claims organization Nunavut Tunngavik Incorporated (NTI) claims 100 per cent of royalties from development, namely mining, on Inuit-owned lands. In 2011, NTI passed a policy for a minimum 12 per cent net profit royalty on Inuit-owned lands. On Crown land, NTI collects 50 per cent of the first $2 million in yearly resource royalties and gets five per cent of royalties thereafter.

The GN has pursued a devolution agreement with the federal government over the past decade. The Conservative policy would put the federal share of resource royalties in the hands of the GN because the Nunavut Land Claims Agreement is “constitutionally entrenched” and not subject to change, Aglukkaq said.

During the GN leadership forum last November, Aivilik MLA Patterk Netser, who was vying to become premier, made a statement in regards to the lack of royalties for the GN.

“Inuit organizations are now receiving huge royalties from the mining industry,” Netser stated. “We need their support because we can’t do it on our own as a government. We have a huge issue to deal with and it’s going to cost a lot of money. I know that the (regional Inuit associations) have been given lots of money, so I would work passionately to make sure that they provide support to us.”

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