Countdown to Nunavut
Flag and coat of arms to be unveiled

Northern News Services

NNSL (Jul 13/98) - Royal Assent has been given to the Nunavut Act amendments and Canada's newest territory-in-waiting is well on its way to an election.

Officials say that as soon as the federal cabinet issues an order of governor-in-council, the 19 electoral boundaries in Nunavut will be described and approved.

Following that, the rules of Nunavut's first election will be approved and a date will officially be set for the Nunavut election and the electoral officers will be appointed.

Flag and coat of arms to be unveiled

The emerging Nunavut government has designs for its flag and coat of arms that are expected to be released to the public this fall.

Meeka Kilabuk, chair of Nunavut's symbol's selection committee, said that the designs are now in the hands of Queen Elizabeth II, who will give the final approval for Nunavut's international symbols.

"We're hoping sometime in the fall we can share the design," she said. "They're very appealing and very represent Nunavut."

While Kilabuk wouldn't comment on the design, she did say that they toned-down the colors of the original design. The committee reviewed more than 800 submitted drawings with the help of the Chief Herald of Canada.

Regional offices to open

Nunavut's interim commissioner will be opening three regional offices in the coming weeks.

Jack Anawak announced the opening of the regional offices, to be located in Cambridge Bay, Rankin Inlet, and Igloolik, at the Leaders' Summit in Rankin Inlet last week.

Each office will be staffed by one person who will be responsible to provide information to the public as the new government is put in place. Sandy Kusugak of Rankin Inlet will be operating the Keewatin office.

"(The hope is) to better-inform the people of Nunavut," said Anawak. Information about the office of the interim commissioner and the emerging Nunavut government is also available on the Internet at

Anawak's spending power under review

The department of Indian and Northern Affairs is reviewing the signing authority of the interim commissioner.

Interim commissioner Jack Anawak has asked the Government of Canada to increase the amount of money he can spend, without federal cabinet approval, to allow him to speed up the groundwork that has to be done for Nunavut.

At present, he can spend up to $400,000 without additional approval, the amount any federal deputy minister has authority to spend.

DIAND minister Jane Stewart agreed that more signing authority may be necessary to get on with the business of setting up the new government, particularly as lease contracts are signed in the coming months.

"It's not going to be a blanket increase, but I recognize that there has to be broader flexibility," she said.