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Business policy squabble settled

Government and NTI settle

Jennifer McPhee
Northern News Services

Iqaluit (Aug 05/02) - The fight between Nunavut's government and land claim organization over a business policy extension is over.

Nunavut Tunngavik Incorporated (NTI)launched a legal suit against the government after it gave businesses another year to get in line with business ownership policy.

Nunavummi Nangminiqaqtunik Ikajuuti is a government policy for awarding contracts that gives an advantage, through bid adjustments, to Inuit-owned and Nunavut-owned business.

NTI accused the government of violating the land claim agreement and failing to consult with NTI before granting the extension.

As a result of the settlement, the GN promised it won't further extend the deadline.

"It will not go beyond March 31, 2002," said NTI's acting president, James Eetoolook.

The settlement also outlines a consultation process. The GN must consult with NTI on any changes or additions.

The two parties will also work together with a neutral third party to develop an appeal process for businesses denied Inuit or Nunavut-owned status.

"Right now, there is none," said Eetoolook .

Premier Paul Okalik called the dispute "a minor issue" that was "blown out of proportion."

He said the extension is fair and the settlement is another example of the GN and NTI working together.

"We've had past differences and we've always been able to work things out," he said.