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8 bills receive approval after the legislature ended its sessions early

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A change to Iqaluit's electoral district, giving council the power to appoint new members and some additional spending measures were signed Friday as Nunavut's Legislative Assembly ended its spring session.

Nunavut Commissioner Eva Aariak presided over the assent ceremony and signed eight new bills, including one that implements some of the recommendations from the Nunavut Electoral Boundaries Commission's 2023 report.

The Legislative Assembly of Nunavut has approved this new electoral map that changes the boundaries in Iqaluit. (Screenshot/Legislative Assembly of Nunavut)

This new law will change the electoral districts of some Iqaluit constituencies. There will be some geographic shift in the Iqaluit-Tasiluk constituency, currently represented by MP George Hickes.

Specifically, portions of the Lake Subdivision and Tundra Ridge will be moved out of Iqaluit–Tasiluk and become part of Iqaluit–Niaqunnguu, the electoral district currently held by Prime Minister PJ Akeeagok.

However, Iqaluit–Tasiluk will receive some new neighbourhoods, including parts of the Plateau areas that were in Iqaluit–Manirajak, the constituency of MP Adam Arreak Lightstone.

“There are voters I have represented for over ten years who are now disappearing from my map,” Hickes said after the hearing.

“It changes the dynamic a little bit, but I think it was very important to make sure that voter fairness was recognized.”

The Towns, Municipalities and Villages Act has been amended to allow local councils to appoint new council members even if their membership falls below the quorum.

Changes to the Coroners Act allow a coroner to conduct a death inquest without having access to the body. Such circumstances include situations where a body cannot be recovered or the body has been destroyed or removed from the area.

The Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act was amended to provide for how the Information and Privacy Commissioner can be removed from office or suspended.

A change in the law also describes the appointment procedure for a “special” information and data protection officer in the event of a conflict of interest in a case.

Two bills to amend government spending were also passed on Friday.

One of these bills was for additional operating spending of $100.8 million, and the other was for investments in education of $3.6 million.

Deputies appeared to be in a cheerful mood on Friday as the end of the spring session came a few days earlier than planned. According to the assembly calendar, the session was supposed to last until June 6.

On the final day, several members celebrated their congregations’ high school graduates as they approach the end of the school year.

Hickes paid a rare tribute to a member of the media, paying tribute to CBC Nunavut reporter Nick Murray, who will soon be leaving Iqaluit after a decade of reporting in the territory.

During question time, MP Craig Simailak of Baker Lake and Human Resources Minister David Akeeagok of Grise Fiord jokingly argued about whose community was the most beautiful in Nunavut.

Speaker Tony Akoak took the time to recognize the staff of the Legislative Assembly, particularly the young pages who assist MPs during proceedings, the translators whose interpretations can be heard throughout the territory during broadcasts of the Assembly, and Lew Phillip, an elder from Iqaluit who recently joined members as an elder adviser.

“Thank you all for this session,” Akoak said. “Take care of yourself and your family.”

The fall session of the Legislative Assembly begins on October 4.