This paper will examine the role and effectiveness of the Nunatsiavut Assembly in realizing the goals in the Labrador Inuit Land Claims Agreement and the Labrador Inuit Constitution. As the primary decision-making body in the only Inuit self-government in Canada, the Nunatsiavut Assembly is a hybrid institution. Its fundamental organization and procedures are rooted in the ‘Westminster’ model of government found throughout Canada. However, many of its structures, such as the inclusion of local AngajukKât (mayors) as Assembly members and its operating procedures, such as explicit requirements enhancing women’s participation, are distinctive, if not unique and reflect Inuit governance principles. The principal matters the paper will examine include: - how the Assembly collectively and its members individually communicate with and respond to the needs and wishes of Nunatsiavut beneficiaries;
- how the structure of the Assembly and its procedures enhance or impede realization of the goals of the claim and the constitution;
- the ideal and the reality of “consensus government” in the Assembly;
- the effectiveness of the Assembly in protecting and enhancing Labrador Inuit culture.
The paper will draw on observation of the Assembly, interviews with current and former members of the Assembly and government documents, such as Assembly Hansard.