The Government of Nunavut (GN) has signed a non-disclosure agreement with Calm Air and Canadian North airlines.

“So, there won’t be any divulging of any of the financial information,” said Finance Minister George Hickes, during the June 18 press conference.

Earlier this year, Nunavut’s government spent roughly $24 million in financial aid for the airlines due to the fallout of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Whether Nunavut’s legislative assembly members will be privy to information discussed between the GN and airlines, and how the government’s aid will be spent, remains unknown.

“These are unprecedented times. We’ve had to take unprecedented steps,” says Finance Minister George Hickes, during the June 18 press conference. Rajnesh Sharma/NNSL photo

“I will confirm with my legal team, but I doubt very much that I would be able to speak to the details on the financials of a private enterprise,” said Hickes.

He described this situation as “a very unique scenario,” which is complicated because the airlines are private enterprises.

Hickes explained there was oversight during the discussions and “a lot of comfort with information from both sides.”

“There was a lot of back and forth,” he emphasized. “So at the end of the day, I don’t see a value of politicians getting involved in that side of things.”

“I know it’s putting a big leap of faith in me and in our government that we have put our due diligence into the review of the financials of the airlines,” said Hickes.

CERB Concerns

During the same press conference, Premier Joe Savikataaq reiterated only eligible individuals should apply for the Canadian Emergency Response Benefit (CERB).

“I hate to sound like a broken record,” he said.

“But if your regular employment or your income has not been impacted by the pandemic, you are likely not eligible for CERB and the federal government may need you to pay it back later.”

When asked whether the GN has any hard proof or numbers that Nunavummiut are misusing this federal benefit, the premier replied, “We don’t have any hard proof that it’s being abused.”

“I just want to make sure all Nunavummiut know all the facts,” said Savikataaq, adding he does not want people to “get a big bad surprise” when they do their taxes.

There are still no confirmed or probable cases of Covid-19 in Nunavut. 137 people are currently under investigation for Covid-19.

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Rajnesh Sharma

Rajnesh Sharma is a Canadian journalist, who has extensively travelled the world to experience various cultures. She has lived and worked internationally over the past decade, meeting and interviewing...