Media Centre

NTI Congratulates Government of Nunavut on Budget

NR 05-09 GNB ENG GN Budget.doc

(February 28, 2005 — Iqaluit, Nunavut) Nunavut Tunngavik President Paul Kaludjak welcomed many of the initiatives included in the Government of Nunavut’s 2005-2006 Budget, tabled Friday by Finance Minister Leona Aglukkaq in the Nunavut Legislative Assembly. Increased transfer payments from the federal government will permit an increase in spending on the needs of Nunavummiut by the territorial government over the coming year.

I was pleased to see increases to the budgets of the Departments of Health and Education, the Nunavut Housing Corporation, and with the GN’s Inuit Employment Plan. By allocating additional resources in these key areas, the government is investing in ways that will improve the lives of Inuit, said Kaludjak.

Increased health funding in areas like the regional health centres, telehealth services, training of medical staff and nursing scholarships clearly shows that the Government of Nunavut is dedicated to putting into action its Closer to Home vision. In the near future, Inuit will have access to improved health care closer to our home communities. This is critical given the vast distances we often have to travel to access medical services, said Kaludjak.

The 10.5 per cent increase in Education, including heightened spending on income support, homelessness, adult learning and early childhood services, is of great benefit to Inuit. Kaludjak was also pleased with the GN’s commitment to implementing the Bilingual Education Strategy.

By increasing its spending on K-12 Schools, the government is closer to meeting the goals set out in the Bilingual Education Strategy. NTI hopes this will result in the hiring of more Inuktitut-speaking teachers, and the development of more appropriate curriculum that responds to the values of Inuit culture, principles and language, said Kaludjak.

A $10 million increase in the Nunavut Housing Corporation’s budget was also welcomed, although Kaludjak cautioned that much of the increase was for the cost of utilities, rather than the creation of new homes.

NTI would like to have heard the government announce they were building new units or launching new programs, but considering that the federal government seems not to have allocated money to Inuit for housing in last week’s federal budget, we understand it is extremely difficult for the GN to build new houses. We will continue to work with the Nunavut Housing Corporation to lobby the federal government on implementing the Nunavut Ten-Year Inuit Housing Plan, he said.